Cote de Pablo was born on November 12, 1979 in Santiago, Chile, but she was raised in Miami after her family moved to theUSAwhen she wasten. First, she attended Arvida Middle School in Miami, Florida, and later in life, when she moved to Pittsburgh, attended Carnegie Mellon University. She graduated in 2000, after studying music theater. In that time, Cote appeared in several theater productions, includingIndiscretions, The Fantasticks, The House of Bernarda Alba, And The World Goes 'Round, A Little Night Music and Cloud Techtonics.
Known then as Maria Jose de Pablo, she hosted the Univision show Control in 1994 along with Entertainment Tonight host Carlos Ponce. That was her first television role. In 2001, Cote appeared on the New York City Public Theater stage in the Shakespeare play Measure for Measure, and later she had roles in several TV shows. Interestingly, she had a small role on the long-running soapAll My Childrenwith Rudolf Martin, who would later have a role as her half-brother Ari Haswari in NCIS.
Cote has also appeared as a guest star in the CBS show The Education of Max Bickford, acting alongside Academy Award winners Richard Dreyfuss and Marcia Gay Harden, Golden Globe winner Regina Taylor, veteran actress Helen Shaver, and actress Katee Sackhoff.
In 2004, she had a role in The Jury as Marguerite Cisneros. In 2005, she made her Broadway debut as Dolores Fuentes in The Mambo Kings. Cote is currently starring in the CBS show NCIS as Mossad Officer Ziva David (alongside Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perette, David McCallum, Sean Murray, and Rocky Caroll), who arrives after the death of NCIS character Kate Todd; in the episode Silver War, she became a series regular.She left the NCIS in Season 10.
In 2006, she won an Imagen Award at the Imagen Foundation Awards for Best Supporting Actress in Television for NCIS. In 2008 she was nominated for the same award. In 2008 and 2009, she was nominated for an ALMA Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Television Series for NCIS.