For fans of the most watched drama on network television, the news could not have been any more somber. Pauley Perrette, who plays the role of forensic scientist Abby Sciuto, is leaving the show after this season. And considering that Michael Weatherly left the show two years ago, the question is, will NCIS continue?
Despite being in its 15th season, NCIS is still the most popular drama on broadcast TV. And Abby has amazingly been in all 331 episodes to date. Losing her at the end of the season will be a big blow. But the series bounced back successfully after Weatherly left. Weatherly appeared in 306 episodes from 2003-2016.
And then there was Cote de Pablo, who played the role of Ziva David, who left after the 2013 season. She was in 192 episodes from 2005-2016.
CBS released a statement that read, “Pauley has been a valued member of both ‘NCIS’ and the CBS family for over 15 years. While it’s never easy saying goodbye to a beloved actress and character, we respect her decision to leave at the end of the season. We are grateful to Pauley for all her contributions to the series and making Abby one of the most unique characters on television.”
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Pauley announced her departure from the show in a tweet which read as follows:
So, it is true that I am leaving NCIS after this season. There have been all kinds of false stories as to why (NO I DON’T HAVE A SKIN CARE LINE AND NO MY NETWORK AND SHOW ARE NOT MAD AT ME!)
It was a decision made last year. I hope everyone will love and enjoy EVERYTHING ABBY not only for the rest of this season but for everything she has given all of us for 16 years.
All the love, all the laughter, all the inspiration… I love her as much as you do.
In the statement Pauley admits that she made the decision last year which means the network has known all along. So the plan to move on without her is already in motion.
Wilmer Valderrama replaced Weatherly. And the show will introduce Maria Bello this season to attempt to cushion the blow of Pauley’s departure.
As for her final season, NCIS executive producers Frank Cardea and George Schenck have promised to send Pauley off with a bang. They released a statement which read, “We’ve known for some time this would be Pauley’s final season on ‘NCIS’ and have been working toward a special send-off. From day one, she has brought incredible passion and specificity to the role. Abby is a character that inspires millions of fans around the world, and all of us at ‘NCIS’ are appreciative of Pauley for portraying her.”
NCIS has lost larger-than-life characters before. But losing Pauley Perrette may signal the beginning of the end of the long-running popular network television drama. But then again, we’ve said that before.