How Real Is [Spoiler’s] Reunion With Gibbs in the ‘NCIS’ Finale?

NCIS Gibbs reaction Ziva
Spoiler Alert

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 16 finale of NCIS, “Daughters.”]

NCIS fans receive quite the treat in the final moments of the Season 16 finale.

The season had been building to something happening with Ziva (Cote de Pablo) after the strong suggestion that she is alive and Bishop (Emily Wickersham) refusing to just let it (or Ziva’s secret office) go. So, while fans at least hoped that the finale would address that ongoing storyline, that didn’t mean they necessarily expected to see Ziva herself appear.

[Spoiler] Returns in the 'NCIS' Season 16 Finale — Find Out What's NextSee Also

[Spoiler] Returns in the 'NCIS' Season 16 Finale — Find Out What's Next

Find out how the CBS procedural drama pulled off that shocking moment.

But she does, in the last scene of “Daughters” and just after the ghost of Gibbs’ (Mark Harmon) dead ex-wife, Diane (Melinda McGraw) tells him they’re “all” here for him. That suggests there are other dearly-departed loved ones of his around, and it’s because of that some fans are wary of Ziva’s return.

Could Ziva be in his head? “No time for pleasantries. You’re in danger,” she tells him. And this comes just after Diane remarks, “You’re not done with this one yet, are you?” While the team catches the man who gave Emily Fornell (Juliette Angelo) the drugs she was taking, he got his drugs from across the border in Canada. He warns Gibbs he doesn’t want to mess with that person. It’s unclear if the pharmacist gives Gibbs the name or not, but is that at all connected to Ziva’s return?

Could Ziva just be Gibbs’ conscience, worried about how this case could continue to affect him, considering he’s now starting to feel again? As Diane points out, burning rule 10 (“never get personally involved in a case”) brought down the walls he put up after his wife and daughter’s deaths.


It’s more likely that she has actually returned and that Gibbs is in danger, the specifics of which will be revealed when the series resumes. “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,” showrunners Frank Cardea and Steven D. Binder teased in a statement.

After all, wouldn’t it be quite the coincidence if, just as Bishop has almost irrefutable proof that Ziva’s alive — why would someone want her to think she is by leaving that note? — the former NCIS agent shows up? Sure, Gibbs could have been thinking of her, hence her appearance, but it’s hard to imagine the series building up to her ghost showing up after all the teases this season.

And because of that, fans should be happy with de Pablo’s return to the CBS procedural drama, and they are, celebrating on Twitter and even using GIFs to express their excitement.

Watch Ziva’s return below and sound off in the comments with your thoughts on that shocking moment.

NCIS, Season 17, Fall 2019, CBS