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Spoilers ahead for Episode 22 of NCIS Season 15, called "Two Steps Back."
Pauley Perrette's final episode of NCIS has officially aired, and it was an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. The episode quickly revealed that Abby didn't die in the immediate aftermath of last week's cliffhanger shooting, but Clayton Reeves wasn't so lucky. He died to save Abby, and Abby lived to track down the bad guy and lace his coffee with cyanide... or so it seemed. The shooting was Abby's breaking point, and she snapped after all those years of watching friends die horrible deaths because of various villains.
Abby didn't ultimately kill the man who orchestrated the hit (as the cyanide wasn't actually cyanide), but she came very close to crossing a lethal line. Instead, she found a way for the agents to catch her enemy and decided that she needed to leave NCIS and do some work to honor Reeves. She lived and went off to as much of a happily-ever-after as could be hoped for.
Obviously "Two Steps Back" was an emotional episode for the characters and the fans, but they weren't the only ones. The stars of NCIS shared their reactions to Abby's farewell on social media, and Pauley Perrette kicked things off before the episode even began airing:
Pauley Perrette teased prior to the episode airing that she planned to watch with her dogs by her side, and she evidently stocked up on the tissues ahead of time as well. Abby was shedding tears during the episode, and could we really blame Perrette for shedding a few more while watching? Those flashback sequences alone were enough to start the waterworks! She played this beloved character for more than 15 years, and while Abby didn't rule out coming back for a visit, she was pretty definitive that she didn't intend to return any time soon.
Wilmer Valderrama also shared a message ahead of the episode, and he also teased that tissues might be needed. The tweet included an adorable photo of Valderrama and a teary Pauley Perrette. It was a pic taken on Perrette's last day on set, so it's no surprise that she looks emotional. Valderrama probably couldn't have picked a better way to say goodbye to his "sis."
Sean Murray is one of the only remaining NCIS cast members who has been around from the beginning, and he had a goodbye of his own. His "smooch" wasn't the most eloquent use of Twitter for a grand farewell, but it was lovely to see.
Former NCIS star Michael Weatherly got in on the farewell fun with an Instagram video, also indicating that tissues will be necessary. The caption to his post points toward Weatherly's kids being big Abby fans who won't be happy that she'll be gone. Tony DiNozzo didn't return for Abby's farewell, so we didn't see Weatherly back in the flesh, although Tony did check in on Abby via phone call with McGee. That was only the first video message Weatherly had to share in honor of Pauley Perrette's departure. He also posted this on Twitter:
Michael Weatherly was clearly affected by Pauley Perrette's departure, even if he's no longer on the show to miss her. Perrette's response to his tweet is proof that they're still part of the same NCIS family, even if neither is slated to return as a regular.
Sasha Alexander, who played Kate on NCIS (and who appeared via flashback in Abby's last hurrah), had a post of her own to pluck at any heartstrings that hadn't already been plucked. Finally, NCIS found a wonderful way to say goodbye to Abby:
Is it too soon to start hoping that Pauley Perrette returns as a guest star? NCIS has already been renewed for Season 16, and she wasn't killed off. Surely she can at least drop by for a visit next season, right? We'll have to wait and see. The good news is that Perrette's last episode was not the season finale, so there are still a few weeks to go before hiatus. The season finale will air on Tuesday, May 22 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.