COTE de Pablo plays one of the strongest women on TV — special agent Ziva David on NCIS.
David is a former Israeli soldier and Mossad agent. She talks tough. She acts tough.
That makes her the perfect foil for US Navy Major Case Response Team boss Leroy Gibbs (Mark Harmon).
Chilean-born de Pablo joined NCIS in 2005.
Ziva David is fearsome. Where did you get your inspiration for her?
I had a boyfriend for a long time that was Jewish. His mother’s family was from Israel. She was an interesting character — intense, incredibly passionate, and at times could lash out. I remember she made a real impression on me at a very young age. I actually sort of avoided her for a long time. I thought she was like a chemical combustion waiting to happen. I based Ziva on her — at all times she’s on edge. She’s either enchanting or ready to poison you.
You have played Ziva for more than seven years. Howhas she changed over that time?
The character has been a little bit toned down. I have always said I miss elements of that abruptly passionate thing that Ziva had at the beginning.
Ziva is very comfortable in the predominantly male NCIS environment. Are you the same?
I was a cute little tomboy who would hang out with the boys (when I was younger). Some of the boys would have crushes on me but I would always only look at them as friends. Now if you giveme a weekend, five girlfriends, and put me in a pool with a glass of wine in my hand I’m the happiest person in the world. Because I am surrounded by men all the time (on NCIS) I crave women’s energy and I look for it more than ever in my life.
There is a warmth and humour to It is a world away from the gloomy franchise.
NCIS. NCIS season 9 is now available on DVD.
CSI We compare it to The A-Team. We are dealing with heavy duty stuff butwe also have to be able to find a moment to laugh. I think people tune in to see the characters interact, not to see the crime solved. You’ve (audience) got to be invested in these people.
Howwell do you get on with Mark Harmon and the rest of the cast?
We all have our good days and our bad days. We’ve seen each other grow up and go through major life changes. We’re there for each other.
You recently signed another two-year deal to continue on
How long do you see yourself staying on the show?
I’d love to go to the very end with them. We’re all still excited about these stories.