How Cote De Pablo Was Pitched To Return To NCIS

ziva back on NCIS 2019

A couple of years ago, I would have been shocked to even consider the idea of Cote De Pablo returning to NCIS. However, the series spent a lot of last year teasing a potential Ziva return and it, in fact, has happened on the series. But it may have never come together if it weren’t for some clever crafting and a clandestine pitch.

In fact, despite the actress thinking her tenure was over and done, she was pitched on a return by NCIS executive producers Frank Cardea and Steven Binder, which Cardea says went really well…

She decided to come out and actually meet with us. We had a clandestine meeting with Steve and I and Mark Harmon. It was like she had never left.

By now, the cat’s way out of the bag that Cote De Pablo is back on NCIS, however, that wasn’t true at first. The actress talked about the secretive nature of her return in an the interview with USA Today, noting that she was on set late at night and that many, many people related to the show were kept in the dark about her return. This is true even after the series began teasing a Ziva-related plot last season.

The people who were around during her first day – well, night -- back on set offered her a warm welcome, however, as the actress reported about her return:

They were waiting for me, standing up, and they clapped as I went in. I think I said something along the lines of, 'Woo-hoo, I'm back!' It was great.

Cote De Pablo has previously talked about getting the first script for Ziva’s return and realizing the character had changed from the time she had last played her. At the time, she also noted that “challenging life situations” were the catalyst for the change for Ziva and it sounds like things have been a bit more challenging within the role this time around.

Related: Cote De Pablo Isn’t Ready To Explain Why She Left NCIS

As for Ziva, she’s been a part of the series for a few episodes in 2019, most recently appearing in the October 1 episode “Into the Light.” NCIS is on hiatus this week and there will be a rebroadcasting, but new episodes are expected to air on November 5 and 12.

As for the character, she currently is expected to be in four episodes of the long-airing drama, which means she should have two more appearances to go. Those are expected to air later this fall or early winter and, honestly, I can’t wait to see how those pan out, particularly given where the conversation between Ziva and Gibbs left off in regards to the Tony Dinozzo question.

NCIS airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET, only on CBS. For more premieres, keep tabs on our full schedule.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.