Because they work in law enforcement, the “NCIS” agents are frequently forced to make split-second decisions in the midst of dangerous and intense situations. As a result, their decisions can appear rash at times. Occasionally, their quick thinking saves lives. Several characters on the CBS procedural make mistakes and commit morally ambiguous actions for the sake of their colleagues and country over the course of an incredible 19 seasons and 400-plus episodes. This can include going too far with a suspect or putting a partner’s life in danger during a tense standoff. This is often a difficult part of the job for Naval Cr1m1nal Investigative Service agents to deal with.
In contrast, Abby (Pauley Perrette), the sunny goth forensics investigator, stays outside the field, so she has fewer opportunities to “break bad” than Gibbs (Mark Harmon) or DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly). Abby is a generous and playful person who lacks Gibbs’ demons and Ziva’s family complications (Cote de Pablo). Fans were, however, taken aback by Abby’s behavior with her coworkers in one particular episode.
This Season 5 Abby moment has riled up Redditors
A 2019 Reddit post from u/TimeLordMaster108 on the r/NCIS subreddit discussed the Season 5 episode “Dog Tags” (via IMDb), which includes a contentious Abby scene. The episode begins when the team attempts to serve a warrant on a suspect, only to discover that the suspect has d1ed and that the suspect’s dog has att4cked Agent McGee (Sean Murray).
McGee sustains a serious bite injury to his neck while defending himself, and he shoots the canine non-fatally to subdue him. Given the dog’s behavior toward humans while on the scene, the NCIS team believes it is also the one who k1lls the suspect.
Abby, on the other hand, has a different perspective. She is furious with McGee and is convinced that the dog did nothing wrong and is willing to risk her career to prove the dog’s innocence. In an early scene from the “Dog Tags” episode, Abby scolds McGee for shooting the dog and refuses to believe him when he tries to explain the severity of the att4ck.
While u/TimeLordMaster108 thought Abby was sincere, they wrote that the dog “almost tore [McGee’s] arm off and gave him a life-long fear of dogs, but she doesn’t show the slightest bit of sympathy to her friend, and she never apologizes.”
Fans agree that Abby was far too harsh on McGee.
Other Redditors agreed with u/TimeLordMaster108 that Abby’s treatment of McGee is absurd. Given how close they are, her rage appears to be a harsh reaction to McGee’s injury. Abby, according to U/SHIELDSxYaYa, “McGee is forced (more like threatened) to contribute to the dog’s flowers. AND THEN FORCES HIM TO ACCEPT HIM AS A PET.” u/toadsanchez420 writes elsewhere in a lengthy comment, “Apparently, this dog she just f***ing met is more important than her friend, coworker, and ex-lover,” and goes on to say that, despite McGee telling her the truth, it’s ironic that “she tells him that’sometimes you have to face the reality in front of you and accept it,'” because she apparently doesn’t follow her own advice.
Abby may be fond of animals, but this is insensitive to what McGee has been through. She eventually proves the dog’s innocence, naming him Jethro after Gibbs, but that doesn’t mean McGee should be forced to adopt a semi-hostile animal that att4cked him. It’s not one of her stronger performances on the cr1me drama.
Other NCIS fans believe Abby is becoming unlikable as a result of this incident.
Abby’s treatment of McGee in “Dog Tags” not only irritates “NCIS” fans, but many have also pointed out in separate Reddit threads that her behavior does her no favors. In fact, several fans expressed how Abby’s attitude in this Season 5 episode turned them off, with the general consensus being that she becomes a selfish, petulant person they don’t enjoy watching.
In an August 2021 post on the r/NCIS subreddit, u/realclowntime mentions “Dog Tags” as one of the worst “NCIS” episodes ever. The “NCIS” episode is then described as one of the “quintessential ‘Abby is a petulant child just cuz [sic]’ episodes by the Redditor.
Just a few months ago, u/hpspnmag posted an entire thread on r/NCIS dedicated to “Dog Tags,” in which they detailed how the entire episode made them dislike Abby. They explained that “the fact is that she was highly unprofessional” when it came time to surrender the dog, and went on to express displeasure with the way she doesn’t consider McGee’s feelings.
The post by u/hpspnmag elicited a comment from u/puppup23 that appears to best summarize the entire issue with “Dog Tags” and how it depicts Abby: “I always liked Abby in the early seasons, but as the show progressed, I felt she became more selfish, childish, and unprofessional. It was a strange regression, as if they tried too hard to make her eccentric.”
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