The finale of season 16 of 'NCIS' was not just the end of yet another season, but after many years, the finale saw one of the show's most beloved characters return in a guest appearance, in a massive surprise for fans.
The show welcomed back Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), who hadn't been seen on the show since her 2013 departure. Throughout the episode, Gibbs (Mark Harmon) is haunted by the ghost of his ex-wife Diane Stirling, but Ziva's appearance stole the show as she delivers an urgent message to Gibbs.
Hello, old friend. #NCIS pic.twitter.com/hhJ7s4Y0fI— NCIS (@NCIS_CBS) May 22, 2019
"Hello, Gibbs," she says. "No time for pleasantries. You're in danger." An awestruck Gibbs meets Ziva with silence. In the final minutes of the finale, when Gibbs hears noises while he in his beloved basement, he expects to see his wife once again and looked as surprised as fans to find Ziva instead. "Well, aren't you going to say something?" she asks. "Ziver," he replies, a reference to his nickname for her.
Although Ziva's character had left the show in 2013, she has remained a part of the show. Ziva's love interest, agent Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), left the series in 2016 because his character had found that he had fathered a daughter with Ziva. Ziva supposedly died in a mortar attack while living abroad, and her body was never found. Fans were hence left wondering whether or not she was still alive.
According to TVLine, producers of the show had to go to great lengths to keep the surprise appearance a secret. Only 'NCIS' showrunners Frank Cardea and Steven D Binder had copies of the scene pages which mentioned her return and they had not included the scene in the script.
This also called for discreet filming at midnight with a "skeleton" crew.
'NCIS' showrunners Frank Cardea and Steven D Binder confirmed that De Pablo will also appear in the season 17 premiere. "This surprise moment is just the beginning," they said. "We are thrilled to share that Cote de Pablo will guest star in the NCIS season 17 premiere this fall, as Ziva's warning to Gibbs unfolds."
'NCIS' will return in the fall, and we expect to see more of Ziva in the future.