Abby was rarely seen on NCIS without a large red and white branded cup in her hand, but what is Caf-Pow, and why did she enjoy it so much..?
Long-time NCIS viewers will recall how important Caf-Pow was to Abigail “Abby” Sciuto, but they may not be aware of the backstory to the former forensic scientist character’s favorite drink.
Abby’s signature look on the CBS show, as portrayed by actress Pauley Perrette, was completed with a Caf-Pow cup in her hand. If she ran out of supplies, Special Agent Gibbs was on hand to replenish them in exchange for her forensic findings.
Perette, like many other NCIS stars, such as Lauren Holly, who played Jennifer Shepard, has left the show. Nonetheless, she will be remembered fondly as the brilliantly intelligent, Caf-Pow-drinking goth who rarely worked without music. But what is Caf-Pow, and why did Abby enjoy it so much?
Caf-Pow is an energy drink that literally powered Abby Scuito’s career on NCIS. Her agitated demeanor was most likely the result of consuming too much caffeine.
The name could be a combination of the words “caffeine” and “power,” or it could be “pow!” as a comic book reference.
The beverage was usually served in a large branded cup with a red lid. There were, however, several variations.
The Valentine’s Day special edition had a pink lid, while the Christmas-themed version had nutmeg added.
Abby isn’t the only character who enjoys caffeine – Special Agent Gibbs, who was given the perfect legacy when he left NCIS, drank black coffee – but as the only forensic scientist working in the NCIS lab, it’s no surprise that Abby needed the boost.
The most intriguing aspect of the Caf-Pow story is that it was not originally intended to be a drink. Caf-Pow was created by Doug Reilly, an NCIS designer. He revealed at the NCIS Fan Fest 2008 that the drink began as caffeine pills, but was later changed to a caffeinated drink after producers decided against a pill-popping scientist (via YouTube).
Reilly also explained to NCIS fans how Caf-Pow grew in size and color after the first season. He also stated that Perrette never drank the entire cup. Instead, a can of her preferred juice, such as cranberry, was glued inside.
Caf-most Pow’s bizarre storyline involved the drink assisting in the rescue of Ziva David – who later reunited with Tony DiNozzo and the NCIS crew – from terr0rists. Abby and Tim McGee tracked shipments of the drink to the terr0rists’ location in NCIS season 7, episode 1, “Truth or Consequences,” after discovering that their leader had developed a taste for it. There aren’t many other TV caffeine drinks with such a significant narrative arc.
Caf-Pow has sadly taken a back seat since Pauley Perrette left NCIS in 2018 after 15 seasons. Kasie Hines, played by Diona Reasonover, the show’s new forensic scientist, appears to be able to function without it.
It is unknown whether Caf-Pow will ever return to NCIS, but it is safe to say that the signature drink will be remembered as fondly as the show’s other departed stars. Fans who want a piece of NCIS history can purchase a replica cup on Amazon.
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