Could "Ziva" be part of the NCIS team next season, as "Gibbs" takes a step back?

So far, there hasn't been official news of actress Cote de Pablo returning to NCIS. But there's a new rumour going around that "Ziva" could return in season 19, and it's actually a pretty solid theory.

NCIS: "Ziva" returning in season 19 theory with "Gibbs"

"Ziva" is an NCIS fan-favourite, and viewers were thrilled to have her back in seasons 16 and 17. And, in those episodes, there is a scene that now sticks out after the finale with "Gibbs" narrowly escaping an explosion on his boat.

Back in season 16, it was finally discovered that "Ziva" faked her own death in season 11, and she reunited with her former team. She even accused "Gibbs" of abandoning her because he didn't search for her after her supposed death.

"Ziva" then told "Gibbs" that she would search for him if he ever disappeared or was reported to have died. And, well, that's pretty much exactly how season 18 ended.

We don't yet know how "Gibbs" will respond to the attempt on his life, but the leading theories are that he may fake his own death, go into hiding, or step away from the NCIS team. If he does, we'll see if "Ziva" stays true to her word and investigates.

NCIS - "Ziva" theory and cast news next season

Meanwhile, actor Mark Harmon is confirmed to be appearing in only a few episodes in season 19, so "Gibbs" will likely be away from his team. NCIS has added two new stars to the main cast of season 19, but there hasn't been word on who will lead the team yet.

Last year, an NCIS producer also told TVLine that "Ziva" could always return if there's a story "worthy" of bringing her back and that they are "always open to it." Add it all up, and the stage seems pretty well set for "Ziva" to make a comeback in season 19.

NCIS fans think "Ziva" will return in season 19 to find "Gibbs."

Fans have also had mixed reactions to news of Mark Harmon's reduced role, so Cote de Pablo's presence could ease the transition, be it a guest role or full-time return. Time will have to tell!