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The Unexpected Fear That NCIS Star Cote De Pablo Has In Real Life

It can be difficult to separate the artist from the art. Movies, television, and theater are designed to draw the viewer in, creating an illusory reality which, when constructed the right way, seems to blend into the real world. It's a reciprocal relationship, of course, in which the audience is expected to suspend disbelief in the inherent falsity of that which they're witnessing. This paper-thin wall between fantasy and fact makes it easy to forget that performers are not the people they portray. And that, in a nutshell, is how Harry Houdini died. On the less macabre end of the spectrum, we get performers whose personalities contrast wildly with the make-believe folks that they pretend to be for a living. Sesame Street performer Carroll Spinney, for example, was notably neither an eight-foot-tall bird nor a monster who lived in a trashcan; the cast members of Scrubs would be uniformly bad at performing surgery; and the detectives of NCIS are largely ill-equipped to pursue the Navy's dastardly criminal element.

Speaking to the last theme, take Cote de Pablo, the performer who's played Ziva David on the program, on-and-off, for the better part of two decades. On screen, she's a pillar of confidence in a tight situation, keeping an unblinking bead on any no-good-nik with the gumption to scoff at maritime law. But, during a CBS This Morning interview, she expressed a very real phobia that would stand in the way of her ever joining the real-life ranks of law enforcement.

Cote de Pablo would much rather not shoot anyone, thank you

Flying in the face of her many years gunning down on-screen villainy on NCIS, it turns out that Cote de Pablo really, really doesn't like guns. Like, at all. She said as much, speaking with Gayle King in an interview on the subject of de Pablo's work on the show. De Pablo described her first day at the shooting range, preparing for the years of primetime marksmanship that would follow. "They gave me the gun," she recounted, "you know, and they said 'you're gonna hold the gun and blah blah blah,' and I thought 'oh God,' you know? 'Be very strong, because you don't want to show them that you're weak.' So I held that gun, and I remember holding the gun and just trembling."

The actress, who would go on to win ALMA and Imagen awards for her portrayal of Ziva David, isn't alone in her discomfort. Other performers who have expressed trepidation about the use of prop firearms at work include James Bond actor Roger Moore, who would unintentionally blink any time he fired 007's Walther PPK after a firearm accident in his youth led to a rifle "blowing up in his hands," according to his memoir, My Word Is My Bond. Meanwhile, it remains uncertain whether or not David McCallum, who plays medical examiner Ducky on NCIS, is actually comfortable slicing open the bodies of the recently deceased.