At this point, it’s pretty clear that NCIS season 16 doesn’t want you to forget about the Ziva storyline — though it’s also equally clear that they are really slow-playing this like nobody’s business.
Just think about where things are at the moment when it comes to this storyline, which originated back in the episode “She.” Ever since that episode aired, it’s felt as though the producers have referenced it one way or another. Last night, for example, we got a mention about Bishop’s recent brushes with death (which include the end of “She”) and also Gibbs ditching one of his famous rules, which was a discussion originally brought about in that episode. While neither of these are seismic shifts in the narrative, this is NCIS’ way of reaching out to you and saying “don’t forget about this. It’s still going to be important.”
Based on early details released about episodes 21 and 22 of the season (read more about those over here), it doesn’t seem as though the writers are going to be moving towards giving you any firm answers in either of those. There could be some more subtle movements in the story, but there’s no mention of the storyline in the synopsis and we’ve yet to see a full, verified list of guest stars from CBS. What we know instead is that these episodes are going to reference the secret government bank account and potentially the work of one Wynn Crawford — this has been the other big storyline of this season. If it’s resolved in episode 22 or even episode 23, that could leave the finale open for something else … something possibly Ziva-related.
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We’ve been saying this for a while and we hold to it — it would make zero sense for NCIS to revisit this character now unless there was a clear plan from the start. There’s no other reason to bring her back up — the series was already getting renewed for another season and they didn’t need the ratings bump (though it never hurts), and many of the characters who knew Ziva (including Tony) are now gone. Sure, you’ve still got Gibbs, Palmer, McGee, and Ducky, but until “She” Ziva had no relationship with Bishop. She still doesn’t have one with Torres or Kasie.
So how could the writers address this storyline in the final episode or two of the season? Here are a few different possibilities…
1. Cote de Pablo returns outright – Obviously, this is what everyone prefers, and it’s the thing that would make us the most excited. We don’t foresee her coming back full-time, but seeing her maybe in the finale alongside a few appearances in season 17 would be better than nothing. There’s just been very little evidence of it happening, and judging from how Cote turned down a chance to appear in Michael Weatherly’s final episodes, it would have to be a meaty, powerful story to convince her to come on board. Still, it’s worth considering since the writers are clearly setting up something here.
2. A mention that we could be seeing Ziva – We could see the finale ending with a note to Bishop that the two need to meet somewhere, and this could lead to something more happening at the start of season 17. Still, this would require getting some commitment from Cote to pay the story off.
3. Bishop and the team help Ziva from afar – If NCIS is not able to get back Cote, we wouldn’t be shocked if the finale involves the team working together in order to do something on her behalf, and allow her to get a little bit of closure on whatever it is that she is doing. She’s hiding out for a reason and we don’t know what. This would also allow Gibbs and the rest of the team to grapple with the news that she is alive … provided that Gibbs hasn’t already figured it out.
The worst-case scenario here is obviously that this entire Ziva storyline has been a ruse and someone out there is pretending to be her … but the writers gotta know that this would send the entire internet into a tailspin. We doubt that this is happening. We see this story in general as the creative team trying to right a wrong, with said wrong being killing off Ziva in the first place. Even if she’s not a part of the show anymore, we think viewers would much rather prefer to envision her alive.
How do you think the end of NCIS season 16 could bring the Ziva storyline back out of the woodwork? Be sure to share now in the comments! (Photo: CBS.)