For the past fifteen seasons Pauley Perrette has portrayed the goth-loving forensic scientist, Abby Sciuto, on NCIS. With her adorable relationship with gruff team leader Jethro Gibbs, played by Mark Harmon, and her fast-talking brilliance, she has garnered a fan base all her own. So the recent announcement of her impending departure next season has put a damper on the new season of the long-running crime drama.
Perrette tweeted the confirmation to her 748,000 followers in the wee hours of the morning on October 4th, but NCIS executive producers George Schenck and Frank Cardea have known about Perrette's decision to leave for quite some time.
In fact, in a statement to TVLine, the producers said they have been working on a way to send Abby off in a manner befitting her coffin-loving character as the EPs know how beloved the actress is:
“We’ve known for some time this would be Pauley’s final season on NCIS and have been working toward a special send-off. From day one, she has brought incredible passion and specificity to the role. Abby is a character that inspires millions of fans around the world, and all of us at NCIS are appreciative of Pauley for portraying her.”
Of course, there's no guarantee that #NCIS will be renewed for Season 16 so we might be saying goodbye to all of the characters at the end of this season. However, NCIS has remained consistent in its number of viewers, ranking in the top ten television shows consistently since its sixth season. Though Season 14 showed an approximate two million drop in viewers, it still pulled in an average of 14.63 million so there would be little reason for CBS to cancel such a successful series. Odds are good we will be watching next year without the lovable Abby Sciuto in the lab.
Described by Yahoo! as "a witty, lovable personality with forensic skills that are even greater than her charm," Abby wormed her way into our hearts in Season 1 and hasn't let go. Even CBS Studios issued a statement calling her "one of the most unique characters on television."
"While it’s never easy saying goodbye to a beloved actress and character, we respect her decision to leave at the end of the season. We are grateful to Pauley for all her contributions to the series and making Abby one of the most unique characters on television.”
As CBS respects Perrette's decision to leave, so do the fans, but it doesn't take away the sting of the loss. The NCIS lab will always be Abby's, and the next character to take her place will have big, if not impossible, shoes to fill.