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.