Relatively few live-action TV characters have been primetime mainstays for as long as NCIS' Pauley Perrette, who has been a part of the hit drama's central ensemble ever since its earliest days as a backdoor pilot on Jag. That streak will be ending with the conclusion of Season 15, as Perrette's bangs-boasting forensic scientist Abby Sciuto will make her grand farewell. And apparently the transition has been quite an emotional one for the actress, who shared this about her life after NCIS:
It makes me sad to imagine a world without Abby in it. It really makes me sad. . . . I'm still grieving. And it's sad; I, like, usually cry in my car every single day when I drive to work. And I usually cry on my way home at some point. And then I take a deep breath, and I go, 'All right,' you know?
After 15 years of dedication and perseverance holding all the blood, sweat and tears together, Pauley Perrette is obviously facing a completely different lifestyle in her post-NCIS years. Starting off as a spinoff in 2003, NCIS was one of many shows to put CBS atop the broadcast networks through the early 2000s. And because its renewals came as regularly as sunrises and sunsets, there haven't been very many drastic changes to deal with from season to season. The show's early years saw change-up in episode counts, jumping between 19 and 25, but CBS has kept a standard 24-episode run for each year since Season 7, so Perrette's work life was about as streamlined and steady as one could hope for in television.
And so, understandably, Pauley Perrette is feeling all kinds of ways about new daily routines that don't involve cracking wise with Mark Harmon and pretending she's drinking big mugs of coffee. For so long, she was used to spending a large chunk of each year rocking Abby's goth persona and helping take down fictional criminals, and leaving it all behind will certainly take a while to get used to. Her final episodes haven't even aired yet, so maybe Perrette's emotions will become easier to handle when the Abby-free Season 16 come around. (And maybe she'll also decide to make a cameo appearance, assuming she isn't killed off in some horrible way.)
Speaking with CBS News about permanently leaving NCIS, Pauley Perrette did mention that there are some things she won't miss about being in the spotlight on such a popular show.
It's being a commodity. It's just very dehumanizing. I hope I'm not wrong, but I think that I have earned a little bit of time to myself. Just stay home. Go to church.
We're not quite sure where we'll see Pauley Perrette on the big or small screen after NCIS wraps Season 15, and she's currently quite happy staying away from the limelight. But you can bet that she'll soon get back to inspiring millions of her younger female fans with new projects, even if forensic science isn't involved.
While it will be taking a weeklong break, NCIS will return for Pauley Perrette's final two episodes on May 1 and May 8, both of which are Tuesdays, airing on CBS at 8:00 p.m. ET. Check out how the cast celebrated her last day on the set, as well as when all the other big primetime finales are airing. To see what shows will be popping up whenever NCIS is working on Season 16, head to our summer premiere schedule.