How 'NCIS' Star Mark Harmon Played a Major Role in Convincing Cote de Pablo to Return as Ziva David

At the start of season 16, most NCIS fans weren't even considering the possibility of Cote de Pablo returning as Ziva David. But after teasing her return throughout the season and giving de Pablo a cameo in the finale, she might be here to stay. While fans are looking forward to seeing Ziva return to action this season, Mark Harmon played a big role in convincing de Pablo to come back.

'NCIS' executives talk about de Pablo's return

In a new interview, executive producer Frank Cardea openedup about what it took to bring de Pablo back into the NCIS family. Cardea revealed that they finally convinced theactress to fly out and chat about reprising her role ahead of season 16.

According to CinemaBlend, executive producer Steven Binder and Harmon attended the privatemeeting, which is all it took to convince de Pablo to return as Ziva.

"She decided to come out and actually meet with us. We had aclandestine meeting with Steve and I and Mark Harmon. It was like she had neverleft," Cardea explained.

Fast forward to season 17 and Ziva has already had a major impact on the storyline moving forward. But before having Ziva join the team and come out of hiding, NCIS producers kept her return tightly under wraps.

After the season 16 finale, de Pablo revealed that shefilmed her scene with a skeleton crew and that the only cast member who knewshe was back was Harmon (who shared the scene with her). Other cast memberswere not told about her involvement until weeks before the finale aired.

Inside Ziva's return

While Ziva only enjoyed a brief cameo in the season 16finale of NCIS, she has already appeared in two episodes this season. DePablo is set to reprise the role in two future installments, which opens thedoor for more reunions this season.

We've already seen Ziva reunite with some of her old teammates, including Gibbs (Harmon) and McGee (Sean Murray). She's also met a few new faces in Bishop (Emily Wickersham) and Torres (Wilmer Valderrama).

But one of the biggest reunions fans are waiting for is with Tony (Michael Weatherly). We already know that Tony has no idea Ziva is alive, so getting the pair back together will be interesting to see.

NCIS producers,unfortunately, have not confirmed Weatherly's return to the show. If they areplanning on bringing him back, then they're doing a good job hiding it.


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