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Strange Things About Tony And Ziva's NCIS Relationship

On a show with the longevity of NCIS, running bits and storylines are key to keeping fans engaged. Most will attest that references to Caf-Pow, updating the list of Gibbs' rules, and seeing who is on the office's "most wanted" wall are a big part of what has them still hooked on CBS' crime procedural 17 seasons on. If there is one multi-season thread that captured the hearts of more fans than any other, it's almost certainly the saga of Tiva.

Tiva, the "will they, or won't they?" couple consisting of agents Toni DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), has had fans enthralled since de Pablo joined the show in season 3. In its heyday, the couple attracted an almost Ross-and-Rachel level of attention, and appeared on lists like Entertainment Weekly's "10 'Will They/Won't They' TV Couples." Even now that neither actor is a regular cast member on the show, fans are still holding a candle for an onscreen Tiva reunion.

Now, we know that pobody's nerfect, and even the most idyllic TV power couples have their flaws, but when talking about Tiva, we would be remiss to not mention a few very odd things about their relationship. Even though they ended up together in the end, that doesn't mean the road for this international crime-fighting couple has always been smooth.

In many ways, Tony and Ziva are totally different people

The first and most prominent strange thing about Tony and Ziva's relationship is that those two fell for each other in the first place. On paper, Tony's fratty attitude and class clown demeanor sound like they shouldn't mesh well with Ziva's Israeli military-trained mindset. Then again, sometimes opposites attract.

Still, even if their different approaches to life were the spark that began the slow smolder of their love, those differences also kept their relationship from fully blossoming for many years. When it comes to women, Tony usually comes across as quite eager. While Ziva isn't afraid to flirt back, she rarely lets the situation get away from her, especially in the early seasons.

Considering the two make it work, it appears that those differences ended up making them stronger in the end. After all, even though they come from very different backgrounds, they have more in common than first meets the eye. As Ziva says in the episode "Housekeeping" from season 9, "I'm glad to have someone in my life who is romantically as dysfunctional as I am." Still, it's remarkable that they didn't instantly repel each other in the first place.

The time Tony killed Ziva's boyfriend

Tony and Ziva were able to make their differences work for them, but a few personality picadillos aren't the only stumbling blocks the couple has faced. They've had their fair share of fights and disagreements over the years, as all relationships do. We're going to go out on a limb, however, and say that most couples haven't had to work through one partner killing the other partner's boyfriend.

In season 6, Ziva is dating a Mossad agent named Michael Rivkin (Merik Tadros). Although she and Tony aren't together at the time, it clearly drives her NCIS colleague a bit crazy. Rivkin is a suspicious character for a number of reasons (he killed a US federal agent, which was an accident, but still), but there's some question about exactly what Tony's intentions were when he began a confrontation with the Mossad agent that ended with Tony shooting the man to death. Yes, Tony was acting in self-defense at the moment, but it's hard to not wonder if there wasn't a part of him that was content to remove some competition for Ziva's affection.

Either way, the killing of someone's boyfriend seems like a pretty difficult storm for any relationship to weather. Then again, we suppose Tiva isn't just any relationship.

Tony and Ziva barely have screen time as an actual couple

Hindsight is always 20/20, and in the case of Tiva, thinking back to the golden days of their on-screen relationship is an oxymoron, because they didn't really officially become a couple until they were no longer on the show. In fact, they didn't have their first big romantic kiss until the season 11 episode "Past, Present, and Future". That episode is also notable for being de Pablo's last as a full-time cast member, meaning that just as fans got a taste of what they'd been waiting for, it all got taken away from them.

Of course, that isn't the end of the story of Tiva. Most of what comes next, however, happens in a choppy series of guest appearances and after-the-fact references. Tony finds out that he and Ziva have a daughter together after she "dies" in an explosion. When Ziva returns several seasons later to let Gibbs know that she faked her death, there isn't an on-screen Tiva reunion to be seen. Tony eventually finds out, and the two reunite with their daughter in Paris, but most of it is fully left to the fan's imagination. Despite being one of the most chatted-about relationships on TV for a good number of years, we actually really never see them together as a couple.

NCIS will be coming back for season 18 (via Deadline), so we suppose there's still a chance to see Tiva in action ... or maybe we won't, and we'll discover that the real joy of Tiva has been living with the anticipation for all these years.