Michael Rivkin (מיכאל ריבקין) was a corrupt Mossad Officer who worked in the Kidon unit of the Israeli agency and who was also Ziva David's former boyfriend and partner up until his death in May 2009.
NCIS Season 6
Michael Rivkin made his debut appearance in the Season 6 premiere episode, Last Man Standing (episode), where he and Ziva conducted an undercover operation in Morocco. Their objective was to catch a mole within NCIS and to stop corrupt Naval officers from selling secrets to terrorists. The operation ultimately ended in disaster when the target whom Rivkin and Ziva sought died in a bomb blast in a bar that left Ziva injured and unconscious for a short time.
Throughout Season 6, NCIS Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, Ziva's partner, became curious about who Ziva was talking to. While snooping at her desk in the episode Nine Lives (episode), he discovered a photo of Rivkin (Tony was unaware of Rivkin's true identity at the time).
In Legend Part 1 (episode) and Legend Part 2 (episode), the episodes which served as a spin-off for NCIS: Los Angeles, Rivkin returned to the United States. On the orders of Eli David, Director of Mossad and Ziva's father, Rivkin headed to Los Angeles where he began targeting and killing the members of a terrorist cell based in the city. This also happened to be the same terrorist cell that the NCIS Major Case Response Team and their Los Angeles counterparts, the Office of Special Projects, were after.
Hoping to avoid causing a major international incident with the news that he was a foreign agent, Rivkin posed as an Israeli banker. His real objective was to infiltrate an offshore cell and recover information of his whereabouts while killing the cell's agents in the process, preventing the agents from tracking down Mossad and exacting revenge - which ultimately caused problems for NCIS.
Rivkin's mission fell into jeopardy when in Legend Part 2 (episode) both NCIS Special Agents Lara Macy and Leroy Jethro Gibbs recognized him, forcing Macy to speak to Rivkin and order the Mossad agent to leave the country as it is against the law for foreign intelligence operatives to be on American soil.
Despite the threat, Rivkin refused and carried on with his mission.
Back in Washington, D.C., Forensic Scientist Abigail Sciuto uncovered Rivkin's true identity after running his photo through AFIS. However, DiNozzo, wanting to investigate Rivkin himself and not wanting to spook Ziva, ordered Abby to keep the information secret much to Abby's dismay. Eventually the OSP team learned of Rivkin's identity and true motives for coming to Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles, Macy contacted NCIS Director Leon Vance to get a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA warrant which they could use to arrest Rivkin.
The order finally came through with Macy ordering Gibbs and fellow NCIS Special Agent Mike Renko to get Rivkin.
Unfortunately, the two agents were too late. By the time they arrived at an apartment, they found not only that Rivkin had already left but there was the body of another terrorist. Despite the setback, the OSP team successfully executed a raid on an auto-shop where the main terrorist cell was based and they arrested the main man.
Gibbs, on the other hand, personally confronted Rivkin with Gibbs himself ordering Rivkin to leave the country.
Despite this, Gibbs chose not to arrest Rivkin and instead let him go but not before warning Rivkin to stay away from Ziva, with Gibbs even going so far as to say that Ziva worked for him.
A while later, Abby revealed that Rivkin had left Los Angeles, his destination Tel Aviv with a stopover in D.C. The last scene in "Legend Part Two" showed him in bed, fast asleep with Ziva looking on, suggesting that they had slept together.
Rivkin returned in the Season 6 episode Semper Fidelis (episode) where he secretly invaded an intelligence summit and accidentally killed an agent of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, prompting the summit to be shut down while the federal agencies investigated the death.
Rivkin then began spending more time with Ziva whose disappearing acts left DiNozzo more concerned than ever, so much so that he later took matters into his own hands and personally confronted Rivkin at a downtown D.C. restaurant and ordered him to leave the country. Rivkin yet again refused to do so.
A while later, Rivkin, having discovered the leader of the terrorist cell killed Tabal by force-feeding the other man a suicide pill, stole Tabal's laptop and fled the house. Tabal's remains were later discovered by Gibbs, FBI agent Tobias Fornell, and ICE agent Julia Foster-Yates.
In the NCIS lab, Abby's work later determined that the laptop had been connected to the internet at some point with the address coming up as being that of Ziva's.
DiNozzo left to investigate, believing that Ziva knew something. On arriving at her apartment, he was shocked to discover Rivkin inside.
