NCIS has been through a variety of casting changes over the years, and one of the biggest ones came last year when towards the end of Season 15, Pauley Perrette departed the series. Abby Sciuto had been part of NCIS since the beginning, so needless to say that not only did her exit impact the viewers, but also those who worked with Perrette on a daily basis. When I recently asked Timothy McGee actor Sean Murray about what it’s been like on the NCIS set since the actress left, here’s how he responded:
Well, you know, it's like Diona [Reasonover] has come in and is our new forensic person, and she's been great and she does her own thing. It's not at all like what Pauley did, and what Pauley did was incredible and wonderful. But that was her thing. So we've got Diona and she's kicking some butt. We've always tried to use changes in the show as an opportunity for something new. And the show has been sort of ever-evolving for a long time, and it's not the show it was in the first season. It's very different. We’ve had these new characters in the last two, three years show up, and that's new dynamics between the characters. All that's a lot of fun and we have a lot of fun with that. We love Pauley to death, but it was her decision and everyone has their right to make a decision. It’s hard to not work with your friend. It’s sad. You know, you have moments, but you make new friends and it's all good.
Sean Murray then added during our interview that he’s still very close with Pauley Perrette, so even though they’re no longer working together on NCIS, they’re still friends with one another. Murray’s response echoes what Brian Dietzen, who plays Jimmy Palmer, told me last year. It’s sad and bittersweet when someone you’ve worked with for a long time leaves, but that also provides the opportunity for the show to change and evolve. In this case, it resulted Diona Reasonover’s Kasie Hines, who was introduced in as a recurring character in Season 15, taking over as NCIS’ new forensics specialist. Reasonover brings her own unique energy to the show, and judging by Sean Murray’s comments, she’s doing a great job so far.
It remains to be seen if Pauley Perrette will ever reprise Abby Sciuto on NCIS, although with this season setting up the return of Cote de Pablo as Ziva David more than half a decade after she left the show, one would imagine the door is open for Perrette to pop in again too, even for just a guest appearance. That said, given the claims she’s made about why she left the series, it’s safe to say Abby visiting her old lab again probably isn’t coming anytime soon. Still, it would be nice if at least before the show concluded, McGee, Gibbs and the rest of this workplace family got to see her one last time.
In any case, like Sean Murray noted, Diona Reasonover is just one of several new characters who’ve joined NCIS’ main cast in recent years. Wilmer Valderrama has been playing Nick Torres for three seasons now, and Maria Bello came aboard as Dr. Jacqueline Sloane last season. Duane Henry also played Clayton Reeves for several seasons, but he was killed off “Two Steps Back,” the same episode that Abby left, as she wanted to start a charity in honor of Reeves and help the homeless like he did. Whether or not Abby comes back to NCIS, the current team certainly has enough to keep themselves busy with, including, most recently, a case involving McGee’s high school computer.