NCIS’ Bishop star admits she was ‘intimidated’ by Ziva David ahead of debut

Former NSA Analyst Eleanor ‘Ellie’ Bishop has become one of the most popular new characters in NCIS’s long-running history. However, before Emily Wickersham first joined the wildly popular CBS series in 2013, she found herself being intimidated by the legacy of a certain member of the main cast.

Emily Wickersham has confirmed she felt intimidated by the prospect of filling the shoes of Ziva David (played by Cote de Pablo) when she first joined the show’s 11th season.

Wickersham’s character Eleanor ‘Ellie’ Bishop has since become a firm favourite, but originally joined NCIS for just three episodes in 2013.

She has since become a popular member of the main cast after being promoted to series regular, reprising her role in the ongoing 18th season of the show.

However, before her part on NCIS launched her to success, the star admitted to feeling intimidated when she first started.


Emily Wickersham and Cote de Pablo

NCIS’ Bishop star admits she was ‘intimidated’ by Ziva David ahead of debut (Image: CBS)

Emily Wickersham as Ellie Bishop

NCIS: Emily Wickersham joined the cast in season 11 (Image: CBS)



Following Ziva David’s initial exit at the end of season ten, Wickersham had big shoes to fill when she joined the team in season 11, episode nine, ‘Gut Check’.

She recently reminisced about her introduction to the show when she sat down with her co-star Wilmer Valderrama on Instagram following the show’s milestone 400th episode.

Although her NCIS debut was nerve-wracking, it still went down as one of her most memorable moments on the series since her tenure began.

Wickersham said: “My most memorable was probably my first episode. I was so overwhelmed.”

Emily Wickersham and Wilmer Valderrama

NCIS: Will Bishop and Torres finally get together? (Image: CBS)

Cote de Pablo and Mark Harmon

NCIS: Ziva David made her stunning return in season 17 (Image: CBS)


“Obviously everyone loved Ziva, and I was so intimidated and nervous about what the fans were going to think about my character and all that stuff.”

Thankfully, Wickersham has received almost universal praise for her portrayal of Ellie Bishop, who has since become one of the most resourceful Special Agents on Gibbs’ (Mark Harmon) team.

Moreover, her ongoing flirtations with fellow agent Nick Torres (Vanderrama) have the more romantic NCIS fans tuning in each week to see if the pair ever get together.

Valderrama also assured his co-star she had nothing to fear, insisting Wickersham is still going strong after all these years.



Praising her recent appearances, he said: “Yeah, you know, you’re still swinging.”

The star also realised she had nothing to fear from long-running NCIS star Cote de Pablo when Ziva David made her highly anticipated return in season 17.

During another Instagram Live session, she said: “Cote de Pablo, who was on the show before me, her famous character is Ziva who people really love.

“It was really fun working with Cote. I didn’t think that would happen on the show, so it was a really cool experience.”



“She’s lovely, she’s a great actress. We had a really good time, it was fun.”

While Pablo’s return in 2019 went down a storm with fans, it’s currently unclear whether she’ll be back again in NCIS season 18.

The release of the current instalment is currently unclear following further COVID restrictions in Los Angeles, though fans will be treated to a double bill later this month.

NCIS season 18 returns Tuesday, January 19 on CBS.