Warning! The following contains spoilers for the NCIS episode "The North Pole." Read at your own risk!
NCIS typically goes big with its finales, so it should've been no surprise that the CBS drama had something big planned for its winter finale. Still, many fans couldn't have predicted the shocking connection that "The North Pole" would reveal between Ziva David and a character that has been a frequent presence on the show in Season 17. It turned out that Ziva and Gibbs' neighbor, Sarah, had a past, though Ziva knew her better as Zahar.
Yes, this is the same Zahar that was believed to have been killed earlier in Season 17. As NCIS fans learned in the episode, though, that was not the actual Zahar. A dying man with inside information at the episode's beginning revealed the actual Zahar was "someone you know," which led Ziva and the team on a hunt for someone connected to her. Later in the episode, another suspect revealed the name of the real Zahar's child, and Gibbs realized they'd been barking up the wrong tree when he heard Phineas' name.
The reveal caused a huge conflict for Gibbs, who was now forced to hunt a woman he had gotten close to in recent weeks. Still, Ziva came first, so when it became clear that Sarah was actually Zahar, Gibbs showed no hesitation in sending her a bullet between the eyes when she pointed a gun at Ziva. The scene left no ambiguity; Sarah/Zahar is dead as a door nail and Phineas is motherless.
This sets up quite a return in January, as Jethro Gibbs now needs to explain to his little friend that he's the reason why his mother isn't coming home. One can't imagine that'll sit well with Phineas, who seemed completely oblivious that his mother was anything more than the waitress Gibbs believed her to be over these past few months. What, exactly, does this mean for the duo's future?
No doubt Gibbs wants to help Phineas in any way he can, though one could understand if Phineas doesn't want anything to do with the NCIS head after learning Gibbs killed his mother. Meanwhile, Ziva's arc appeared to get some conclusion, as the woman who forced her into faking her death to begin with was now actually dead for real. She's, presumably, one step closer to living a normal life, and will hopefully get that on-screen reunion with Tony and her daughter we all want to see so desperately.
NCIS returns to CBS with new episodes Tuesday, January 7 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Be sure to stick with CinemaBlend for more details on the series, and for a look at what's happening in television and movies in 2020.