Much to the pleasant shock of NCIS fans, actress Cote de Pablo made her return to the show for its Season 16 finale. Ziva David is alive and she’s officially back, even if she isn’t slated to be in every single episode of Season 17 — yet.
As previously reported by Heavy, de Pablo was rumored to make a return to the show after a strong hint that Ziva was alive was presented back in February. However, with no further mention of Ziva, fans started to accept that the actress wasn’t going to reprise her role.
All of that changed, however, on Tuesday night’s finale.
Here’s what you need to know:
Showrunners Previously Said That the Ziva Hint Was More Than Just a Tease & de Pablo’s Return Was Kept Under Wraps
Showrunner Steve Binder recently opened up about Ziva and what could happen.
“It’s such a great thread, I’d hate to leave it on the table. But like anything, we don’t just want to tease the tease. If we do pull at it, we’re going to have something interesting behind it, and not just keep doing the same beat over and over again. … I don’t want to say ‘the sky’s the limit,’ but given that she’s been gone for years, there’s a lot that could have happened that could be fodder for us, even if she’s not necessarily present,” he told TV Line last month.
And while that was a pretty big clue, de Pablo’s return was kept secret and no one expected to see Ziva last night. So, how’d they do it? It was a fairly involved process that included a lot of secrecy.
“The finale’s final scene was never included in any script or call sheet; only showrunners Frank Cardea and Steven D. Binder held copies of the scene pages; the scene filmed with a skeleton crew at midnight, after the full crew had been wrapped for over an hour; and de Pablo arrived to the stages via a back gate entrance, to film the scene with series lead Mark Harmon,” TV Line reports.
Ziva Will Be Back, at Least for the Season 17 Premiere in the Fall
Fear not, NCIS fans. You have not seen the last of Cote de Pablo on NCIS. While the actress is not expected to appear in every single episode of Season 17, she will be back in some capacity.
“This surprise moment is just the beginning. We are thrilled to share that Cote de Pablo will guest star in the NCIS Season 17 premiere this fall, as Ziva’s warning to Gibbs unfolds,” Cardea and Binder shared in a statement.
Will de Pablo officially rejoin the cast? That seems unlikely, but fans are simply thrilled that she’s back (and that Ziva isn’t dead). De Pablo’s IMDb page only has her listed for two episodes of NCISin 2019. Of course, that could change. But, for now, fans know what they are getting.
It’s going to be a long few months waiting for the fall premiere!