'NCIS': What Might Have Brought Cote de Pablo Back

NCIS left fans with a bombshell season finale cliffhanger, featuring the surprising return of a character they did not believe would ever return to the series.

Tuesday's season finale episode culminated weeks of speculation about the return of Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) after she appeared at the top of the stairs of Gibbs' (Mark Harmon) basement with troubling news.

"Hello Gibbs. No time for pleasantries. You're in danger," Ziva said to a stunned Gibbs.

After they stand quietly staring at each other, Ziva breaks the silence saying: "Well, aren't you going to say something?"

Still shocked by the return of his believed to be dead colleague, Gibbs simply says "Ziva" as the episode reached its shocking end.

While fans were overjoyed by the return of one of the show's most beloved characters — who left the series back in 2013 and was seemingly killed off the series years later to set up Tony DiNozzo's (Michael Weatherly) — the move is a surprising development considering de Pablo's previous statement she had no plans to reprise her role in the future.

When she first exited the show, de Pablo cited personal reasons of her reasons to say goodbye to Ziva and NCIS, Cheat Sheet first reported. She later said in a Q&A that she believed Ziva "was not being treated with the respect that she deserved."

Should the NCIS writers have come up with a compelling reason to finally bring Ziva back into the fold, de Pablo probably has her own reasons to reprise the role so many years later. The actress has not been able to move past the Ziva popularity in other roles she has played since leaving the series.

In 2015, the actress worked in The Dovekeepers and The 33. The former was a miniseries that was not received well by critics, while the other was a movie co-starring Antonio Banderas that failed to create much buzz. The lackluster performance of the projects failed to allow de Pablo to move past her look as Ziva on the CBS drama series.


Along with the last-second arrival scene, NCIS writers revealed the actress will return as a guest star on the show's 17th season premiere to play out the mystery behind her return. It is highly possible de Pablo hopes to use the buzz around her return to break into other film and television roles.

Whatever the reason, it will be nice to see Ziva and Gibbs work together on one more mission. NCIS will return for Season 17 in fall 2019 on CBS.