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As the season progresses, Ziva seems to have become involved with someone while in Israel but refuses to discuss it.In "Nine Lives", after she plans a visit to Israel, Tony looks through her desk and finds a picture of an unidentified man (Merik Tadros).Those moments they get too close they try to brush themselves off and say 'Oh, that didn't happen.'" Throughout the episode, Tony vigorously defends Ziva's innocence to the FBI, as well as berating any agent who dares question her loyalty when her car is found at a bombing in downtown Georgetown. His romance with Jeanne continues to progress throughout the year, and he remains tight-lipped about it when his colleagues notice the change in his behavior.When questioned about the effects this would have on Tony and Ziva's relationship, de Pablo commented, "Am I just being jealous? I still love him very much, but I've sort of thrown away that possibility because I think he's really struggling with some immense feelings for somebody else." In the Season 4 finale, "Angel of Death", it is made apparent that Tony and Jeanne's relationship was orchestrated by NCIS Director Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly) in hopes of catching Jeanne's father, an arms dealer, though Tony had fallen in love while on assignment.It was also proposed that Ziva would "stop toying with [Tony] completely" which would "drive him even more insane".De Pablo relayed, "We're going to play around with the idea that it could possibly be real love, and see how [he] deals with it." Working independently, he draws ire from the agency when he kills suspects rather than bringing them in for questioning.In the season 13 finale, Ziva is killed by a mortar attack arranged by former CIA Agent Trent Kort, and Tony learns that he and Ziva have a daughter, who she named after her sister, Tali.
In January 2009, some were suggesting possibly making him a relative of Ziva, an idea Cote de Pablo opposed.
Tony, an original character, is portrayed by Michael Weatherly, and Ziva, who first appeared in the third season, is portrayed by Cote de Pablo.
Frequently referred to by the portmanteau "Tiva" (for Tony and Ziva), the characters' flirtation and the idea of them eventually beginning a relationship became a subject of interest among viewers, and by 2010, TV Guide reported that "many fans have become obsessed with the romantic tension between Weatherly's character and co-worker Ziva".
Focus and media coverage on the pair escalated over the years, particularly after NCIS became the most watched television series in America during its tenth season.
The characters were initially scripted as having a "cat and mouse" relationship, Ziva's trust issues, a series of other love interests, and Ziva being taken captive and presumed dead between Seasons 6 and 7.