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‘NCIS’ closes Season 16 with surprise guest appearance

Spoiler alert: This story contains a big surprise from Tuesday’s Season 16 finale of CBS’ “NCIS.”

“NCIS” delivered a shocker in its Season 16 finale Tuesday, but it’s one fans will love: the return of former NCIS and Mossad agent Ziva David (Cote de Pablo).

The beloved character, long thought to be dead before an episode earlier this season hinted she was alive, returned at the very end of the season finale. 

After the episode, producers offered news likely to make Ziva/de Pablo fans even happier.

“This surprise moment is just the beginning,” executive producers Frank Cardea and Steven D. Binder said in a statement.  “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.”

More: ‘NCIS’ recap: Bishop and Ziva prove Gibbs’ rules were meant to be broken

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The very last scene of the ‘NCIS’ Season 16 finale included a shocking return.
USA TODAY

Ziva delivers that warning in the closing scene. As the episode ends, Gibbs (Mark Harmon), her former NCIS boss, is working on a boat in his basement when he hears someone approaching from upstairs.

“All right. What now?” he asks.

Then the surprise: Ziva appears at the top of the steps. 

“Hello, Gibbs. No time for pleasantries,” she says, signaling the Season 17 story. 

Gibbs is dumbfounded, but pleasantly so. As he remains speechless, Ziva asks: “Well, aren’t you going to say something?” 

All he can say, with a hint of a nod and a smile, is a whispered, “Ziva.” She smiles back and the show shifts to its signature black-and-white photo as the episode ends.

Producers went to great lengths to keep the return of Ziva, something fans have long wanted, a secret, including having de Pablo arrive at the stage under the radar via a back gate entrance, according to CBS. 

The scene was not included in any script or call sheet, a list that includes actor and character names, and only Cardea and Binder had copies of the relevant scene pages, in order to keep a lid on the big TV news.

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