In 2005, Cote de Pablo was cast as "Ziva David" in NCIS. The actress joined the cast after Sasha Alexander, a.k.a. "Caitlin Todd", left the show. And right from the start, de Pablo had a clear vision of how she wanted to play the role of "Ziva."
In an interview with CBS in 2005, Cote de Pablo said that she actually didn't care if the audience liked "Ziva David." It was more important to her to play a character with depth.
"I never came in with the intention of people liking me. I was trying to portray, like I said before, a three-dimensional character," de Pablo said in the interview.
NCIS: That was Coté de Pablo's goal for "Ziva"
Cote de Pablo brought a whole new energy to the show, as William Webb, director of photography, told CBS during the third season: "Cote de Pablo, 'Ziva David', is a whole different personality. And she brings a very unique energy to the set."
With "Ziva," de Pablo had a clear intention: "My objective was not to be liked, ever. If people liked me, fantastic. But I'm not trying to please people," she told CBS.
Instead, the actress wanted to generate all kinds of emotional reactions from the audience. "I'm sure I'll tick people off at times, because I want to tick people off at times. And I want to make people cry at times, and I want to make people laugh at times."
NCIS: "Ziva" was THE fan favorite over the years
A huge number of NCIS fans were quickly taken by "Ziva David" and her character. After it was confirmed that Cote de Pablo would leave NCIS in 2013, the audience mourned her character. People kept asking for "Ziva" to come back until she finally returned in season 17.
In a 2019 interview with ET, Cote revealed how she was convinced to make a comeback. The actress heard about the development of "Ziva" and again felt drawn towards the character.
In season 17 of NCIS Cote de Pablo reprised her role as "Ziva David" for four episodes.