NCIS season 17: If Cote de Pablo returns, how can the show use Ziva?

ZivaWe’re nearing the end of NCIS season 16, and while it remains unclear if there’s another big reveal coming in the Ziva storyline or not, we think we’ve made it very clear at this point that we want one. We’re hoping for something, even if it’s a small tease, that gets us from where we are in the closing minutes to something more in season 17. We understand everyone’s rising anticipation to have her back and have her back quickly, but for us we love a slow burn – it makes it so much more rewarding when it all finally happens (if it happens at all).

The larger question we’re left to wonder here is simply this: What will a Ziva return look like? How could the writers use Cote de Pablo next season if the story originated in “She” becomes so much more? The best thing about where the showrunners are right now is that they haven’t limited themselves in terms of options. We’ve got four possibilities for them below, but rest assured that there are so many more beyond that! (There are no spoilers ahead, so read with confidence!)

NCIS finale and Ziva discussion video: We highly suggest viewing our NCIS season 16 finale preview video below — we discuss some Ziva theories in it, plus a whole lot more! We even heard from NCIS co-show runner Steven Binder on Twitter and in response to something we said in the video (check out the video to see what he’s talking about) he told us “I promise we won’t Morgan Fornell. At least I think I promise. I may have review that season of The Walking Dead… :)”

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Keep the character off-screen – We don’t think that anyone wants that, we know that we really don’t want that after all this build up — a return for Cote is far more preferable than any other alternative, and this is almost a failsafe, red-emergency-button choice in the event that the team isn’t able to get her back. Try to find a creative way for her to have resolution off-screen — the primary question we’re wondering is precisely why she is back in America in the first place… Really what we’ve wanted all this time is to know that she’s alive and the show has delivered on that.

Keep her for a short arc – This may be one of the easiest ways to tie together the plot — have the events of “She” and the secret spy shack lead to maybe a tease at the end of the finale, and then a two or three-episode arc at the start of season 17. That will offer a better sense of closure on this character and then, on the other side of that, she can head overseas to be with Tony and her family. It’s a sensible way to give proper closure, while also keeping much of the core of NCIS what it currently is.

Have her in a recurring capacity – If we had to put a stamp on an option reading as “this is the perfect option,” this would be it. Think of a role for Ziva similar in some ways to when Duane Henry was on as Clayton Reeves — maybe she wouldn’t be in as many episodes a season, but she could function almost as the cavalry, the person you need for super special cases when the going gets tough and there are few other people who can help. Her skill set makes her unique, stealthy, and powerful and that would be useful to any team. If you see her a handful of times throughout the season, that would also mean that she could feasibly still spend time with Tony overseas, as well. Probably the coolest idea about this is it creates flexibility — it gives them a chance to showcase the character more, depending on whatever cool ideas come up that would need someone as specialized as Ziva!

Have her full-time – As exciting as this sounds in theory, it also feels reasonably unlikely. It doesn’t seem like NCIS is losing any cast members this season, and we’re not sure that they’re willing to add another full-fledged regular to the show for season 17. Beyond that, it may be hard to write in why Ziva would be sticking around in America full-time when she’s got Tony and her daughter in another part of the world. How do you have that story twist make sense? That would be a hard sell.

Related News It looks as though NCIS season 16 filming is wrapping up!

Now, we turn this over to you…

What do you want to see from Ziva, potentially, in an NCIS season 17? Be sure to share right now in the comments! (Photo: CBS.)

This article was written by Jessica Carter and you can follow her on Twitter here.

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