It's been a few years since Ziva David left NCIS to avenge his father, only to be presumed dead a year later. Years on the run/undercover can change a person, so it was not a complete surprise when Cote de Pablo and series star Mark Harmon teased the dynamic between the two former colleagues and close friends will be different after Ziva's shocking return in the Season 16 finale.
After the former agent appeared in Gibbs' basement and warned him of "danger" coming his way, the show left fans with many questions and feelings that will be explored in the Season 17 premiere — along with three other episodes de Pablo is signed to recur during this season of the CBS crime procedural.
In a new interview with TVInsider, Harmon and de Pablo spoke about the upcoming action-packed premiere and how it felt to work together again after so many years.
"We and other cast members are in scuffles. It's very active," Harmon told the outlet of the season opener. "Ziva and Gibbs have different ideas for how to go from point A to point B. The driving is contested."
"Gibbs takes the keys," de Pablo joked, adding how she got back in the groove of the show's fight sequences. "In the fight sequences, I was a little rusty, but you start working on something and go, "Oh, my God, that's right. I really like this." The choreography comes back into your body incredibly quickly. It's fun!"
The actors also teased fans will remember Gibbs and Ziva's strong bond from earlier in the series, though things have obviously changed in the last few years.
"It's not a given that they're going to be exactly who they were," de Pablo told the publication. "We have different ideas pretty much the entire episode. Ziva is used to working by herself, and all of a sudden she's trying to tell Gibbs what to do. They haven't seen each other for a long time and have to find trust again."
Harmon also teased the friends butting heads during the premiere, adding: "Cote in some ways plays a very different character. Ziva is older, more experienced. She's been on her own for a long time. Gibbs is not accustomed to change, and they already threw a lot of change at him last season."
Things have not changed that much for the actors, however, as de Pablo said acting alongside Harmon felt like no time had passed.
"We get right into the groove," she said. "It's very easy to look at Mark and understand emotionally where you're going in a scene. Gibbs and Ziva are on edge and the stakes are very high, so they're in combustible situations. Mark and I play with that: What am I calling you on? How are you going to react to me? Are we going to go head-to-head? Mark always helps me react."
NCIS returns for Season 17 Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
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