It began with a simple question from our fearless leader, Gary Glasberg: What new story could we tell that would bring Ziva David and Abby Sciuto together on a case? These two powerful women, as portrayed beautifully by Cote De Pablo and Pauley Perrette, are great friends and fierce allies, but rarely do they get the opportunity to collaborate on the job. After much discussion, and a few false starts, we decided that the best way to bring them together was through a common cause. And that cause became the welfare of a young teenage girl, who's both mourning the death of her hero father and praying for the return of her missing best friend.
It's every parent's worst nightmare: The abduction of a child. Perhaps the most difficult part of writing the teleplay was imagining the dark places and fading hopes forced upon two helpless parents faced with the unthinkable. Guest actors Blake Robbins and Jenny Cooper were pitch perfect as our desperate parents of our kidnapped girl, played with delicate innocence by Madison McLaughlin. And Kirsten Prout proved to be a revelation as young Lydia, a Navy daughter dealing with an unspeakable loss and the guilt of having survived the same fate as her friend. Through the remarkable talent, warmth and collaborative skills of Cote and Pauley, as well as our great team captain Mark Harmon, Kirsten was able to bring just the right amount of heart to a difficult role. Our entire guest cast was stellar, but getting the chance to work with Alex Kingston as Miranda Pennebaker was a rare treat. She and Mark made their scenes spring to life as though they'd worked together for years.
Big thanks as always to the incomparable Michael Weatherly, David McCallum and Sean Murray, and to the great James Whitmore, Jr. for his expert direction. David Cook and Jon Poirier were geniuses in the editing bay, and needless to say, nothing gets done well without Mark Horowitz, Charles Floyd Johnson, Mark Schilz and the hands-down best crew in show business. Coming to work each day and getting to collaborate with the best in the business makes me feel fortunate beyond measure.
Lastly, thanks to the best fan base in television. Your support means the world to all of us.