‘NCIS’: Why Emily Wickersham Was ‘Intimidated’ By Cote de Pablo When She Joined the Series

by Jacklyn Krol

Former NCIS star Emily Wickersham was intimidated by her predecessor Cote de Pablo.

After first appearing in the NCIS Season 11 episode, “Gut Check” as a guest star for a few episodes, things quickly changed. NSA analyst Eleanor “Ellie” Bishop would soon become a series regular and take the place of de Pablo’s character, Ziva David. She would star on the show until her departure after the completion of Season 18.

Wickersham admitted to TV Guide that she was “intimidated” to come into NCIS to replace the iconic character.

“Her work here was amazing, and I think they’re big shoes to fill,” Wickersham told the outlet. “So I was totally nervous. I still am nervous about it. But I’m excited to be here and to be a part of this team, and excited to work with them all.”

She later told her fans on an Instagram Live that she was worried about what viewers “were going to think about my character and all that stuff.”

“It was really fun working with Cote,” she added. “I didn’t think that would happen on the show, so it was a really cool experience. She’s lovely, she’s a great actress. We had a really good time, it was fun.”

Emily’s Previous Roles

NCIS wasn’t Wickersham’s first time in television drama. She appeared in the 2009 Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode “Major Case.” She portrayed the character of Ceci Madison. Ellie also appeared on NCIS: New Orleans for an episode in 2016.

Wickersham was also featured on shows like Gossip Girl, Bored to Death, The Sopranos, and The Bridge. Wickersham also appeared in films like Gone, I Am Number Four, Remember Me, and Definitely Maybe. Finally, in 2013, she joined the cast of NCIS.

Growing up as a tomboy, NCIS was the perfect place. She described the set as a “real boys’ club.”

“I’ve always loved hanging out with the guys,” she told CBS. “I love women, too, but I’ve always had a ton of guy friends who I’m drawn to, because there’s such a laid-back vibe going on with them.”

One ‘NCIS’ Star Almost Passed Over

Believe it or not, NCIS lead Mark Harmon was almost passed on for the role of Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. NCIS showrunner and writer Don Bellisario told  Entertainment Weekly that he was a “pretty boy.” During that time, Harmon was already a decently well-known name in entertainment. He was also named 1986 People Magazine’s  “Sexiest Man Alive.” Bellisario believed that Harmon couldn’t be grizzled enough with his good looks.

Once he saw Harmon on The West Wing, he knew he had to have him. On the show, he portrayed Secret Service agent Simon Donovan for four episodes.