‘NCIS’: Why Ziva’s Captivity Was One of the Most Compelling Storylines

by Shelby Scott

NCIS has a lot of strategies for keeping audiences interested and engaged. However, looking back across 19, soon to be 20 seasons, of NCIS, one of the most compelling storylines of all was former Special Agent Ziva David’s captivity. As we await an all-new season of the long-running CBS series, we’re here to take a look at why.

From the moment she arrived in season three, Ziva David (played by actress Cote De Pablo), proved to be a talented spy and an even more intimidating killer. After taking her half-brother Ari’s life during that early episode in order to protect Gibbs, it established her as one of NCIS fans’ most beloved characters of all time. So perhaps that’s one of the reasons why so many of us find her season six and seven storyline so interesting.

More so, though, ScreenRant states that above all else, her capture in the Middle East, not to mention the NCIS team’s proceeding rescue of her, shows viewers that she is more than just a dedicated and talented assassin and investigator. Above all else, it proves she’s a survivor. And we see that time and again afterward.

Intentionally, NCIS producers do not actually show the torture and abuse Ziva endured while captured in Somalia. Although it’s that exact fact that helps better convey the mental and emotional trauma and turmoil she wades through afterward, especially following her surprise season 16 return.

Ziva’s Values Change After She Becomes an ‘NCIS’ Agent

Ziva David’s season six capture not only marked a transformation in her mental and emotional state, but it also put her on another professional course. Previously serving as NCIS‘s Mossad liaison officer, the team brings Ziva back from the Middle East and, eventually, all but renounces her ties to her father and Mossad director Eli David and begins applying not only to be an NCIS agent but a full-fledged United States citizen.

As the outlet reminds us, we later get a deeper look at the traumatic effects her early capture had on her when, in season eight, the team begins investigating what we soon learn is a case of domestic violence. In trying to get the victim to open up about her abusive husband, Ziva reveals to her she knows what it’s like to be a survivor and to have to “shut down” to keep moving forward.

If longtime NCIS fans recall, when Ziva first came to the agency, she was very clear that she did not do well connecting emotionally with victims, and especially not with women. Fast-forward eight years and she not only overcomes that boundary but also lets down her guard for the benefit of someone else.

Ziva later showed further depth after sharing a heartfelt goodbye with fellow former special agent Tony DiNozzo before shocking us all with her season 16 return to shed her past life as an agent and assassin once and for all and reunite with DiNozzo and their daughter Tali in season 17.