‘NCIS’ Alum Cote de Pablo Revealed the ‘Most Rewarding’ Part of Starring on the Show

by Suzanne Halliburton

NCIS fans were crushed when Cote de Pablo left their favorite show. She played Ziva David, the former Mossad officer turned special agent to fierce perfection.

When the actress left the show in 2013, NCIS writers explained that she’d returned to her native Israel. But then, they opted to kill off the character in order to say goodbye to another one, Anthony DiNozzo. In May 2016, DiNozzo, played by Michael Weatherly, learned that he and Ziva had a daughter. And in a tragedy, Ziva died in an explosion, so DiNozzo left NCIS left to care for daughter, Tali.

But the NCIS world is chock full of characters coming and going. The season 16 finale featured Gibbs talking to the ghost of his ex-wife. Then when Ziva came down the stairs of his basement to tell him he was in danger, Gibbs (and fans) were left pondering if Ziva was real or a ghost.

So cue 2019 and the start of season 17. Ziva was very much alive and very much a part of the story. That’s why Cote de Pablo was doing interviews to preview the upcoming season. And the actress sat down with host Matt Forte for an episode of the streaming BUILDseries.

She was peppered with all sorts of questions. Ziva still was quite popular. A woman in the audience asked de Pablo what she found the most rewarding about playing her character.

“I think the most rewarding thing, really, is to be showered with a lot of love,” the former NCIS star said. “Where ever I go, and you know, my family can talk about it, certainly, it’s incredible how much this character is embraced by so many people at the international level.

“I can be in Germany, traveling incognito,” de Pablo said. “Or I can be in Italy. And it’s ‘My God,’ someone will say ‘La Zeeeeeva.’ And I’m like, OK. So people, they freak out. I’m always approached, and I believe it’s because the character is sort of a little bit of a badass, I’m always approached with a lot of respect because think a lot of people think they’re approaching the character.

“There’s a part of me that says that’s right. But, it’s funny, Cote and Ziva are very different people.”

Cote de Pablo described herself as someone who gives a lot of hugs. Is Ziva much of a hugger? Well, see the “badass” comment.

From season 17, we know that Ziva worked deep undercover with Odette, who was ex-CIA. And that all ties into the finale of season 18. Ellie Bishop, played by Emily Wickersham, is working with Odette, too. That’s how NCIS writers said goodbye to Bishop.

Check out the entire interview: