Cote de Pablo dishes on NCIS

Even after seven seasons, CBS' juggernaut procedural NCIS is still hitting 'em out of the park, thanks to a solid, diverse lineup. TV.com spoke to Cote de Pablo, who plays Special Agent Ziva David, about her role on the show.

TV.com: What’s it like to play someone with such a complicated, tumultuous past?
Cote de Pablo: I really love it and I’ll tell you why. It never gets boring, and you always have something to draw from. It’s sort of like an actor’s dream, that you’re able to constantly feed the character [from the] character’s past. And, so that’s always a fun thing and also a huge challenge because you feel like you have to really deliver. It keeps you on your toes. You have a responsibility to the character and you have to try to respect it as much as possible and try to do your best to honor it.

Have you studied any of the languages that Ziva speaks?
I actually speak fluent English and Spanish and ... I dabble in a couple of languages, but I’m not fluent in German, Russian and Arabic. [Ziva]’s like a little prodigy when it comes to languages and that’s what makes the character fun to play. And it obviously presents a huge challenge to me because whenever they throw something else at me. I just have to sort of tackle it and go with it. But it’s not easy. Especially given the time that they give us to get on with all these things. And they bring in people to help you phonetically and all of that. But, it doesn’t seem to ever be perfect enough, especially when you try to be as perfect as possible, and you have twenty-four hours to learn a language phonetically.

What do you think drives Ziva to act the way she does?
Well, definitely her past. I think she’s been thrown into this American situation. That’s what I label the NCIS world. It was not her choice to come to the United States to be a part of this agency. She was sort of thrown in here because she was covering a mission from Israel ... and I feel that she used this group of people as her dysfunctional family. I think she’s really learned to love them and, at times, especially towards the end of last year, it became very confusing to her where her loyalty was. Was it her family in Israel or was it her family in the United States? And so it’s a tug of war between the most important things to a lot of human beings, which [are] family and blood.

Do you relate to Ziva at all?
I relate to her a lot and then at times it just feels like ... she’s so not like me. I would have to say, of course, you draw from you own personal experiences to make some of Ziva’s experiences as real as they can be. I haven’t lived [a] dramatic life. But there are things that you obviously draw from. I came to the States when I was ten and that was, in many ways, very hard. I left a world behind and I sure can relate to that -- to being taken from one place and placed into another land and then start[ing] from scratch.

What do you think Ziva’s future is going to hold at NCIS?
I sure do hope that she stays with NCIS. I think she really does see them as her family and I love every person that’s there. However, I think later on in this season, things are going to be questioned by something coming from far away lands, maybe a father figure.

You've described Ziva as someone who’s not afraid of men. Does that affect her relationship with Tony (Michael Weatherly)? Why is Tony different from all the other guys?
You know what it is? She calls him “idiot” so many times. And she’s got this brother-sister relationship with him. But at times it crosses the line and goes into sexual tension territory. The only way I can describe her feelings for Tony is that they get blurred and then it’s a lot deeper than what it seems. They trusted each other and they lost their trust in each other. But I think the underlying emotion is always love ... However, she’s always thinking, "My God, he’s such an idiot!" But at the same time, she knows that all of that is sort of like a cover-up for something that’s really soft and mushy on the inside. Because if you see the episodes with him, he comes across as a total idiot.

Do you and Michael Weatherly ever discuss your characters' relationship?
[Tony and Ziva's] relationship is -- people just love it and I think they love it for a reason. Michael and I, when we get together and we work on scenes, we never talk about what our intentions are. We never talk about what he wants to get out of a scene. He’s got his own set of intentions and I’ve got my own set of intentions and within that, when we get together ... we don’t know what the other person is going to put into the pot.

Why you think this show has become so popular?
I’ll tell you why. This has been something that we’ve talked about, Rocky Carroll, Brian Dietzen, David McCallum, Michael Weatherly, Sean Murray, Pauley Perrette, Mark Harmon and myself. The success of the show is based on this perfect chemistry. If you take any of these characters away and tried to do the show, it would not be the same thing ... I think the show is a character driven show in a procedural format and I think people tune in because they like to see these relationships. These relationships are based on the fact that we get along and that we genuinely like each other and we trust each other.

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

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Ditto ..what NICS New Orelans is too Violent , as is Hawaii 50 ! Gives both Towns a Bad Reputation! and 1st thing I ask of the Storyline? What does this have to do with the Military? If it doesn't, I watch something else..Going over seas? Who are they kidding..NCIS does not do that ! Just like 50% of all the other things they do in the Series..
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I wish Ziva would come back please.

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ziva come back
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Zeva is completely right about the characters and that none of them should go away.
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MY HUSBAND AND I AND MY MOM WATCH NCIS EVERY WEEK NO MATTER WHAT. WE LOVE IT. WE RE ARANGE OUR SCHEDULE FOR THIS SHOW SO WE NEVER MISS IT. WE WANT ZIVA AND TONY TO FALL IN LOVE SO BAD. COME ON ALREADY. AND ALSO ABBY AND MCGEE TO FALL IN LOVE. IT CAN HAPPEN. ANYTHING GOES ON T.V. NCIS CAST IS A CLOSE NIT FAMILY AND EVERY TUESDAY YOU ARE OUR FAMILY AND WE WANT TO SEE MORE LOVE INTEREST IN THE CHARTERS LIVES. YOU ALL DO A WONDERFUL JOB. WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH.
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omg this is really cool! im obsessed with ncis even though im only a child, and me and my friends love ncis, i got into ncis when my mom was watching it on TV and i just sat down and started watching it and ended up liking it and now ncis is my favorite show. And Ziva is my ABSOLUTE(or however u spell it) favorite character. Me and my friends dream of meeting the ncis cast that would be so awesome *dreams*
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I am the exact same way!

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I love her character but her israli accent sucks more than a bit
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vamos cote !! saludos desde chile :)
go cote!!! grettings from chile :)
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Oh BY THE WAY if CBS ever need an ENGLISH female assistant for abby please give me a thought!!!! xxxxx love u guys xxx
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the show is great and i agree that taking one away would spoil it, my fav is gibbs but all the cast are great in the characters they portray, its witty very dry and believable. i live in the uk and haven't even bothered to watch the new NCIS LA that screened here recently, L. JETHRO GIBBS, TONY DINOZZO, TIM MCGEE, ZIVA DAVID, DUCKY MALLARD, ABBY , JIMMY and the director chap, for me cannot be replaced. PLEASE KEEP THE ORIGINAL TEAM....... THEY ROCK!!
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ziva i can't even explain how much i love that chick she is soooo amazing but i also am such a big fan of the show as well
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Cote de Pablo is great on the show! Along with Gibbs and Tony...(and Abby).Great show with great cast that works fantastically together
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i really agree with her i love you cote de pablo
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I really agree with the 'perfect chemistry' that makes the show a success! I'm having a really hard time getting into the NCIS/LA
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One of the reasons I love this show is that the characters are all so personable, and they do work so very, very well together. Ms. De Pablo is right - take even one, any one character away and it would cease to be the same. Cote De Pablo's character, Diva, is my favorite, because I can relate so well to her painful past. I just love it when she has to take on a tough guy or 2 and leaves them in the dust...
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I really like this show and have ben a fan for years. I would rather watch a NCIS reun than most any show they have on now. I hope it last for manyy years to come.add a comment
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I think that Cote De Pablo describes her relation w/Tony (Michael)very well close but not too much close It's a great show. :)
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I absouloutely love the show and cote de pablo is exactly right, the onscreen chemistry the whole cast has is totally awesome and if you were to take one of them away from the equation it just simply would not work. NCIS CAST YOU TOTALLY ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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why isn't Mr Palmer introduced in the Credits?
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I am new to NCIS. I actually started watching reruns. Now I watch the reruns everyday after work and I watch on Tuesdays. It is such a good show. The characters are so great. I think that is why it is so good.
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I love the way the show is playing now, the shows are now being played the way they were intended to be done. NCIS=Los Angelos is suppose to be different in order to keep the audiences watching both shows and liking them both. Good job!!
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The show has everything. It has the drama to keep your attention, the humor to make ya' smile, the characters to make it seem real, and the suspense to keep you guessing. Thanks Mr. Harmon, for another fine show...
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I love the relationships. The show couldn't go on without any of them
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i just love the relationship between all the characters they fit so well--long live ncis
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Great cast, great show.....what you need is a middle-aged, slightly plump white guy from Texas to "round" things out. If you write that part in, give me a shout.



