Taken at face value, the Feb. 12 episode of CBS’ NCIS not only confirmed that Ziva David is alive, it also established that she returned to D.C. to bring a very specific form of closure to a case.
But is she? And did she?
Some fans have speculated that parts of the episode were misdirects — namely, the note that was left for Bishop, on the desk inside Ziva’s secret office in the suburbs. Was that request to keep her secret/family safe from Ziva herself, or was it written by Gibbs?
Here is what we know for sure:
WHO HAD POSSESSION OF THE LETTER that kidnapping victim Morgan’s mother dictated to Ziva years ago, and was written down inside a journal? Bishop is the one who discovered that journal (along with dozens of others) in Ziva’s secret office. And later she was waving it at Gibbs when she revealed that there was a letter, on the last page, that Ziva intended to read to the kidnapper once he was caught. At the end of their heated exchange, Gibbs snapped the journal from Bishop before walking away.
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Later, after the kidnapper was caught and Morgan rescued, Gibbs is seen reading to Bishop from the first page of that journal, before handing it back to her with the charge: “Do what you have to do.”
Bishop goes to confront the hospitalized kidnapper, but he cuts her off saying that the letter was already read to him by a woman who promised to haunt his dreams. He points to a sheet of paper at his bedside, and Bishop realizes it is the letter, torn from the journal she is holding.
That brings us to the two big questions: WHO TORE OUT THE LETTER, and DID ZIVA HERSELF IN FACT READ IT to the kidnapper?
To answer the second question first, it had to be Ziva who read it. There is no other plausible explanation or motivation for who else it could have been. Even if Gibbs already believed Ziva to be alive — which his outburst about Bishop’s desk doesn’t seem to suggest — what, he would risked spreading the secret by recruiting someone (Sloane?) to read it to the kidnapper? Even so, to what end?
No, the hospital visitor had to be Ziva. And that, among other things, confirms — as hinted in DiNozzo’s good-bye episode — that Ziva did cheat death years ago and has been in hiding. Which we all knew, amiright?
We now come to the part of fan theory that suggests Gibbs, not Ziva, wrote the note for Bishop to find in the cabin. But nope, I am not buying it. For one, at the time Gibbs gave the journal back to Bishop, we now know the page had already been torn out, which she discovered upon racing straight to the hospital. Why would Gibbs invite her to “do what you have to do” if he knew the letter is missing? Which she could have discovered on the spot if she turned to that page right away?
No, I believe that Ziva herself — in true ninja fashion — covertly ripped out the page while the journal was in Gibbs’ possession. She then slipped into the hospital, ninja-like, and read the letter to the kidnapper as she always intended, after leaving the note for Bishop to eventually find.
The “Please keep my secret….” note was definitely written by Ziva. The handwriting doesn’t match that of Gibbs’ Rule 10 (the capital Es and Ps are different), while elements of the note match up with the handwriting in Ziva’s journal (look at the capital F and the connected double-Es). Considering the fact that these props were prepped at the same time, they would have been sure to maintain consistency where needed, as well as where not.
(A fun fact that shouldn’t deviate us from our detecting: Rule 10 actually appears to be typed using a font; every repeating letter perfectly matches itself. Just look at the capital Rs and Vs. Yes, I spent too much time with this screen grab. I am lonely.)
* Bishop discovered Ziva’s secret office (the existence of which is a continuity question we can argue another time), then proceeded to close the cold case.
* When Bishop went to read the letter from the victim’s mother to the kidnapper, it had already been torn out (by Ziva) and read to the guy (by Ziva).
* Realizing that Bishop would now have questions, Ziva left the cabin unlocked, with a note asking the agent to protect her secret and thus her family.
In the words of my cousin Vinny, does my case hold water?