NCIS season 16 episode 13 review: Is Ziva alive? The story of ‘She’

NCISIt has been two weeks since our last new episode of NCIS, but with us now entering February sweeps CBS is bringing us an episode that will certainly get everyone’s attention, because it involves an agent that touched everyone’s lives in a very special way… Ziva David.

With this episode airing for sweeps it’s clear that the show is hoping that by bringing up Ziva it will maybe bring back some of the fans that dropped off when Cote de Pablo left the show, but if CBS has spent any time on social media they would know that bringing up Ziva has to really be worth the payoff.

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In the world of the show she is allegedly dead, but some of the cases she was working on are not and one that was particularly important to her is going to find it’s way onto Bishop’s desk. How did that happen? It started with a young girl named Lily who was found in a storage unit, one who (per DNA testing) was found to be a daughter of another important woman in Morgan Burke. It was a decade ago when Morgan first turned up missing, and for a long time, she was presumed dead.

This is when Bishop made a pretty big discovery — there was someone who secretly worked on Burke’s disappearance for years after the case was handed off and deemed a “suicide”. That person was Ziva David. She had a secret operation that nobody really knew about, one where she was tracking Morgan’s case without anyone knowing. She believed that she was murdered and was very intent as to getting some more answers … or at least that was the story we were told. It seemed as though Morgan could still be alive, but we’ll get back to that in a moment.

Let’s focus for now on the Ziva of it all, as Bishop ended up finding Ziva’s secret office, one where she had a number of notebooks stuffed full of information on what we presume, was more than just one case. Most of these notebooks were a way for her to better express some of her feelings on various cases that became really personal to her despite Gibbs’ rule number 10.

Here’s another surprise: Not only was Ziva keeping all of these records, but apparently Gibbs knew at least a certain amount about what she was doing. He didn’t know about the office, but he realized that she may be doing some investigating under the radar. He also disliked it when anyone got too personally invested in a case, mostly because it apparently brought back echoes of her and the fact that she wasn’t still a part of the team anymore.

When Gibbs determined that Bishop was getting too attached to some of the information that Ziva had on this case, he decided to kick her off. Why? Rule 10 — you can’t be too personally involved in the case. Bishop didn’t end up going home, though; instead, she worked out of Kasie’s office long enough to get some more information. When she did get more information, she decided to go it alone (again) rather than loop in some of the team.

Was this the most heroic episode for Bishop in some time? Sure, but it was also fairly reckless as she was willing to do everything, including risk her life for the sake of getting answers and saving Morgan.

The closing minutes of the episode

In the aftermath of Morgan’s rescue, Gibbs and Bishop actually had a moment where they bonded over Ziva’s journals; Bishop had a chance to fulfill what she set out to do, and we saw Gibbs actually burning a shred of paper with rule #10 written on it.

Right when it seemed like the case was over we then learned that someone had already read the letter that Ziva wrote in her journal years back to the culprit at the heart of the case before Bishop arrived to do it. Meanwhile, there was a note left back for her at Ziva’s secret office telling her to keep her secret for the sake of her family.


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CarterMatt Verdict

Creating an episode that touches on Ziva was a pretty controversial move for NCIS since there are a lot of fans of Cote de Pablo that felt really raw about her departure as well as other fans that have grown to love the newer cast members and everything that they bring to the show. With it being sweeps, every network is trying to bring in high ratings since this is an important week to show that they can bring in viewers. It’s pretty common practice during sweeps for shows to bring out the big guns which is typically something like a character death, huge swing in a story or nostalgia in bringing back/tying in a beloved character to the episode which is what NCIS was trying to do tonight with Ziva’s case, but did it pay off?

As it turns out, yes! Despite us thinking for a good 95% of this episode that we were being set up for this to be a ratings ploy, we then had the big shock in the closing seconds. This twist opens so many doors to so many stories and while we aren’t exactly expecting Ziva, Tony and Tali to come walking through the NCIS doors any time soon, we know that she found a way to ninja herself out of the burning building and that’s a great first step.

What did you think of this week’s episode of NCIS and how are you enjoying the season so far? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think! (Photo: CBS)

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