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The Sad Ziva Detail You Never Noticed In NCIS

In general, "NCIS" is not the kind of show that carries plot lines over from week to week. The show is a crime procedural and, as such, there's typically a new case each week that the team has to solve. While stories may not carry over through successive episodes, certain character details must remain constant. These details are subtle reminders of how the show's central players have been changed by the things they've gone through and they reinforce the idea that, while the team is always taking new cases, the characters don't forget all the things they've been through together. 

For Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), one case in particular had a lasting impact on her wardrobe. The case, which was central in the Season 4 episode "Dead Man Walking," featured a Navy lieutenant named Roy Sanders (Matthew Marsden) who came to the NCIS team with a simple request: solve his murder. The Navy lieutenant doesn't survive the episode, but before he dies, he forms a bond with Ziva.

Ziva wears Roy's beanie after his death

After Roy Sanders' death in "Dead Man Walking," Ziva David wears his beanie in subsequent episodes. Roy and Ziva formed a close bond over the course of the episode, in part because Ziva already recognized him but for a while couldn't figure out why. Eventually, she realized that she'd seen him running and the two bond over their similar parents and life experiences. The NCIS is ultimately able to solve Roy's murder, but not before he succumbs to the plutonium poisoning he already knew would kill him. 

It's a devastating episode, in part because Roy had quickly established himself as a likable character and as someone with whom Ziva had a real connection. The fact that Ziva continues to wear his orange beanie following his death speaks to that connection and to the fact that although the NCIS team has moved on to other cases, the show's characters still remember the cases that had the biggest impact on them. That orange beanie became a regular part of Ziva's identity, and although it's a subtle detail, it's one that fans on Reddit noticed and appreciated for what it represented. "NCIS" characters have their own histories, even if they're not always explicitly acknowledged.