Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TELEVISION - COLIN VICK­ERY with COTE DE PABLO

COTE de Pablo plays one of the strong­est women on tele­vi­sion – spe­cial agent Ziva David on NCIS.

David is a for­mer Is­raeli sol­dier and Mos­sad agent. She talks tough and acts tough. That makes her the per­fect foil for re­sponse team boss Leroy Gibbs ( Mark Har­mon).

Chilean- born de Pablo joined NCIS in 2005. The 32- year- old came from a the­atre back­ground and made her Broad­way de­but in The Mambo Kings.

Ziva David is fear­some. Where did you get your in­spi­ra­tion for her? I had a boyfriend for a long time who was Jewish. His mother’s fam­ily was from Is­rael. She was an in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ter – in­tense, in­cred­i­bly pas­sion­ate and at times could lash out. She made a real im­pres­sion on me at a very young age. 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. How has she changed? 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 en­vi­ron­ment. Are you the same? I was a cute lit­tle tomboy who would hang out with the boys. Some of the boys would have crushes on me but I would al­ways only look at them as friends. Now if you give me a week­end, five girl­friends and put me in a pool with a glass of wine, I’m the hap­pi­est per­son in the world. Be­cause I am sur­rounded by men all the time [ on NCIS] I crave women’s en­ergy.

There is a warmth and hu­mour to NCIS. It is a world away from the gloomy CSI fran­chise. We com­pare it [ NCIS] to The A- Team. We are deal­ing with heavy duty stuff but we also have to be able to laugh.

How well do you get on with 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 a two- year deal to continue. How long do you see your­self stay­ing? I’m part of a [ TV] fam­ily and I’d love to go to the very end. We’re all still ex­cited about do­ing these.

NCIS Sea­son 9 is avail­able on DVD.

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