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'NCIS' fan favorite makes surprise return in shocking season finale

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SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details on tonight’s Season 16 finale of NCIS on CBS.

On Tuesday night’s season finale of NCIS, fans were in for a huge surprise when fan-favorite character Ziva David made a shocking return six years after actress Cote de Pablo exited the series.

Ziva was long thought to be dead, but showed up at the top of Gibbs’s (Mark Harmon) steps and simply said, “Hello, Gibbs.” Gibbs was understandably stunned, as his character was already having visions of dead people throughout the episode.

Before he could get his bearings, Ziva ran down the stairs and said, “No time for pleasantries. You’re in danger.”

Fans went wild on Twitter, and couldn’t believe that the showrunners were able to keep Ziva’s return a secret.

Ziva has been presumed dead since 2016 after a devastated Tony DiNozzo learned she was not the survivor in a terrorist bombing. Her return in Tuesday’s episode definitely came as a shock.

The NCIS showrunners, Frank Cardea and Steven D. Binder, kept Ziva’s return close to the vest and filmed the scene with a skeleton crew after de Pablo arrived through a back entrance. They also kept the final scene out of the script and call sheet to ensure there’d be no leaks. Both Binder and Cardea are excited for the star’s return and teased that she’d be back during the premiere of season 17.

“This surprise moment is just the beginning,” Cardea and 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.”

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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