The two men then exchanged insults yet again with DiNozzo informing Rivkin that he intended to arrest the Mossad operative for the deaths of the terrorist cell handler, Abin Tabal, and ICE agent Tom Sherman, unaware that that the ICE agent's death had been an accident. Rivkin refused to be arrested.
The two got into a massive brawl which left Ziva's living-room in a state and both men injured.
Tony, who had suffered a fractured left arm, attempted to reason with Rivkin one last time but was forced to shoot the other man in self-defense after Rivkin tried to stab Tony with a shard of glass.
Seconds later, having heard the gunshots, Ziva entered the apartment, her gun drawn. Once she assessed the situation, she attempted to save Rivkin while ignoring Tony the whole time.
Despite her best efforts, the extent of Rivkin's injuries were so severe that he later succumbed and died a few hours later during the Season 6 finale episode, Aliyah (episode).
In the aftermath of Rivkin's death, NCIS took the lead in the investigation. Rivkin's remains were brought to the NCIS morgue so that Dr. Donald Mallard and his assistant, James Palmer could perform an autopsy.
A few hours later, with the whole affair having caused a major international incident, Eli David contacted Leon Vance and demanded that he, Gibbs, DiNozzo, and Ziva head to Israel immediately because Mossad wanted answers into Rivkin's death.
Hours later, Vance granted the request, informing Gibbs and Ziva that they along with DiNozzo were to pack their bags as they had all been booked to go on a C-130 to Tel Aviv.
The four later arrived in Israel along with Rivkin's body, returned for burial.
During his interrogation by Eli in Tel Aviv, Tony dodged Eli's accusations and forced him to reveal that he had sent Rivkin back to the US, while also claiming to have been protecting Ziva. Later, Eli admitted Rivkin's true mission to Vance: to find and locate Saleem, the leader of a terrorist network based in Somalia.
After Gibbs left her behind in Israel, Ziva then rejoined Mossad and took Rivkin's place on the Kidon Unit to complete her "Aliyah". She went intending to kill Saleem but instead she was captured, held prisoner and tortured for several months in North Africa.
US Intelligence believed that the ship Ziva and her Mossad unit were on had sunk en route to Somalia, with zero survivors. Believing Ziva dead, Tony made it his mission to track down her probable killer, Saleem. Tony informed NCIS he believed had found Saleem's general location and conviced them to form a covert mission to him down. Tony lead the Somalia operation with Gibbs and McGee as backup. Tony and McGee were captured and Tony was tortured by Saleem, who wanted information on NCIS operations. To gain leverage over Tony, Saleem brought in a third prisoner whom he revealed as a very much alive Ziva, much to Tony's and McGee's surprise. Gibbs then killed Saleem with a sniper shot, a single gunshot wound to the forehead. The reunited team escaped and returned to America.
These random turns of events prompted Ziva to permanently resign from Mossad and become an NCIS Special Agent. She resigned in the Season 10 finale episode Damned If You Do (episode) and ultimately departed from the team for good in the Season 11 episode Past, Present and Future (episode).
As a Mossad operative, Rivkin was trained in various techniques of torture and also hand-in-hand combat.
He was also capable of wielding and using any weapon and as such, was capable of killing his opponents without even leaving any trace of his own DNA.
Hand to Hand Combat
As an agent of the Israeli Mossad, Rivkin was highly skilled in hand-to-hand combat which enabled him to easily disarm or cripple his opponents if need be.
During Semper Fidelis (episode), despite having consumed a lot of alcohol, Rivkin displayed some sign of control as he was still able to hold his ground against DiNozzo and even fracture DiNozzo's left arm in the process.
Rivkin was even able to incapacitate ICE agent Thomas Sherman although the move caused Sherman to suffer a stroke and later die.
Like fellow Mossad operatives, Rivkin had an incredibly high pain threshold as he was able to remove a shard of glass from the right side of his body without any flinching whatsoever.
Rivkin's death had a huge impact on Ziva and her NCIS colleagues as it greatly strained relationships between the two sides, bringing them to almost breaking point.
Ziva was left devastated by Rivkin's death to such an extent that she came physically close to killing Tony when the two confronted each other outside the Mossad Headquarters in Tel Aviv.
- Rafi Zayid- (stabbed).
- Nasim Boutros- (stabbed).
- ICE Special Agent Thomas Sherman- (accidental; died of a stroke while being held in a choke-hold).
- Abin Tabal- (presumably force-fed him a suicide pill, killing him, later stole his laptop and managed to get all the intel Tabal had).