A MAN WALKS INTO A BAR… ZIVA
Ziva: “Now why exactly are we doing this?”
Cranston: “We are just talking, just getting to know each other.”
Ziva: “Okay, but I do not need to know you, and this is actually taking time away from my work.”
Cranston: "Sometimes a little time away from work is a really good thing. I do admire your dedication, though."
Ziva: “Dedication is important to me.”
Cranston: “Hasn’t that been something you’ve been uh, juggling your whole life?”
Ziva: “I… I uh, do not know what you mean.”
Cranston: "Juggling dedication to uh, to family, to country, to job?"
[Flashback: Episode 6.25]
Ziva: “I do not understand how this is relevant to what you need to know.”
Cranston: “It tells me something about you. About what brought you here. About where you came from. When you first came here, you uh, replaced someone.”
Ziva: “Yes. Special Agent Caitlin Todd. She was killed in the line of duty.”
Cranston: "Have you ever met Agent Todd?"
Ziva: “No, and I know that her loss was, uh, significant to NCIS.”
[Flashback: Episode 3.04]
Cranston: "It’s always very difficult filling someone else’s shoes."
Ziva: “No disrespect, Doctor, but except from the fact that she was a woman, we are very different Agents.”
Cranston: "Oh, I can tell that individuality is very important to you. Are you as discerning when it comes to men as well? Keeping your personal and professional lives in balance is, is, important, and it looks like some men, over the years, have, uh, influenced your work."
Ziva: "My work has never been affected. And this is none of your business."
Cranston: “Actually, it is.”
[Flashback: Episodes 6.23, 6.25.]
Cranston: "The, the, the thing that puzzles me, with all this change: allegiance to family, of the type of men you’re drawn to… What is it that you’re looking for, what is it that you want?"
Ziva: "I want… something… permanent. Something that can’t be taken away. Is that too much to ask?"
If it’s possible to sum up almost six seasons in one sentence, then the last sentence in this scene did just that for Ziva.
One of the most poignant scenes that Cote De Pablo has delivered to date occurred during this session with Dr. Cranston. How could we not be moved upon seeing the pain and uncertainty in Ziva’s eyes as she remembered her confrontation with her father in “Aliyah”?
Ziva first appeared on the scene in “Kill Ari”, the season 3 premiere. She was a confident, determined and loyal Mossad handler sent to support/protect her operative—who happened to be her half-brother, Ari. NCIS had been tracking him for two seasons at this point, and he’d then allegedly killed one of their agents, Caitlyn Todd. The only female agent on the MCRT. The steady member with no apparent insecurities; the den mother in many respects.
The impact of Kate’s death on her team members—and friends—was never fully explored until Tuesday night’s episode, in often heartbreaking fashion. What huge shoes Ziva must have felt she had to fill when she came on board, especially knowing that her brother was indeed the one who had murdered the well-loved agent she was replacing. Was there a sort of penance she felt needed to be paid? The fact that she was the one who killed him wouldn’t make up for his wrong-doings, but it must have added to her burden of misery and guilt.
Does she ever wonder what role she may have played in Kate’s death? After all, she’s the one who compiled the detailed dossiers for Ari on each member of the MCRT.* She gave him the information he needed to attack Gibbs in the most painful manner he could; going after the women who were important to him after he’d already lost his wife and daughter.
Through five seasons we had reason to question Ziva’s loyalty, recognizing that she was often torn between the home she was born to and the home that she wanted to belong to. Balancing both sides had to be difficult, and ultimately letting go of one side even more so. Wanting something that is safer and more stable must seem somewhat selfish to a hardened Mossad agent who is expected to ultimately give her life for her country.
The fact that her boss is more of a father to her than her own must be a bitter pill to swallow, but at NCIS Ziva knows that she’s not expendable. She’s respected and cared for as the person and capable investigator that she is rather than primarily as the sharp end of the spear--although I still like to see that aspect of her emerge every once in a while.
Tony is still her partner; he teases her and cares about her well-being, even after she’s lied to him and abused the relationship due to torn loyalties. She pulled her gun on him in anger and pain—and guilt— and he’s still around. Unconditional love and support did not come without a heavy price paid in her family; any failure or weakness left her vulnerable and uncertain of her standing, both in her job and in her relationships.
If we didn’t understand the significance of seeing her swearing in as an American citizen in episode 7.24, we certainly understand the gravity of Ziva’s decision now. Painful longing led her to make such a drastic and permanent move, evident when she said almost desperately yet firmly, as if she’d just defined it in her own mind:
"I want… something… permanent. Something that can’t be taken away. Is that too much to ask?"
I tend to believe this episode was developed for two reasons other than the loving tribute to Kate and NCIS that it was: To give us clarity about where each character is currently, and to begin a healing process of sorts that will launch new personal directions for them all.
I’m looking forward to seeing where the writers take Ziva, and all of the other characters, from here.
* Did anyone else wonder if Ziva recognized Rachel Cranston as Kate’s sister, given the very detailed dossiers she’d compiled for Ari?
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Agree with every statement made here. That sentence was possibly the first time we have really seen Ziva show how...
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I agree with every word of this. Ziva has come to a point where she needs to find her own place in the world. She needs...
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