How 'NCIS' Kept Ziva's Story Going After She Left

Meredith Jacobs
Spoiler Alert CBS

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 17, Episode 3 of NCIS, "Going Mobile."]

Ziva (Cote de Pablo) may have left (until a bit later in the season), but she left quite the lasting impression on the team in NCIS Season 17.

And in "Going Mobile," off Vance's (Rocky Carroll) concern for the agents' morale, Jack (Maria Bello) tries to get everyone to talk about their feelings regarding Ziva's sudden arrival and departure. She gets "an unfinished business kind of vibe" off of them, and she's right. Ziva's presence has affected them all in one way or another, even if they try to make their conversations with her about one of their teammates.

McGee (Sean Murray) claims he's concerned about Bishop (Emily Wickersham) and how she's coping with meeting the woman who used to have her desk. "Seeing all the hell Ziva's been through, that's gotta leave a pretty nasty mark," he worries. And that's certainly something the two women should talk about when Ziva returns.

10 Things We Need to See When Ziva Returns to 'NCIS' (PHOTOS)

10 Things We Need to See When Ziva Returns to 'NCIS' (PHOTOS)

We haven't seen nearly enough from Ziva in Season 17.

And McGee is still dealing with the lack of communication on Ziva's part. First, it was not telling him she was alive. Then, he was upset because it seemed like she was talking to everyone except for him (and Palmer, Vance, and Torres). And now, he admits, he wishes she'd said goodbye. Even his concern about Bishop worrying Ziva's "future awaits her" can apply to him as well, especially since, like Ziva, he's a parent.

Jack tracks down Bishop, who admits she's still "processing" after Ziva's visit but insists the two of them are cool. It seems McGee was right on the nose with his concerns about his teammate. But Bishop is worried about Torres (Wilmer Valderrama), who hasn't been taking losing to Ziva in their "fake" fight all that well.

(Sonja Flemming/CBS)

What Bishop doesn't know is that the fight itself isn't why he can't look her in the eye; Ziva distracted him with something "personal," he admits to Jack. "Don't be a wuss," Ziva had told him. "Tell her how you feel." If anyone knows anything about a long, drawn-out will-they-or-won't-they relationship with a teammate, it's Ziva — and her words clearly have gotten him thinking. Will Torres take Ziva's advice?

Torres is right about one thing he tells Jack: Gibbs (Mark Harmon) is the one who's the most messed up about Ziva. "I should've looked for her," he says, even though he thought she was dead. That was at the heart of the conflict between the two during her reappearance in D.C. But now he's wondering if he should be looking for her again now that she's left. "What if she does need me?" He worries. "What if she needs me now?" Jack suggests he needs to let her go again, but is she right?

Will Ziva Return After the 4 'NCIS' Season 17 Episodes?

Will Ziva Return After the 4 'NCIS' Season 17 Episodes?

The actress also revealed why she came back to the show and teased how the character has changed.

It's a delicate situation. In fact, all of their issues stemming from Ziva's place in their lives and return are. And these are things that the series needs to show each addressing with her when she does come back for two more episodes a bit later in the season.

Gibbs and Ziva need to talk about her feelings of abandonment when he accepted her death, no matter how hard it would've been for him to look for her and not find her alive. McGee and Ziva may have connected in the diner in "Into the Light," but they need to discuss the hurt he feels about the woman he sees as a sister keeping him in the dark. And Bishop was the one person Ziva trusted with the truth last season and the only person who may feel she has to follow in her footsteps, especially considering she joined the team when everyone thought Ziva was dead. These aren't just one-and-done conversations.

(Michael Yarish/CBS)

Ziva — and her "death" — left a lingering impression on everyone, and the show isn't going to be the same moving forward.

NCIS, Tuesdays, 8/7c, CBS