Pauley Perrette — the resident goth of “NCIS” and a seemingly improbable fan favorite for about as long as this procedural has been on the air — is leaving the series. She announced her own departure via Twitter overnight, saying: “So it is true that I am leaving NCIS . . . ” and added, “there have been all kinds of false rumors as to why (NO I DON’T HAVE A SKIN CARE LINE . . . )”.
Then, in a follow-up tweet, she further elaborated, “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.”
“Abby” of course is Abby Sciuto, her manic, death-obsessed, pigtail-wearing, dog-loving forensic scientist and quasi-daughter figure to “NCIS’s” all-wise paterfamilias, Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon).
With Perrette’s departure, only two original cast members will remain: Harmon and David McCallum. (Harmon, by the way, has also been subjected to a spate of internet-fueled departure rumors in recent months, although most major TV actors typically are subjected to those.) For those keeping count, all three have appeared on a total of 331 episodes of “NCIS” dating back to 2003.
Perrette, 48, is something of a polymath, with side-pursuits in music, writing, photography, filmmaking and charity (although apparently not skin care lines). As a veteran of TV’s most-viewed drama, she’s also well-remunerated: Forbes recently listed her as the 10th highest-paid ($8.5 million per annum) TV actress.
Her reference to “false rumors” dates back months, and although their genesis is unclear, she did provoke a few fans of this reddest of red-state series in January when she tweeted during the SAG Awards this: “Proud to be an actor tonight . . . though some of you think our jobs eliminate us from loving our country and having an opinion.” This followed a November tweet that read, “I LOVE AMERICA TOO MUCH. I didn’t know it was a country of bigots, I’m out.”
Following the January fan pushback, she wrote in a longer post, “You think my thoughts don’t matter because I’m an actor? . . . You have been fooled by an illusion of excess. Trumps, Kardashians, yes, some celebrities, that money means more than your soul. But don’t blame me. I don’t believe in that . . . [expletive].”