NCIS season 17: Will Tony return alongside Cote de Pablo’s Ziva?

ZivaWe know that the excitement level is through the roof right now for a lot of NCIS fans over the return of Cote de Pablo as Ziva. At the same time though, her return also prompts another important question: What’s coming up in terms of Tony and reuniting with Tali?

It’s understandable why the inquiries would be out there — we haven’t seen Tony and Ziva in a scene together since her departure early on in season 11, as Cote opted to not return for Michael Weatherly’s farewell episode “Family First.” Given that the two characters love each other, and have a daughter together, it makes sense that the demand would be there for a relationship that was very rarely expressed in a public way. Tiva, in its heyday, was one of the most-popular ‘ships on all of TV and the size of that audience hasn’t exactly diminished.

Yet, for everyone out there waiting to see if Tony does turn back up, patience is going to be a virtue. For starters, right now it’s all about telling the story that is directly in front of us. The story that has been established right now is strictly about Ziva, and not so much Ziva in relation to Tony. His name hasn’t been mentioned often as a part of it this and we take that to mean that the show wants to give Ziva her moment to shine. With Cote back on the show for at least the season 17 premiere (and hopefully more!), this is a chance to learn where this character has been, why is she in hiding, who is coming after her and why has she decided to come out of hiding to warn Gibbs about this danger considering Gibbs is in danger all the time – it must be pretty serious! Maybe she’s been in communication with Tony, maybe he has no idea that she is actually alive or maybe they are all in hiding together. That is unclear and we expect there to be answers on that down the road, but for now we feel that it’s important to focus on Ziva as a powerful, emotive, and incredible character in her own right. The love story element is important and we aren’t dismissing it, but Ziva is also her own person and it takes away from Ziva who has only been on screen for 30 seconds to go straight to Tony – doesn’t she deserve her own moment to shine after all that’s happened to her character? Starting off with a story exclusively for her is a great way to acknowledge her individuality and while we are firmly sailing on the Tiva ‘ship, Ziva’s excellence does not stem solely from a romance. She’s smart, she’s funny and she’s so bad ass!

Do we think that Tony will be mentioned in some shape or form in the season 17 premiere? Probably, but since there are no signs that he is directly involved in what’s happening with Ziva and Gibbs, it’s hard to really have high expectations for an appearance and frankly we don’t want one in the premiere. We have long said that we live for a slow burn and if Cote is open for more episodes down the road, a physical reunion between Tony and Ziva could be something that comes around later in the season — like in a milestone 400th episode a little bit later on in the season. This would give Ziva time to explore her own story, but then also allow something for fans of the couple down the road.

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Are there other roadblocks to consider?

Absolutely, starting with the fact that Weatherly has his own show in Bull, which films around the same time as NCIS and on the other side of the country. It’s not so easy as him just being available to randomly pop in on set. It would probably take months of planning and schedule arranging to make something work, and even more if the intention was to keep the gig a secret like they did with Cote. Weatherly has also been at the center of controversy over the past year, and regardless of however you feel about it, it’s hard not to acknowledge that bringing him back even in a guest role would lead to a certain degree of backlash. CBS felt comfortable renewing Bull in spite of it, but there were strong reactions to their decision earlier this month, so they are aware of how some people feel.

Ultimately, all factors have to be considered when it comes to the idea of showing a Ziva – Tony reunion, and we do think it’s very well possible that the character could just eventually reunite with him off-screen if they aren’t already together. For now, the more important thing is how exciting it is to have Cote back on the show!!! Think back to a year or two ago — is this something that you would ever even imagine we would get? We have a chance to see a really exciting Ziva-centric stories here, and with how unhappy so many people were with her exit and lack of resolution to her character we are thankful to have a chance to get some answers and dive into a fun story in season 17.

For more discussion about NCIS and Ziva…

Check out the link here, as that’s where you can see a little more information all about how CBS kept Cote’s return a secret. Meanwhile, let us know in the comments (or the poll) if you want to see a Tony/Ziva reunion on NCIS. (Photo: CBS.)

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