DS
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add a comment
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I LOVE This show
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I love this show, and it is almost the only show that I watch because I love the characterizations and the quirkiness of the characters. I love Pauley's extreme Gothness, and Ducky's chattiness! I love Tony's idiocy, and how he manages to eat at the wrong moment or pour food on himself. These are like "in jokes" that reoccur throughout, and that NCIS LA show does not seem to have the same ingredients that make NCIS work.
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I do agree with the statement about the chemistry between the actors making the show. I honestly didn't like Kate, I don't really like watching the episodes where she was still there, and I think Ziba's character brings much more to the show. Also, I still can't stand the new director. But even though he plays a large role in NCIS the agency, I think that NCIS the show, is more about the agents and the lab people. Take any of them, and you've got no show.
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I'm glad that Ziva is back. She and the of the cast are what make the show a success. They have great chemistry with eachother, even with the head-slaps, nick-names, etc. I make it a point to watch NCIS on Tuesday nights. Can't get enough of this show.
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I disagree that if you take one character out, this show wouldn't be the same. Having the thought that the show went on without Director Shephard. It was hard accepting the new Director but I'm fine with it now but it wasn't enough for me to turn the show off. Eventually, a new character does fit in. (You can be replaced...LOL). BTW, all the characters are great!!!
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I think they should leave Tony and Ziva's relationship just the way it is and keep throwing in that sexual tension every once in awhile. I loved the episode when Tony and Ziva were undercover spies. That was priceless. Another episode like that and that would be great.
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I like Ziva and Tony as partners since they are both interesting, good characters but I'm not a major Tiva fan. I neither like nor dislike it.
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Cote De Pablo rarely shows up on video interviews i wonder why but o well this is good enough.
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NCIS was a great series before she joined, since she became part of the team it has gone UP several notches. Her character has so many facets and her teasing with Tony goes so much further than the prim Catlin's ever would. Ziva has so much baggage that she deserves a lot of explaining and also gives the NCIS production team great scope for future stories. Far from hogging the limelight she is being rounded and filled in as a character. We didn't complain when Di Nozza had many a show with Jeanne nor should anyone complain now. Cote de Pablo is superb at playing Ziva and to lose her would be like losing Tony or any one of 'the team', even, dare I say it, Gibbs.

The interview was excellent and though some here seem to want to know every detail of her personal life, I don't. Give her her life and let's enjoy what she gives us.
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I Love your character, however I have a question. Why are'nt you wearing your Star of Dsvid this year?

You made such a point of your pride in wearing it while you were on the ship at end of last season. I know the terrorist ripped it from you neck while you were captive but why have you not replaced it?



Thank you.
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yes.. so happy to see her back .. its not the same if she is not around.. ilike her wit and very tough aura..:)
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I completely agree with her answer to the last question about the success of the show. I love the characters. I would especially hate to see Ziva leave.
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My wife and myself absolutely love NCIS and all the characters. It keeps us both on our toes and can't wait to see more episodes. You guys rock!!!!
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Congratulation, one you are Chilean y two you are excellent
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NCIS is such a wonderful show! Cote is so sweet, and a fantastic actress!
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ok she seems like a nice person but i want to ask this because i'm a big ncis fan.What the hell is going on this season and they have reduce mark harmon's part?I mean we had enough with Ziva i would prefer to focus on relationships like Gibbs/Tony or Gibbs with the team like the old times. I like Cote but she is not such a very good actress and it shows more because she plays next to a great cast (especially the men actors) and frankly her role is not really fascinating or funny as tony's or complicated and sexy as Gibb's etc.
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Would like to have gotten more info on Cote than on the show. I already know what makes the show work: character chemistry and good writing.



Sorry, I can't say the same for NCIS LA. Don't find any chemistry there. LL just makes faces, grunts and walks through all of his scenes. Perhaps an actor would have made a better choice. He reminds me very much if ICE T on L&O SVU. No actor there either, in spite of the fact he's lasted years in the role playing a smart-ass, gruff bully.

Terry
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That was a great interview :P

i think Cote de Pablo seems like such an awesome person that you would just love to have as a friend!

Please continue to post chats like this so we can all enjoy reading them as i certainly did of this one!

Thank you Cote de Pablo
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Thanks for the interview. Ziva is awesome and I love the whole Tony/Ziva thing. It's so much fun, not soppy or fluffy, just two people who give as good as they get!
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oh, I don't know...as good as the chemistry is, I'd bet I'd love the show if Ziva was gone...in fact, I think I'd like it even more than I do now ..LOL
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Love the original NCIS show. Find NCIS LA is too scattered, perhaps designed for the "short attention span" younger group who have trouble focusing on anything for a sustained amount of time. Trish
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P.S. NO ONE will be able to replace ZIVA!
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I've been watching this show from episode #1..Love MarkHarmon and was anxious to see MichaelWeatherly since I was a DARK ANGEL fan as well. This series just gets better and better with each season..I love the subtleness and the not getting in your face every week..and I'm old enough to have been raised on ManFromU.N.C.L.E. ("Ducky's" very old series)..Pauley is so special and Sean is so cuddleable,,
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