'NCIS': Why Ziva Is the Perfect Role Model

NCIS fans were left with a cliffhanger and a lot of questions following the Season 16 finale. Most notably, Ziva David, a fan favorite character who was thought dead way back in 2013 showed up for a few brief moments, changing everything . . . maybe.

Fans cannot be sure that Ziva was really there. She may have simply been a figment of the imagination for Leroy Jethro Gibbs‘ (played by Mark Harmon).

Ziva’s disappearance from the show coincided with comments from the actor who plays her. Cote de Pablo explained that playing Ziva for such a long time left her deeply invested in and protective of the character. She felt like the show’s character arc was lacking. de Pablo said she did not want to return to the show unless Ziva was given something bigger and better: 

“They were going to send her back to Israel and make her an unfortunate, miserable woman. I said, ‘What do I leave all the women that have watched and followed the show for so long?’ And I didn’t think it was fair. So I said, ‘Unless someone can really write something fantastic for her, I won’t go back.’”

It has been confirmed that Ziva will at least be back in a guest role for Season 17. Perhaps her character is getting a narrative de Pablo deems worthy and fitting. Whatever the case, the excitement over Ziva’s return gives us the opportunity to look back on why she’s such a great role model and what she means to fans. 

Ziva’s story is one about growth and change

Ziva is a character who has overcome so much. After grieving her little sister’s death at the hands of a suicide bomber, she was ready and willing to take on the role of a powerful fighter. She joined the Israeli army at the age of 18 and chose to join Mossad.

Her appearance on the NCIS team was fraught and filled with tension. It was ultimately solidified when she saved Special Agent Gibbs from her brother Ari by killing Ari herself. 

Eventually, Ziva would earn probationary and then full status as an NCIS member. Her contributions helped her to gain U.S. citizenship and the respect, trust, and admiration of her team members.

Her story is one of conquering odds and standing up for what is right. The growth and change that she exhibits throughout her time on the show is a phenomenal testament to her abilities and strengths. 

Ziva is impressive in just about everything


Is there anything Ziva can’t do? She’s skilled at hand to hand combat and is an excellent markswoman, making her deadly with or without a weapon. In addition to being physically tough, she’s also brilliant and able to speak ten languages including Arabic, English, French, German, Pashto, and Russian. On top of all that, she is talented at lockpicking. This gives her the ability to get out of many tough situations. 

While all of these strong moves and killer abilities are impressive, fans are also drawn to how well Ziva can do it all while maintaining style and grace. She is a complex character who defies stereotypes and is not easy to fit into a box. She leads with her heart and has no trouble dishing out sass or being open and honest about who she is and what she believes. 

We won’t know for sure what role Ziva is going to play in the new season. Or for that matter, just how long her character might be back. Fans will have to stay on the edge of their seats (and keep wondering if there might be a Ziva-Tony reunion in the future). We will have to wait and see!

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