Cote de Pablo

María José de Pablo Fernández,[1] known professionally as Cote de Pablo (born November 12, 1979), is a Chilean-American actress and singer. Born in Santiago, Chile, at the age of ten she moved to the United States, where she studied acting.

Cote de Pablo
Cote de Pablo retouch.jpg
De Pablo at the 2011 ALMA Awards
María José de Pablo Fernández

(1979-11-12) November 12, 1979 (age 41)
Santiago, Chile
EducationCarnegie Mellon University (BFA)
Years active1994–present
Known forZiva David on NCIS

De Pablo co-hosted episodes of the Latin-American talk show Control with former Entertainment Tonight host, Carlos Ponce, at the age of 15 before attending Carnegie Mellon University to study music and theatre. After appearing in a number of television roles, she was cast to portray main character Ziva David in the CBS television series NCIS in 2005 and won an ALMA Award for the role in 2011.

She performed a portion of Tom Waits' song "Temptation" for a 2008 episode of NCIS. Outside the series, she has sung on Roberto Pitre's Vivo En Vida CD.[2]

Early lifeEdit

De Pablo was born in Santiago, Chile, to Francisco de Pablo and María Olga Fernández.[2][3] She has a younger sister,[4] Andrea, and a brother, Francisco, who works as a DJ.[5] When de Pablo was 10 years old, her mother, María Olga Fernández, took a job in Miami, Florida at a Spanish-language television network. While there, de Pablo attended Arvida Middle School and New World School of the Arts, where she studied musical theatre. In the fifth grade, she found many people could not pronounce her first name of "María José", so she asked them to call her "Coté", a common Chilean nickname for María José.[6] De Pablo attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she studied music and theater and appeared in several plays, including And the World Goes 'Round, The House of Bernarda Alba, Indiscretions, The Fantasticks, and A Little Night Music. She graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater.[7]

Acting careerEdit

Early rolesEdit

De Pablo began working in the entertainment industry at age 15, when she hosted some episodes of the talk show Control (1994–95) on Univision, alongside former Entertainment Tonight host Carlos Ponce.[8]

After graduation, she moved to New York City to find work as an actress, working as a waitress in an Indian restaurant in Manhattan and an Italian eatery in Brooklyn to support herself. In 2000, she had roles in Fox's The $treet and the CBS-drama The Education of Max Bickford.[9] She picked up parts in the New York City Public Theater, on the TV show All My Children, and in commercials. De Pablo played the role of Marguerite Cisneros in The Jury (broadcast on the Fox Network). The show was short-lived, screening only 10 one-hour episodes. In 2005, De Pablo was about to make her Broadway debut in The Mambo Kings[10] as Dolores Fuentes, but the show closed after a short trial run in San Francisco.[4]


Cote de Pablo in 2007

De Pablo is primarily known for her portrayal of Ziva David, an Israeli Mossad officer turned NCIS agent, in the police procedural drama NCIS. She had submitted a videotape audition while waiting for The Mambo Kings to move forward and was asked to fly to Los Angeles for a screen test two days after it was canceled.[4][11] Network executives arranged for her to act alongside series regular Michael Weatherly to test for chemistry during her second audition; he went off script by brushing her hair back and commenting, "You remind me of Salma Hayek".

De Pablo's response to Weatherly was to stay in character and she "dismissed him completely". Afterward, producer Donald Bellisario met with her as she was waiting for a cab to take her back to the airport, telling her she had landed the part.[11][12]

De Pablo described the character as "someone completely different from anyone else on the show because she's been around men all her life; she's used to men of authority. She's not afraid of men."[13]

In 2006, she won an Imagen Award at the Imagen Foundation Awards for Best Supporting Actress in Television for NCIS. In 2008 and 2009, she was nominated for the same award. Also in 2008 and 2009, she was nominated for an ALMA Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Television Series. In 2011, de Pablo was nominated once again for an Imagen Award, but this time it was for Best Actress in Television, not Supporting Actress. She won the 2011 ALMA Award for Favorite Television Actress—Leading Role in Drama.[14]

On July 10, 2013, it was reported by CBS that de Pablo would be leaving NCIS for undisclosed reasons, although she remained long enough to conclude her character Ziva David's storyline at the beginning of season 11.[15]

