Will Cote De Pablo Return To NCIS Before The Tony And Ziva Spinoff? What Michael Weatherly Says

 Cote de Pablo as Ziva David in NCIS.
Cote de Pablo as Ziva David in NCIS.

Back in 2013, Cote De Pablo exited NCIS early into Season 11 after playing Ziva David as a series regular for eight seasons, and by the end of Season 13, the character was said to have been killed in an explosion in Israel. But in the Season 16 finale, Ziva was revealed to still be alive, and she went on to appear a handful of times in Season 17. Now de Pablo is set to reunite with co-star Michael Weatherly for an NCIS spinoff focused on Ziva and Tony DiNozzo being made for Paramount+ subscribers, but per a recent comment from Weatherly, it sounds like the actress is set to return to the flagship show soon.

Weatherly, who cameoed last month as Tony in NCIS’ Ducky tribute episode, was doing an Instagram Live video (via TikTok user tivaology) with Brian Dietzen, who plays Chief Medical Examiner Jimmy Palmer. While speaking to a fan who joined the conversation, Weatherly teased that there’s a “surprise Cote de Pablo thing” coming. He wasn’t able to disclose any specifics, but did say that Dietzen is a part of it, and that he expects it will “blow people’s brains” since de Pablo is a “very private person,” which is in contrast with Weatherly, who’s more “outspoken” and “open” to putting himself on “the show.” He then stated:

… Cote will be making an appearance, I can tease that she will be making an appearance very soon. Yeah, and it’s gonna be great. She looks great, she’s happy and she’s beautiful as ever. So I can’t wait for everyone to see her again.

Now just so we’re all on the same page, we shouldn’t consider this an official announcement that Ziva is set to appear in NCIS Season 21. Still, if Michael Weatherly felt comfortable enough with sharing that information to all the viewers of that video, then it sounds like a done deal. But don’t take my word for it; watch the video for yourself.

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When we left off with Ziva in NCIS Season 17, the woman who’d tried to kill her years earlier was shot dead by Gibbs, allowing Ziva to finally abandon her life on the run and reunite with Tony and their daughter Tali. Presumably Ziva also came back to the United States with Tony to attend Ducky’s memorial service. Because Season 21 only consists of 10 episodes, and with the fifth episode, which was titled “The Plan” and introduced Jessica Knight’s dad, airing this past Monday, that means if Ziva is returning to NCIS, it’s going to be in the next several weeks.

What’s unclear, though, is if this appearance is meant to set up Tony and Ziva’s spinoff, or if it’s just a fun visit. Either way, the upcoming TV show, which has scored a 10-episode order, will see its protagonists being forced to go on the run after Tony’s security company is attacked. In addition to reprising their roles, Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly will executive produce alongside showrunner John McNamara, Laurie Lieser, Christina Strain and Shelley Meals.

A premiere date hasn’t been set for Tony and Ziva’s spinoff yet, but you can watch new episodes of NCIS on the 2024 TV schedule Mondays at 9 pm ET, with NCIS: Hawai’i following immediately afterwards. NCIS: Sydney has also been renewed for Season 2, and NCIS: Origins, the Leroy Jethro Gibbs-centric prequel, will air on CBS sometime in the 2024-2025 TV season.