This week marked the landmark 200th episode of the CBS procedural “NCIS.” The drama is about a team of agents at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. (In one early episode, they’re described as “the Internal Affairs of the Navy.”) Led by Special Agent Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), the team members balance their personal lives with the often-grisly cases they’re working on — with the scales usually tipping in the direction of their careers. “NCIS,” despite being one of the nation’s highest-rated shows, has an older demographic and therefore escaped the pop-cultural obsession that celebrates the likes of “Glee” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
I discovered “NCIS” on a rainy, aimless vacation day, and it has been my secret shame ever since. One of the reasons I’m so attached to the show is Special Agent Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), a former Mossad agent who joined the team in the third season. Despite being unevenly written, Ziva was always compelling: She was tough, fearless and, often, tender. As the layers began to peel away, we learned more about Ziva’s history: Her father, Eli David (Michael Nouri), was the director of Mossad and often placed his work ahead of his family life, even after Ziva’s sister Tali was killed in a Hamas attack. Ziva eventually gave up on repairing her relationship with her father and chose to begin a new life in America, becoming an American citizen and a full member of the “NCIS” team.