Only ET was on the set of NCIS as Cote de Pablo made her big return to the long-running franchise to reprise her beloved character. After departing the series more than five year ago, the actress is back for a two-episode arc that kicked off on Tuesday night.
"I hoped that at some point something like this could happen and it's just so the stars aligned and here I am with this guy," de Pablo told ET's Kevin Frazier before giving co-star Mark Harmon a big, happy hug. "I said give me a really good reason to come back."
Harmon, meanwhile, is also thrilled to have her back, telling ET: "You forget the energy she brought and how special this character is in many ways and how, in so many ways, it completes the show."
Fans are hoping to get a surprise appearance and reunion with Ziva's former love, Anthony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly). But before that, there's one thing she and Harmon must do. While viewers will have to tune in to see how it all plays out on screen, how is de Pablo feeling about once again leaving NCIS?
"It's a different walk away and I'll leave it at that," she expressed. "It’s a beautiful walk away."
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'NCIS' Season 17: Cote de Pablo Returning for More Episodes
Back in September, executive producer Steven D. Binder told ET that "the story needed to be something that merited the return of this character and wasn't just a cheap publicity shot."
"We, as a staff, spent quite a bit of time trying to find a story that fit. We wanted it to be full," he explained. "We wanted to use the show's DNA, something that touched on Cote's entire run on the show -- from the circumstances of her first arriving to things that happened with the character. We wanted to use that as the raw material. We had one final meeting with Cote where we discussed these things and whether it was something that she was interested in, and you know the answer to that."
De Cote also previously told ET in September that she was so grateful and excited to be back, and also hoping for one last scene with Weatherly.
"When Michael and I talk, and we talk very often, we laugh and we say, 'Oh my god, do you think these characters will ever see each other again?' And the answer is always, yes, we're just wondering where and when," she said. "But these are questions you have to ask the writers. You have to ask Michael. It's not just a Cote question, because most of these decisions are not made by me. We're waiting for the proper platform and a nice storyline, and I'm crossing my fingers it happens. We're both open to it and we'll see what happens. It's a matter of schedules and many factors; many things have to be factored in for that equation to actually become real."
See more of de Cote's NCIS return in the video below.