'NCIS' Season 17: Fans pat Ziva David's back and call her a 'badass' for bravely battling mental health issues
'NCIS' is back with Season 17 and fans are glued to their screens. After the first episode titled 'Out of the Darkness' aired on September 24, viewers couldn't stop talking about Cote de Pablo's Ziva David return to the show after a six-year absence. Viewers have been looking forward to a 'Tiva' reunion, but after the season pilot, her struggle with mental health issues became a talking point on Twitter.
"Ziva taking medication for anxiety and battling mental health issues. One of the strongest female characters ever written, not being afraid to share that she needs help sometimes. Thank you," one fan wrote and another one posted, "Honestly, Ziva and her anxiety just made me love her even more. My kick-ass ninja with mental health issues and pills just hit close home." "#Ziva‘s anxiety struggle is so real when you've been there yourself... mental health is no joke," one tweet read and another said, "Ziva is back. She's an extra badass for being open and honest about her mental health. She's still a force to be reckoned with. And she still doesn't get idioms. #NCIS make this a season to remember!!"
"If you are a Ziva fan and someone who values mental health, it will warm your heart as it did mine. I'm literally wound from the one hour of NCIS and then the two plus hours of basketball oh my goodness," another fan posted and one tweet read: "And I love, love, love that they're finally treating Ziva like a human being and finally showing the toll of all she's done, all she's been through on her mental health."
One Twitter user even went on to start a thread about Ziva's anxiety and mental health issues. "I usually don't get on a 'soapbox' on social media, but this issue is one that I feel that I must address. With the season premiere episode of NCIS, the fragile mental health of the Ziva character is clearly obvious."
"She admits that one of her demons is anxiety. After all that Ziva had been through in her life and what we saw over the years, she had to have been affected in many ways. Her mental health for sure. PTSD, anxiety, depression, self-loathing are among the many things we saw/see symptoms manifested in Ziva's words, actions, and feelings. To admit that she needed help was a big step for her. To accept the medications that quiet the demon is a milestone. People are now commenting about her being 'looney tunes' and other derogatory names."
"Mental health and mental illness are serious issues and not a joking matter. Admitting that you need help is not easy. Accepting that help is a process unto itself. The meds do help some, but there are still days when the voices in your head never shut up; they constantly bully you into believing that you are not worthy, not lovable, not valued. The inner bully tells you that you do not deserve happiness, praise, favor, success. You are in a very real sense of the word, your own worst enemy. To have others then ridicule you for admitting that you have problem compounds it tenfold."
"Mental health and mental illness should not have a stigma. Getting help should not be a cause for embarrassment, ridicule, name-calling. Telling someone with anxiety or depression to 'just get over it' is demeaning and devaluing. Making fun of the problem is cruel. Name-calling is unwarranted and unwanted. Even after many years of treatment, medication and counseling the issue is still there; it never 'goes away.' I applaud NCIS writers and Cote for addressing the very real, very apparent issues with Ziva's mental health. So far, the portrayal has been spot on and very-well acted. I hope viewers see this as a message that these conditions are real, they affect millions. Thank you for shedding light on this."
Teasing her character's story arc this season, she said in an interview that having to stay away from her daughter and her "big love" Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) was "a real source of pain" for the character. She revealed that fans would be "getting some of these questions answered, certainly through Gibbs" who she has come to save from a "big threat."
Executive producer Frank Cardea explained that "a lot of the story we tell goes all the way back to the very beginning of Ziva." "There will be a very large full circle when all is said and done. It will be emotionally obvious. It will be for a lot of characters, not just Ziva," he added. As the second episode titled 'Into the Light' airs on October 1 on CBS, there's hope that more of Ziva's life will be explored.