How NCIS Is Dealing With Pauley Perrette's Exit, According To Mark Harmon

ncis gibbs abby

Big changes are in store for NCIS in Season 15 thanks to the upcoming departure of Pauley Perrette, who has played forensic specialist Abby Sciuto from the very beginning of the series. News of Perrette's decision to leave broke back in October, and fans have been wondering just how the show will send off one of its most impactful characters. NCIS star Mark Harmon has spoken out about how NCIS is dealing with the loss of Abby, saying this:

Oh, we'll miss her. I'm really aware, and we're all aware that audiences grow to love characters, and it's a big deal. And we'll honor that. 15 years is a long time. People do what they do, and they move on and they do other things and that's part of life. It's given us, as a show, an opportunity to rebirth, to rejuvenate, to try new things, to grow. We adjust.

Details of how Pauley Perrette will end Abby's story on NCIS are still scarce, but Mark Harmon's comments to ET indicate that the end of her arc will honor everything that she contributed to the series over the past decade and a half. Audiences have gotten used to having Abby around, and the entire dynamic of the series will be different once she leaves. Depending on how she leaves, there might not even be much hope for a return. While I'm guessing that NCIS wouldn't go so far as to kill off Abby, there are ways to write characters out that pretty much close the door on reprising their roles.

The silver lining of Pauley Perrette bowing out of NCIS is that the show will evidently try some new things in the aftermath of Abby's departure. Mixing up the formula of a show that has been on the air for 15 years will likely be a good thing, even if it will mean some unexpected twists for longtime fans. It should be interesting to see how NCIS intends to replace Abby in the show.

The NCIS team needs a forensic specialist like Abby, and I don't envy any character who has to step into her shoes. The agents are used to having Abby around; a replacement might not get too warm of a welcome. A lot may depend on how Abby leaves. If she walks off into the sunset, any person who replaces her might not be greeted with too much bitterness.

Be sure to tune in to CBS on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET to catch Pauley Perrette while she's still on board the series. Plenty of other plot twists are undoubtedly still in store to keep the characters (and fans) on their toes. For your other viewing options, take a look at our fall TV guide. If you're not yet up on all the shows that won't make it back to the small screen, check out our breakdown of all the 2017 TV cancellations so far.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).