One of the great things about "NCIS" has been its diversity in talent in its characters; and sometimes that diversity has shown us some measure of comic quirkiness, which has given us some great moments to enjoy in this show. In this blog we shall observe, and at the same time give homage to two of the series' most memorable characters: Abby Sciuto and Ziva David. Or as some may call them, the "Daughters of Leroy Jethro Gibbs". Yeah, that's one daddy you don't want to piss off! Two completely different women, and yet, with similar traits and objectives. (One of which is they're being Gibbs' favorite "kids", as he once loosely put it.) But for now, let's do some reviewing on both characters.
She is the resident goth version of the "Mistress of the Dark", the forensic vampire of our time, and she goes by the name of Abby Sciuto! Abby is the only female character on "NCIS" who's been on the show from the beginning. Abby is also the favorite of her boss, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Abby loves heavy metal when she works, and she is a devoted, if not overzealous, practitioner of forensic science. Abby has a great sense of humor that she shares with everybody, from coworkers to lost puppies(this I have no doubt!), and she can't help but be warm to everyone she knows and meets. She's like Disney's "Pollyanna" this way, only not as annoying. Abby has a very real job, the kind of which Pollyanna could never do or exist in a way to be able to do it.
One of the funny things about Abby's character is her wardrobe, which obviously includes her shoes and platform boots, as we can see on almost any given episode! If there's a pair of Paul Stanley's KISS boots that have gone astray, chances are Abby might well know where they are. hahaha! Abby prefers to work alone, and with good reason, seeing as how her last lab assistant framed DiNozzo for murder and then tried to go after her. Yeah, good luck with that, idiot! Abby can kick some booty when she actually has to!
To call Ziva David sloppy at anything would be a potential death sentence to ungrateful infidels who don't know her. She is also the second favorite of Gibbs' women, who in an honest and direct way is "a second daughter" to Gibbs. She is the seductive yet lethal spy who never second-guesses anything, and rarely is surprised by anything. Her feelings were always in check, but sometimes found herself being caught off-guard by unexpected moments. Ziva came to NCIS at the start of Season 3, when she hoped to keep Gibbs from killing her half-brother Ari Haswari. But once she proved herself to him(by killing Ari herself), Gibbs had no hesitation in trusting her. But a question might be, even if she hadn't killed him, would Gibbs still have trusted her? But since the deceased Director Jenny Shepard personally vouched for her, it was a good enough decision for him to accept. But Ziva's loyalty to Gibbs became more than just something between co-workers. She truly came to see him as more of a father than her own, the mysterious and not-exactly-trustworthy Eli David. Ziva and Eli remained estranged throughout the later part of their relationship. And it stands to reason that she loved Gibbs, although never in anything more than a surrogate father-daughter relationship.
There are also aspects between Gibbs and Ziva to be considered; both are battle-tested and proven, as well as extremely skilled at different forms of combat and infiltration. In this very direct way, the two of them are closer than Gibbs and Abby, but only because of this particular skill set they share. And both have ghosts in their pasts that they honestly regret.
Ziva is a fascinating character, who is built up in something of a maze of characteristics. She's openly Jewish and Israeli, and yet she's openly a 21st Century woman. She doesn't ask or tolerate the idea of a man opening a door for her, and yet she puts up with it when working with people like "Very" Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. hahaha! She dresses conservatively sometimes(jeans,t-shirt and loose sweater), other times she's dressed like she's on a mission(dark clothes hiding everything except her face and hair). She's also a fan of the Three Stooges, as she stated in one episode. But at the same time she's also very sexual, whether she's dressing provocatively in those hot low-riding hip-huggers(which she seems to be the only one who can make them work! And does she! Hubba hubba!!!) or if she's wearing a slightly lose-fitting pant suit, which is actually more of a skirt and hot blouse. Dammit, I'm wanting to watch Season 6 again! *purrrrr*) The bottom line is this: nobody exudes sex on tv the way Ziva does, with the respectable nod to the late Jenny Shepard, who was able to do it with a tight-fitting gray blouse in a few episodes. (I need a shower! Mayday! SOS! 91--Oh, forget it! You know what I'm saying!) Who were we talking about again?
There is one thing that can't be denied about these two; there is some unspoken rivalry between them for Gibbs' affections and approval, which he gives to both, but each one wants to be THE FAVORITE with him. It is actually pretty funny, although it's not the kind of thing that ought to be taken seriously. Aside from this both women were very serious about their jobs and how to best appease the mighty Gibbs by giving him what he expects out of both: their best efforts (as investigators! What did you think I was talking about? Pervs!) Neither one of them would pass up a chance to help somebody in crisis, whether it was a total stranger or someone who worked for, well, whoever. That's not the way these chicks work! Both are great, compassionate people, and great role models for other tv characters to work on being closer to. And exactly how is this meant to be taken, you might ask?
For one thing, it's like every show NOW has its own Abby in some context, or for that matter, its own Ziva, although no show has really come up with an accurate copy of either one. And here's a fact that can't be ignored, BOTH characters are fan favorites! It stands to reason that Kate Todd was, as well, but NCIS didn't enjoy the kind of ratings with her as much as it did when Ziva became part of the show. Even though Abby has tons of geek/computer nerd/lab tech skills, she wasn't an agent in the field as Ziva was. And sadly, NCIS has yet to see as much success (realistically!) since Ziva left the show. She and DiNozzo's working relationship was one of the most popular on tv, which rivaled the legendary love/hate relationship of Luke and Laura on "General Hospital" for SO MANY years!
Another thing to consider is the impact of BOTH of these characters on their fans! Abby's look has become such a major thing in the world with its fans that it actually started its own thing; young girls anywhere from nine years old and up dress up like Abby, all the way to the pigtails and makeup and the tats. And they are fervent about it, there's no such thing as just "putting on a show" for anybody, these people are serious. But hopefully they also take certain ideas to heart; being mostly the fact that Abby Sciuto is a good person who wouldn't do anything to hurt anyone unless they're trying to hurt her, and she's not anybody's fool. And I'm sure that Pauley Perrette would want her fans to remember the important things in their lives, not the things that tv has decided is important.
Ziva is also another character who's changed things in tv; before NCIS very rarely on tv was the idea of a character coming from a politically volatile atmosphere like Israel not thought of as a bad guy(or woman). With Ziva a door has been opened for more characters to emerge from different places and lifestyles to make themselves known. It might still be true that there are bad guys from different countries, but it's not true of everybody, and it's something that needs to be kept in mind. You can't simply say that a country overseas is bad, but you CAN say that there are bad elements in every country, and that goes for everywhere, unfortunately. Hopefully we can see Cote de Pablo return to tv someday in a series, but we may have to wait a while, which is ok. The fans will still be there, obviously. And hopefully, politics can finally take a back seat to other, more hopeful things. It's an idea. :)