NCIS fans dying to know exactly when Ziva David will return to the series officially have an answer, after it was previously teased that she would be back "later in the season." TVLine reports that Cote de Pablo's next appearances will air Dec. 17, 2019 — which is the final episode of 2019 — and Jan. 7, 2020 — the first episode of the new year.
Co-showrunner Frank Cardea previously told Parade in August that Ziva would be in "four episodes in this season, two early on and two fall/winter."
The longrunning CBS procedural stunned fans when Ziva popped up in the final moments of the Season 16 finale, with the former agent arriving at Gibbs' basement to warn of looming danger. After appearing in the first two episodes of Season 17, fans have been itching to see Ziva again following her decision to continue her mission to track down the terrorist organization set on killing her at the end of Episode 2.
After playing double agent and almost being accused of betraying NCIS, Ziva revealed her helping Sahar retrieve information from the organization's headquarters was all a trick to get her associates outside of the U.S. arrested. Once she discovered her plans had been ruined, Sahar told her henchmen to enact "Plan C" and they proceeded to shoot her dead, leaving Ziva and the NCIS team with many questions.
At the episode's conclusion, Ziva prepared to head out to continue her mission, and during her heart-to-heart with Gibbs (Mark Harmon), he apologized for not trying to look for her despite her leaving clues that she was not actually dead.
Ziva seemed to forgive her old friend and promised to finish her mission so she could finally return to Tony (Michael Weatherly) and their daughter Tali. She also promised to be the one to tell Tony that she's still alive, which is what viewers are waiting with bated breath to see.
Co-showrunner Steven Binder previously told Entertainment Tonight that Ziva's return storyline will mark a full-circle ending for the beloved character.
"There will be a very large full circle when all is said and done. It will be emotionally obvious," he said. "It will be for a lot of characters, not just Ziva. There's a big bookend here. When you see the B-side, you will know instantly what the A-side was."
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.