One of the main tensions with Rivkin’s storyline is the question of whether or not he actually had feelings for Ziva, or if he was merely manipulating her in service of Eli’s agenda. In their introductory post, u/shanlordal expressed a highly suspicious view of Rivkin’s intentions.
“I just keep thinking that Rivkin played her. I just think he was lying to her, he wasn’t telling her everything,” they wrote. “I don’t think he loved her or he definitely didn’t love her no where near as much as she loved him.”
Rivkin’s true motives remained opaque even after his death, but several fans interpreted his actions as purely calculating. His treatment of Ziva is one of the reasons that several commenters on the thread expressed a distaste for the character and his arc.
“I hated the Rivkin arc,” wrote u/ptazdba, who went on to add, “I always had the impression that [Ziva’s] Father sent him to maneuver her back to Israel. It nearly succeeded.” User u/frogsandpuzzles expressed sadness for how Ziva was treated in the whole ordeal, writing, “Shes been taken advantage of so much her entire life. Rivken f—ed with her emotions and tried to manipulate her into going back to Israel, and took advantage of her trust.”
User u/Forreal19 had an even more fundamental problem with the storyline. They agreed with others who expressed that Rivkin was likely playing Ziva, but added, “I never quite got her attraction to him, though — he was rather unappealing to me.”
Although he produced some major drama for “NCIS,” it appears that some viewers didn’t enjoy Rivkin’s tenure on the series.