NCIS season 17: Could the cliffhanger story go on after Ziva?

ZivaAs we prepare for NCIS season 17 to premiere this fall, there’s a lot of different ways to look at the big cliffhanger — the thing that’s drawing the most conversation. First and foremost, it’s the return of Ziva! We haven’t seen Cote de Pablo on the show and quite a long time — we’ve missed her energy, her determination, and the combination of action and humor she’s brought to the story.

Beyond just Ziva’s return, though, there’s also the issue of why exactly she is back. We’ve talked about that a little bit before, and as fun as her return is, it doesn’t seem as though she’s going to be around for more than just one episode. If she is, that’s something that CBS in the producers are hiding to the best of their ability.

So, for the sake of this article, the question that we have to ask is a rather simple one. Could the Ziva storyline — i.e. the one that prompts her return revolving around Gibbs being in danger — last beyond Cote’s appearance? Is she serving as a way to introduce it, and we are eventually going to see some of it play out without her? It certainly seems like a valid possibility. (Before moving forward, let’s make this clear — we would love to see Ziva around a little longer than one episode, but that ball is ultimately in Cote’s court along with the producers).

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We think that it’s certainly possible that Ziva will come in and introduce whatever storyline is going on, but then soon after that, move away to either take on some other threats or potentially find her way back to Tony. This could leave the remainder of the NCIS team with a lot of work to be done in order to take on whatever threat lies ahead of them. Ziva introduces the loose end and it’s up to Gibbs and the rest of the team to tie it together. Much of season 17 could it be about trying to take on that particular threat. It’s possible that we could still end up seeing Ziva again a little bit later on down the road, but it doesn’t seem as though that’s something we will get right away.

There’s another question worth considering here, and it’s simply how long NCIS wants to tell the story prompting Ziva’s return, period. Typically with this show, they are hesitant to continue a specific thread for longer than just a couple of weeks at a time. NCIS still has a procedural at the heart of its DNA, and for the sake of syndication and all the typical ways that people watch the show, it’s not going to drift too far from that. If you want to keep Ziva involved in this storyline but you don’t have a whole lot of episodes with Cote early on in the season, one thing you could do is kick it off in episode 1, build on it with episode 2 without Cote, but then wait for her to potentially return down the road to close it off. Doing that is risky, though, since you’d need to know that she is coming back.

While all of this is fun to think about…

It’s probably best not to read too much into the long-term nature of Ziva’s return for now. Instead, we may all be better off thinking of it as a one-time affair than something that will last forever. We do think there are ways for the writers to use the character to set the story up to where it could be paid off without her, but after seeing her involved, it’s going to be hard to resolve the threat (whatever it is) without her back. Since she’s the one who warned Gibbs, we want to see her be a part of it!

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Check out our written spotlight all about McGee’s future over at the link here. Do you think the Gibbs-in-danger storyline for NCIS season 17 could go on without Ziva being on the show? Be sure to share in the comments.

This article was written by Jessica Carter. You can follow her on Twitter here. (Photo: CBS.)

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