NCIS fans watched the show undergo a major change in the final episodes of Season 15 with the departure of Pauley Perrette as Abby Sciuto. Perrette was part of NCIS going all the way back to the backdoor pilot on JAG, and she's appeared on spinoffs NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans. The good news for fans was that Abby wasn't killed off or shipped off into witness protection and given her permanent walking papers like a certain Criminal Minds star was, and the door is open for Perrette to reprise the role. Still, losing her was rough on the cast as well as fans. NCIS actor Brian Dietzen, who plays Jimmy Palmer on the long-running drama, spoke to CinemaBlend's own Adam Holmes about NCIS without Perrette, saying this:
I mean personally, obviously it's bittersweet to say goodbye to someone professionally that you've been working with for 15 years. She's been a really close friend for a really long time. I think I have a lot of the same feelings as when Michael Weatherly had left the show or when Cote de Pablo did, when she took her leave as well. But similar to their departures, it's kind of the same thing, where you're just kind of like, 'Man, I'm bummed to see you go, but I'm also excited to see what you do next, you know? And I'm excited to see that you get to spread your wings doing something different, you know?' And it's one of those reminders where as an actor, your lifestyle is supposed to be somewhat gypsy-like. Moving from camp to camp, from production to production, and we really had a unique experience on our show because we've been on it for so long that it's become our second home. So like I said, a little bittersweet, but I'm very, very excited to see what she gets to come up with next.
While Brian Dietzen was saddened by the fact that his friend wouldn't be around set anymore after a decade and a half working together, his comments make it clear that he's not in the least upset about Pauley Perrette's decision to move on from NCIS. In fact, he's looking forward to what's in store next for her, and he's likely not the only one. Viewers who grew to love Perrette as Abby for all those years may want to follow the next stage of her career as well. Everybody should be happy to know that Dietzen speaks so fondly and highly of Perrette, as this can only bode well for Abby to potentially drop by for a visit sometime in the future. NCIS is still going strong and showing no signs of stopping.
For the time being, however, Pauley Perrette may be content to take a break from acting. Her claims of multiple physical assaults shortly after her final episode of NCIS aired sound like they weren't easy on her, and she won a legal battle with her ex-husband back in May. Her dad even floated the idea that she could take a breather from showbiz and just continue enjoying life in good health with her dogs at her side. After more than 15 years of work in an intense franchise, who can argue that Perrette doesn't deserve to take as much time to watch Family Feud (and call it out for being filthy) as she wants? She worked hard for a long time.
A big question is what NCIS will look like in Season 16 without Pauley Perrette around full time. She shared a fair amount of scenes with Brian Dietzen as their characters worked out the science and forensics of the NCIS cases that came their way. Despite the fact that she got as happy an ending as possible after her intense final episode, there may be some lingering sadness at the gap in the ensemble. After losing Michael Weatherly (although he didn't go far) and now Pauley Perrette, NCIS will look very different moving forward than in years past. We can only hope that Mark Harmon isn't planning on going anywhere!
Tune in to CBS on Tuesday, September 25 to catch the Season 16 premiere of NCIS and Brian Dietzen back in action as Jimmy Palmer. If you want to relive all the excitement and adventure of NCIS Season 15, you can find the full season on DVD at Amazon and other retailers now. For more important dates in the not-too-distant future, take a look at our fall TV premiere schedule.