Ziva David, the Israeli special operator on the massively successful, long-running CBS series NCIS , has been hailed as one of the most important Jewish figures on television — a prominent and positive Israeli character in a landscape severely lacking in constructive depictions of Israeli society. Her mother worked as a talk show host on the Spanish-language network Telemundo in Miami, Fla. De Pablo began studying acting and musical theatre at the same time, clearly knowing what she wanted for her career at a very young age. Hyper-focused and talented, she received a bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theater from the highly competitive Carnegie Mellon University. She eventually landed the role that defined her career, but not before a series of false starts in several other projects.
Ziva From NCIS Didn't Always Look Like This
Cote De Pablo Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty Images
By Deborah Starr Seibel. This is a big, big thing. No kidding. Which is why, when the show lost one of its main characters, Ziva David Cote de Pablo , in the fall, it was a seismic shift for the cast led by Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly.
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How 'NCIS' Pulled Off Its Shocking Season 16 Finale Surprise
This Israeli special operator made her first appearance on the long-running procedural's season 3 premiere, entitled "Kill Ari Part 1 ," and remained with the show through season After that season's finale, she took a long hiatus before popping up again in for a much-anticipated series homecoming. Over that respectable episode tenure, Ziva earned a lot of fans — including prominent rabbis, journalists and political scientists. The Jerusalem Post published an article that cheered Ziva as the most prominent Israeli character on American network TV, and quite a popular show at that.
Ziva first appeared in the season 3 premiere episode, " Kill Ari Part 1 ", and became a regular cast member from the episode " Silver War ". Following the onscreen death of the character's father in season 10, Gabi Coccio recurrently portrayed a young Ziva in flashbacks. She was assigned to NCIS as a liaison officer in an arrangement between Eli and Jenny, a position she held for four years until she returned to Mossad in the season 6 finale, " Aliyah ". After being captured by terrorists in Somalia while on assignment for Mossad and presumed dead, she was eventually saved by Gibbs , Tony , and McGee , who brought her back to America.