Starring on a hit network drama for any amount of time is bound to inspire some pretty fantastic memories. So when that time period comprises 15 entire years, the memories can get to be too memorable to count. But for exiting NCIS star Pauley Perrette, who filmed her last episode months ago, it's apparently quite easy to pinpoint what her favorite memories are from her years on the CBS mainstay. In her words:
The entirety of my time with Michael Weatherly. We started on the show together. We lived in the same apartment complex for the first two years. We had this unspoken language between us about always bringing a little bit of levity to the show, even when it's hard or sad. Because that's just like life: things are hard and things are good and things are funny and things are sad, all at the same time. I miss working with him every day.
Had Pauley Perrette decided to leave NCIS three years ago, fans would have seen what the show looked like with Tony DiNozzo still around all the time, but with someone else dishing out the forensic facts instead of Abby Sciuto. But that wasn't the case, with Michael Weatherly vacating the show in 2016 and taking on the lead role in CBS' Bull. And so over the past two years of the show, it seems like the actress must have been pretty lonely in a way, since Weatherly was clearly a driving force behind her enjoying her work days to the fullest. Without him around to joke with and share scenes with, Perrette likely had fond memories running through her head throughout both seasons' productions.
I mean, NCIS fans obviously miss Abby and Tony's unique friendship, which at one point included the creation of a Tony Wall. But at least we can go back and put on older repeats whenever we want, while Pauley Perrette isn't able to just zip back in time to make new happy memories with Michael Weatherly. She can also watch repeats and reminisce, obviously, but it's not the same. (Incidentally, if Perrette ever wants to host "rerun" parties where she tells stories about the good ol' days while older eps play, my mailbox is eagerly accepting invitations.)
Believe it or not, Pauley Perrette looked to Michael Weatherly for general guidance whenever she made the decision to leave NCIS after Season 15. Earlier in her interview with TV Insider, the actress was asked what she'd learned from when previous cast members had made their own exits.
Well, Michael Weatherly is like my brother. We've been in constant contact about it. I've also been in touch with Sasha Alexander. They've been a wonderful support system, talking to me about the emotions I'll have and helping me with all kinds of stuff.
SPOILER WARNING for anyone who hasn't yet watched the latest episode of NCIS, titled "One Step Forward." Fans can only guess just how emotionally wrought those conversations got between Perrette and others, considering where Abby's penultimate installment ended. We knew these final two episodes would contain some shocks, but we didn't expect Pauley Perrette to go into her final episode with Abby on a hospital bed and potentially dying from a gunshot wound. We really, really hope that NCIS' creative team doesn't make this kind of sacrifice with Abby, because that would be rough. (Though it possibly explains why Perrette used "grieving" to describe how she's been doing since filming her last episode.) But if they do put Abby on a permanent vacation, then we really, really hope Tony makes it to the funeral.
NCIS airs Tuesday nights on CBS at 8:00 p.m. ET, with Abby Sciuto's final hour coming on May 8. To see when NCIS and other hits shows will be wrapping their current seasons, head to our TV finale rundown, and then check out our summer premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows will be popping up on the small screen soon.