De Pablo later told Cindy Elavsky that Ziva could come back because she did not die.[16] However, in the season 13 finale of the series, it was stated that her character had apparently died in an explosion in Israel.[17]

Three years later in 2019, season 16 episode 'She', revealed that Ziva is alive and has gone into hiding off-screen. De Pablo made a surprise unannounced return to the show in the last scene of the season 16 finale, which aired on May 21, 2019, in which Ziva arrives at Gibbs’ basement to warn him that his life is in danger. Producers confirmed that de Pablo would appear in the first two episodes of the show's 17th season and then in the season's tenth and eleventh episodes as part of her storyline.

After NCISEdit

In January 2014, de Pablo was announced to have been cast in the film The 33, about the 2010 Copiapó mining accident, as the wife of one of the miners.[18] She was also cast in the 2015 CBS miniseries, titled The Dovekeepers, based on the Alice Hoffman novel.[19] In March 2016, Deadline Hollywood reported de Pablo is slated to return to series television as Laura Kale in Syfy's thriller-drama, Prototype, pending negotiations.[20] In April 2016, TVLine columnist Matt Mitovich confirmed de Pablo's return to series television.[21] The show was to feature "three unlikely colleagues—two of them played by de Pablo and Jack Davenport—who inadvertently stumble upon an invention that challenges the very nature of quantum physics—a discovery which in turn puts their lives in grave danger."[22] In August 2016, Deadline reported that Syfy passed on the show.[23]

On August 28, 2018 Deadline announced that de Pablo and former NCIS castmate, Michael Weatherly, would be the executive producers of the upcoming CBS detective drama MIA, written by Shepard Boucher.[24]


De Pablo performed a portion of Tom Waits' song "Temptation" on the NCIS episode "Last Man Standing", which first aired in the U.S. on September 23, 2008. Her full performance of the song, including some lyrics in French, appears for the first time on NCIS: The Official TV Soundtrack, which was released on February 10, 2009.

She is the singer in Roberto Pitre's Vivo en vida where she sings "Samba in Prelude" and "Cry Me a River".[25] De Pablo was also featured on The 33's official soundtrack, singing "Gracias a la Vida".[26]

Personal lifeEdit

De Pablo was in a long-term relationship with actor Diego Serrano,[27] but they were reported to have separated in June 2015.[28]


Film and television roles
Year Title Role Notes
1994–1995 Control Co-host Latin-American magazine show
2000 The $treet Fiona Episode: "Hostile Makeover"
2001 The Education of Max Bickford Gina Episode: "Do It Yourself"
2004 The Jury Marguerite Cisneros 10 episodes
NCIS Ziva David Guest role (season 3, 16)
Main role (season 3season 11)
Recurring role (season 17); 194 episodes
2010 The Last Rites of Ransom Pride Bruja
2015 The 33 Jessica Vega
2015 The Dovekeepers Shirah Miniseries
2016 Prototype Laura Kale TV movie
2019 Seneca Celeste
2019 MIA Producer[29] TV Series
Video game
Year Title Voice role Notes
2002 TOCA Race Driver Melanie Sanchez

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
2006 Imagen Awards Best Supporting Actress in Television NCIS Won [2][30]
2008 Nominated [31]
ALMA Awards Outstanding Actress in a Drama Television Series Nominated [2][32]
2009 Nominated [33][34]
Imagen Awards Best Supporting Actress in Television Nominated [35]
2011 Best Actress in Television Nominated [36]
ALMA Awards Favorite Television Actress—Leading Role in a Drama Won [37]
2012 Favorite TV Actress-Drama Nominated [38]
2016 Imagen Awards Best Supporting Actress - Feature Film The 33 Won [39]
2020 Best Supporting Actress in Television NCIS Nominated [40]


