NCIS solved a new case before going a two-week break that will lead to the return of the beloved Ziva David. The CBS crime procedural will return with a new episode Dec. 17, which was previously reported to include Ziva's (Cote de Pablo) return to continue the mission she started earlier this season. Tuesday night's episode saw the team investigating the death of a petty officer whose murder was live-streamed to his gamer followers.
Spoilers ahead for NCIS Season 17, Episode 9: "IRL"
While the murder took up the team's time, Gibbs (Mark Harmon) found himself distracted after he was asked to babysit his neighbor's kid Phones (Jack Fisher) after his mom went out of town suddenly. The boy opens up to Gibbs and tells him he is scared their parents' custody battle will lead to him moving away.
Phineas becomes in the investigation when Gibbs enlists him to play the game the victim was playing when he was killed to lure a potential suspect out of hiding online. Phineas decides to engage the bully and he quickly challenges him to a Death Match in the game.
Phineas' time at NCIS leads to drama with his mother. She lashes out at him for putting him in danger by having him help with the investigation. She tells him it is best if Phineas doesn't see him anymore. McGee (Sean Murray) finds a new lead on the case, which starts to disappear before their eyes.
The agents track the signal to one of the elderly people in the nursing home. He finally confesses after the team finds the murder weapon at his house.
After solving the case, Phineas' mom comes to Gibbs and apologizes for her rash words. She then reveals that her ex is going to fight the custody ruling, which means she will probably need his help with babysitting in the future. The episode ends with Gibbs and Phineas bonding on an online chat.
Ziva first returned to the drama series in a surprise moment of the Season 16 finale. Her storyline led to an action-packed start to Season 17 as the agent, and Gibbs, were being hunted by one of her biggest enemies.
The mission ended with the dangerous woman killing herself to protect the terrorist organization, and Ziva pledging to eradicate her enemies so she can finally return to her husband Tony (Michael Weatherly) and their daughter Tali.
Details on what will bring Ziva back are being kept under wraps for now. It was revealed she will appear in the winter finale Dec. 17 and then will wrap up her storyline with the winter premiere Jan. 7, 2020.
Ready for more Ziva? NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.