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Why Some NCIS Fans Don't Think Ziva Is A Trustworthy Character

Of all the investigators on "NCIS," Special Agent Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) remains one of the most beloved. A dedicated investigator, a former member of Mossad, a capable fighter, and a person with dogged tenacity, she became a fan-favorite character for the duration of her tenure on the show. She remained with the team until the end of the series' 10th season, her experiences leaving her emotionally scarred and with a desire to live her life in Israel away from the team and off the grid. She remains a popular character on the series, however, and the hope remains that she might one day return to the NCIS fold.

However, for all of her popularity, there is a contingent of fans online who have to question Gibbs' (Mark Harmon) decision to invite her onto the team. In fact, they have to wonder just how the team could possibly trust her, given her rather nebulous background.

A decidedly shady past

In a Reddit post, u/azulamazing makes it clear that the mere circumstances of Ziva David's background make her decidedly difficult to fully trust. "Why on earth would you ever trust her after so many deeply suspicious things?" they wrote. "Trust is so hard to build and she has shattered it about a hundred times over. There is no way in hell that anybody would give her top secret security clearance, and she's not an American citizen, so she has no bureaucratic reason to be let in on cases anyway, even putting aside what people would think of her. The system would not allow her to be on the team."

From her introduction, Ziva appeared anything but trustworthy. It's clear she faced an uphill climb in earning Gibbs' trust, given how she had been the handler of the terrorist who killed beloved team member Kate Reed (Sasha Alexander); it didn't help that said terrorist was, in fact, her own brother, Ari Haswari (Rudolf Martin). There was also her involvement with Michael Rivkin (Merlik Tadros) a Mossad agent and former partner of hers who engaged in illicit activities during his time in America, working to eliminate members of a terrorist cell in Los Angeles. While Ziva proved her loyalty by killing her corrupt brother and was revealed to have no involvement with Rivkin's mission, it's easy to understand why she could be seen to be at best a horrendous judge of character, or at worst a liability.

The question of trust

In the same Reddit post, u/sephstorm wrote, "I don't think she was ordered to kill Ari, if not then logically she is acting based on her ethics. That shows that at the least she has her moral compass pointed in the right direction."

Ari's activities as a mole within Al-Qaeda had corrupted him, to the point that he was so far gone he threatened Gibbs in his own home, and left Ziva no choice but to shoot him. That action inspired Gibbs to extend his trust to her and bring her onto the team, where she served with distinction as the NCIS liaison to Mossad. However, it can't be denied that the circumstances of her recruitment, the consequences of her choices, and her reticence to discuss her past healthily with her colleagues contributed to making her a polarizing figure among fans. In the end, despite her background and occasionally questionable decisions, Ziva David proved a capable member of the NCIS team and one who continues to generate discussion to this day.