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Fans of NCIS got some big news earlier this week with the announcement that one of the longest-running members of the cast would be departing. Pauley Perrette has played forensic specialist Abby Sciuto on NCIS since the very beginning, and her reveal that she'd decided it was time to move on means that the show will look very different in the not-too-distant future. While many fans were shocked by the announcement, the NCIS showrunners were not. Executive producers George Schenck and Frank Cardea had this to say about Perrette's upcoming departure:
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.
The producers have been aware that Pauley Perrette intended to leave NCIS in Season 15, and they're apparently planning on sending Abby off in a way that honors her many years of service to the NCIS unit. Hopefully that "special send-off" descriptions means that we don't have to worry about Abby being killed off. Michael Weatherly got a pretty fitting farewell when he left; fans can almost certainly agree that Perrette deserves one as well, and not one that involves Abby in a body bag. Deadline reports that NCIS has already started setting the stage for Abby to bow out, although no details have been confirmed at this point. Abby's stories in Season 15 are certainly going to be ones worth watching.
The "special send-off" should be reassuring to any who were afraid that Abby would be simply removed from the narrative. As unlikely as it is for such a major character to exit without a fuss, there's precedent on television in the last couple of years. Hotch was written off of Criminal Minds after many years as lead due to the on-set behavior of the actor, and a Blue Bloods actress was written off the show over hiatus, and viewers learned in the season premiere that her character had been killed. Then, of course, there's Erinn Hayes from Kevin Can Wait, although obviously starring in a single season of a sitcom doesn't compare to Pauley Perrette's decade and a half at NCIS.
Abby has been a pivotal part of NCIS, to the point that she has even become a role model for women interested in pursuing science and math. She will certainly be missed on the show. We'll have to cross our fingers that NCIS won't bid her too final of a farewell so we can at least hope that Pauley Perrette will one day reprise her role. Only time will tell.
CBS has not yet revealed when we'll see Pauley Perrette make her exit from NCIS, so be sure to tune in on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET to see how the show sets the stage for her departure. For your other viewing options in the coming weeks, take a look at our fall TV guide.
And you can currently watch all seasons of NCIS streaming on CBS All Access.