One of television’s longest-running multi-show franchises has recently made considerable waves.In the previous month, three occurrences concerning CBS’ NCIS series have occurred. In the March 10 NCIS episode, a fan-favorite character was k1ll3d off, and the network announced Wednesday that actress Katrina Law (Arrow, Hawaii Five-0) will join the cast in a recurring role. According to Deadline, CBS recently announced the termination of a second franchise spinoff, NCIS: New Orleans (the current seventh season will be its final), but also revealed the development of another spinoff, NCIS: Hawaii.
With something that’s been there for a long time — the original NCIS premiered nearly two decades ago, in 2003 — changes and ups and downs are unavoidable. NCIS: Los Angeles is likewise more than a decade old (it debuted in 2009), while NCIS: New Orleans has been on the air for the greater part of a decade (it debuted in 2014). Behind-the-scenes tension amongst cast members is not uncommon in long-running programs, and NCIS’ cup runsneth over in that department.
Even as the NCIS program continues to build on its heritage, one noteworthy example of such behind-the-scenes drama: actor Pauley Perrette’s exit from NCIS in 2018. Perrette played quirky lab assistant Abby Sciuto for 15 seasons (from the show’s inception) and performed her final appearance in the season 15 finale episode “Date with Destiny.” Following the airing of the show, Perrette issued a series of cryptic tweets insinuating that the reason she departed was not so pleasant, implying she’d been subjected to “multiple physical assaults.”
Around a year later, Perrette grew more vocal about her dissatisfaction with the show, commenting more on social media. Here’s why Pauley Perrette left NCIS and why her experience on the program changed her forever.
Because of star Mark Harmon, Pauley Perrette departed NCIS.
Perrette tweeted on June 7, 2019, that she would never return to NCIS because she was “terrified” of NCIS’s main man Mark Harmon att4ck1ng her. “I have nightmares about it,” Perrette wrote. Decider stated that she added but then deleted a tweet in which she stated, “THIS happened to my crew member and I fought like hell to keep it from happening again!” To keep my crew safe! And then I was beaten physically for yelling NO!? I also lost my job.”
This was interpreted as a reference to a reported 2016 problem. According to The Wrap, Mark Harmon brought his dog to the set, and it bit a staff worker. Harmon allegedly continued to bring the dog around, and Perrette spoke out about it, severing her relationship with Harmon. According to some sources, she planned to leave before the incident, but in addition to the dog incident allusions, Perrette claimed in writings that she was being silenced, lied about, bullied, and beaten.
However, it appeared that none of her messages were directed towards CBS. Perrette commended CBS after the network issued a statement in which it praised Perrette and stated its commitment to a healthy work environment. This strengthens the notion that Perrette’s concern was with a specific person. Despite their characters having a tight father-daughter relationship, she and Harmon did not appear in scenes together until the end of her employment.
Pauley Perrette was able to ‘Heal’ after leaving NCIS.
It’s unknown how or not what happened on NCIS still affects Perrette, as she hasn’t acknowledged the issue(s) since 2019 — even rejecting to discuss the subject in a recent interview — but it clearly had an impact on the actress at the time. It didn’t change her in one way: it didn’t ruin her passion of acting. She returned to television last year, this time for CBS, in the comedy Broke. Jackie, played by Pauley Perrette, is a single mother who unexpectedly takes in her estranged sister, her sister’s husband, and his assistant. The show was canceled, but Perrette seemed unfazed, stating Broke “healed” her.
While it’s unfortunate that Perrette’s old feud with Mark Harmon will likely prevent her from returning to NCIS, if leaving an unhealthy work environment and finding a more positive experience on another show has helped Perrette heal and restore her passion for acting, then that’s all that matters. Fans may be saddened by the unlikely reunion of Abby Sciuto — but never say never in Hollywood — but there are lots of other places where they can see Perrette perform. Her character Jackie appears in all 13 episodes of Broke, which can be viewed for $1.99 each episode in all of the regular places.
Although she has no known projects in development or production at the moment, we’ll be keeping an eye out for whatever Pauley Perrette does next.
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