We’re entering the NCIS season 16 finale on CBS tomorrow and obviously, everyone’s radars are on full alert. We’re looking for powerful storytelling, we’re looking for huge cliffhangers, and for many (including us), there’s a search for more Ziva clues since it’s been a minute since we had any. One of the biggest hanging chads in this story right now is the reveal that Cote de Pablo’s character is still alive — Bishop is the only one who knows for certain and she is operating out of Ziva’s secret spy shack still, but we have wondered if there are any other characters that suspect something is up?
This brings us over to none other than Leroy Jethro Gibbs. He is the sort of man to research and examine everything if he has even the smallest hunch, and it is because of this that we like to imagine he at least examined the idea of Ziva being alive a long time ago. Maybe he looked into it, couldn’t find any evidence, and moved on. Yet, we’re sure that he likes to imagine that she’s still out there — she’s a daughter figure to him in a lot of ways and when she “died,” we’re sure it hurt him and he spent a lot of time in that denial phase of the five stages of grief. He may not wear his heart on his sleeve and we may not see if on the show, but we know that the man has a heart and that she meant something.
Did Ziva return to NCIS tonight?
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Fittingly, the title for the upcoming NCIS finale is “Daughters” — though we recognize that the surface-level interpretation of the title is not so much about Ziva. Instead, it’s about Fornell’s daughter Emily, who is hospitalized after an opiate overdose, and what Gibbs is willing to do to bring those responsible to justice. It’s tied in some ways to his own daughter, and what a father would do if someone hurts one of their kids. You can also raise an eyebrow at the idea that Sloane’s daughter could factor in here somewhere, even if she does not appear in the flesh in the story. The same goes for Ziva — she may be a metaphorical daughter, but her value to the team and to Gibbs cannot be understated.
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So how could a Ziva reveal even come up in this episode? We don’t think that it’s too hard to figure out. Bishop on some level is struggling with this, and we know from earlier this season that she really wants to say something to Gibbs — she basically led him into saying if he knows something fess up! Unfortunately, he didn’t take the bait. If the name “Ziva,” or even the events of “She,” come up during what could be an emotional tailspin for Gibbs, we could see Bishop going ahead and telling her boss the truth – maybe. Bishop wants to keep the secret and knows that the stakes behind keeping that secret are extremely high, but the weight of keeping a secret like this can break even the strongest of people and she may need Gibbs to lean on. What happens from there could either be a ray of hope or the straw that broke the camel’s back for Gibbs. We know how strong of a man he is, but we have also seen layer upon layer of emotional situations coming up this season that are testing him and changing who he is.
At the moment, Gibbs is a man drowning in an emotional sea. How would he feel knowing that someone he cared about, and someone who he considered a part of the family alongside his other team members, is still alive out there? He could be thrilled, but it could also lead to more grief — grief that he didn’t look hard enough for her or that something is keeping her from showing herself or going back to Tony and their daughter if they aren’t already together and in hiding with her. Ultimately, Gibbs learning the truth about Ziva would be a perfect emotional cliffhanger at the end of this season — it doesn’t have to be a huge moment, and it could blend into everything else going on. With the case of Emily Fornell, the return of Diane Sterling (likely in ghost form), and the talk of vigilante justice, we’re not sure that there is room for anything more – Gibbs is drained.
Be sure to come back to CarterMatt tomorrow night — the moment the finale wraps, we’ll be coming your way with a review, preview into what could be coming up next season as well as some new video discussion.
For more discussion of “Daughters,” including the episode’s promo…
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How do you think Ziva being alive would emotionally impact Gibbs? Be sure to share right now in the attached comments! (Photo: CBS.)