NCIS star Cote de Pablo reveals her true feelings about Mark Harmon and says he’s father figure

One of the characters that significantly contributed to the popularity of NCIS is undoubtedly the intelligent and tough detective Ziva David, portrayed by the talented Cote de Pablo.

Cote de Pablo, born as María José de Pablo Fernández on November 12, 1979, in Santiago, Chile, has an interesting backstory. Her family moved to Miami, Florida, when she was just 10 years old. Relocating was a challenge for Cote, who had to adapt to a new language and make new friends. During her school years, she made the decision to go by the name “Cote” because her classmates found it difficult to correctly pronounce her birth name.

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Over time, Cote de Pablo found her place under the American sky. She recounted her journey, saying, “I was raised here, and I found my niche because I went to a performing arts high school. I had always been interested in the arts, but performing became even more important because it was a way to communicate with people in my new country.” Cote shared that it wasn’t until she arrived in the United States that she learned to speak English.

Those formative years in the United States had a profound impact on her. She described herself as somewhat of a “hippie” at heart, despite her traditional and conservative upbringing. Cote explained, “I come from a traditional, conservative world. But this kind of hippie world at school allowed me to explore the creativity and imagination that live inside all of us.” She inherited her love for the arts from her mother, who worked for Telemundo, a Spanish-speaking television channel.

At the age of 15, Cote co-hosted episodes of the Latin-American talk show “Control” with former Entertainment Tonight host Carlos Ponce. She continued her education at Carnegie Mellon University, studying music and theater.

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Her career path included appearances in commercials and various television series, including “All My Children” and “Fling.” Cote’s breakthrough came when she was cast as Ziva David on NCIS from 2005 to 2013. She later made short returns to the show but didn’t come back as a regular.

Cote found common ground with her character, Ziva, stating, “My character’s strength is like mine, to a completely different degree. Losing family members because of a war, I have moments when I just have to hold my heart.” She acknowledged that Ziva had to keep it together, even in difficult circumstances, which was the world she grew up in.

During her time on NCIS, Cote developed strong bonds with her co-stars, particularly Mark Harmon. Their connection was special, and Cote described Harmon as a friend and mentor, even a father figure. She emphasized the value of their enduring friendship, saying, “A foundation that is solid… really heavy-duty things can happen, and then all of a sudden you’re back, and you can pick up right where you left off.”

Cote’s decision to leave NCIS was motivated by her respect for her character. While it was a significant move in her career, she went on to take on other notable projects, including roles in “The 33,” “Prototype,” and “Seneca.”

Cote, who is now 42, has not been married. When discussing her future partner, she expressed a desire for open and vulnerable conversations and the joy of shared laughter. She believed that when the time is right, love and companionship will naturally find their way into her life.

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