Season 16 of CBS drama NCIS concluded Tuesday night with a surprise appearance by a former member of the cast.
“This surprise moment is just the beginning,” NCIS Showrunners Frank Cardea and Steven D. Binder said in a statement. “We are thrilled to share that Cote de Pablo will guest star in the NCIS Season 17 premiere this fall as Ziva’s warning to Gibbs unfolds.”
To make sure the return remained hush-hush, the scene was never included in the script or call sheet and only the showrunners had copies of the scene.
On the day de Pablo shot the guest-appearance, she arrived via a back gate entrance, and the top-secret scene was filmed with a skeleton crew after the full crew had been wrapped for the day.
As Deadline reported last month, CBS ordered a 17th season of its flagship drama series after NCIS star and executive producer Mark Harmon signed a new agreement with the series’ producer, CBS TV Studios, to continue on the long-running crime procedural.
The drama, which is CBS’ longest-running scripted series currently on the air, has been a ratings powerhouse and solid new show launching pad for CBS as well as a huge profit generator for CBS Studios. It premiered on CBS in 2003.
During the 2009-2010 broadcast season, it became the #1 drama/scripted program on television, and has remained so for eight of the last nine seasons.