  1. ^ "Cote de Pablo biography". A+E Networks. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "CBS bio". Archived from the original on November 1, 2008. Retrieved October 30, 2008.
  3. ^ Lee Hernandez (November 4, 2010). "EXCLUSIVE: Cote de Pablo on the Chilean Miners Rescue: "In That Moment, I Felt Proud to be Chilean"". Latina. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Ximena Urrejola (October 6, 2009). "Detalle noticia". (in Spanish). Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  5. ^ Jacqueline Neiss (October 1, 2007). "NCIS's Cote de Pablo visits Israel". OK!. p. 72. Archived from the original on July 22, 2010. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  6. ^ Lee Hernandez (February 10, 2009). "'NCIS' Star Cote de Pablo, on the Pleasures of Kicking Men's Behinds on TV". Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  7. ^ "Cote de Pablo: Biography". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  8. ^ "Cote de Pablo". BuddyTV. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  9. ^ Lisabeth, Zach (July 29, 2020). "Ziva From NCIS Looked Much Different When She Was Younger". Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  10. ^ Tugend, Tom (March 15, 2007). "'NCIS' Mossad agent's cover gets blown—she's Chilean". Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  11. ^ a b Owen, Rob. "Prime Time – Carnegie Mellon Today". Archived from the original on May 9, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
  12. ^ Marsi, Steve (October 29, 2009). "Cote de Pablo Dishes on NCIS' Ziva and Tony". tvguide,com. Archived from the original on September 26, 2011. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
  13. ^ Mason, Dave, "De Pablo adds spice to 'NCIS'", The San Diego Union-Tribune, January 3, 2006. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  14. ^ (November 12, 1979). "Cote de Pablo Biography". Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  15. ^ Gonzalez, Sandra. "Cote de Pablo leaving 'NCIS'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  16. ^ Elavsky, Cindy (January 19, 2014). "Celebrity Extra". King Features. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  17. ^ Evans, Greg (May 17, 2016). "Michael Weatherly's 'NCIS' Finale Finally Answers The Ziva Question". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  18. ^ "Former 'NCIS' Star Cote De Pablo Joins Chilean Miner Movie 'The 33'". Deadline Hollywood. January 10, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  19. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (July 16, 2014). "Cote de Pablo to Star in CBS's Upcoming Miniseries The Dovekeepers" (Press release). TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on July 19, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  20. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "Cote de Pablo Poised To Star in Syfy Pilot 'Prototype'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  21. ^ "Matt's Inside Line: Scoop on Grey's, Bones, Flash, Grimm, Arrow and More!". TVLine. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  22. ^ Petski, Denise. "JR Bourne & Toby Hemingway Join Syfy Pilot 'Prototype'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  23. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (August 1, 2016). "'Prototype' Sci-Fi Thriller Drama Pilot Not Going Forward At Syfy, Being Shopped". Deadline. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  24. ^ Petski, Denise (August 28, 2018). "Michael Weatherly & Cote de Pablo Reteam To Produce 'MIA' Detective Drama at CBS". Deadline Hollywood.
  25. ^ Kott, Crispin. "CD Reviews". Roll Publishing. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  26. ^ James Horner (November 6, 2015), The 33, WaterTower Music, retrieved April 8, 2016
  27. ^ Nudd, Tim (November 29, 2010). "NCIS's Cote de Pablo Loves Her Boyfriend for Being a Bad Influence". People. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
  28. ^ Palacios, Paula (June 4, 2015). "Cote de Pablo: 'Yo soy el sueño americano'". Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2015. Recién soltera tras varios años de relación con el actor ecuatoriano Diego Serrano
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Imagen Foundation Awards 2006". August 18, 2006. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  31. ^ "2008 Nominees". Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  32. ^ "2008 NCLR ALMA AWARDS" (PDF). Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  33. ^ Robertson, Willa (August 25, 2009). "Alma Awards announce nominations". Variety. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  34. ^ "2009 NCLR ALMA AWARDS" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 13, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  35. ^ "Imagen Awards 2009 Nominations & Winners". Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  36. ^ "Imagen Awards 2011 Nominees". Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  37. ^ Cubria, Kaitlin (July 28, 2011). "Cubria, Kaitlin (July 28, 2011). "BIG Competition: Selena, Demi, Victoria and Naya Go Head-to-Head at the ALMA Awards."". Archived from the original on January 19, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  38. ^ "2012 NCLR ALMA AWARDS" (PDF). Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  39. ^ "Imagen Foundation Awards 2016". September 9, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  40. ^ "Nominations Announced for the 35th Annual Imagen Awards". August 5, 2020. Retrieved October 11, 2020.

External linksEdit