Abby Scuito (Pauley Perrette) exited NCIS (with fans in tears) on Monday night's episode, but not in the way
The setup for the exit began during the May 1 episode, entitled "One Step Forward." After
Abby then tried to talk the shooter down, and a struggle for the gun followed. The screen then cut to black as a gunshot rang out.
In Tuesday night's episode, Reeves is shown dead from the attack. Abby was rushed to the hospital, suffering an apparent gunshot wound. She is later shown unconscious in a hospital bed as the NCIS team visits her.
However, Abby recovers from her injuries and tries to seek revenge on the Reeves' killer.
She later decides to leave the team to pursue charitable works that Reeves always wanted to accomplish.
"I remember what you said about honoring
She then breaks the news to her teammates, who are sad but supportive of her decision.
"I’m gonna escort his body [to his hometown] tomorrow and make the arrangements," she says. "I’m not coming back. I’m leaving NCIS. Clay died saving my life, and I owe him a debt, and I intend to see it through.
She adds, "Clay always wanted to start a charity in honor of his mom."
She then drops off a letter to Gibbs, saying she was afraid he would convince her to stay if they talked.
The next episode of NCIS is entitled "Fallout" and will presumably focus on the team processing Reeves' death and her exit.
It has been a long road for Perrette in her most iconic role, and it all started back in 2003 when she was cast as a forensic scientist with alternative-style.
Perrette got the part as NCIS was being developed and first launched as a backdoor pilot spinning out of JAG. Series creator Don Bellisario pitched her the role as an "alternative-style person" who was far more than the cultural stereotype many would assume.
“Don Bellisario told me that when he created Magnum, P.I. he wanted to introduce a Vietnam vet who defied the negative stereotype," Scuito told Buddy TV in 2007. "So with Abby, he wanted to take an alternative-style person with tattoos and make her someone who is happy, totally put together and successful."
She continued, "All the script said about her was: black hair, caffeinated and smart… She's completely unaware that anybody thinks she looks weird. She thinks she looks pretty and never calls herself anything other than happy. And I fight for that,” she explained."
She landed the part, and she was one her way to becoming one of the most recognizable personalities on television.
Abby first appeared in "Ice Queen," the 2003 JAG episode that the core NCIS crew first appeared in.
She helps crack the case, which involved a murdered woman found floating in the ocean several months after her death.
She is shown palling around with Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) as she examines documents, collects fingerprints and drinks a lot of soda.
While this was a simple look at Abby, we soon learned a lot more about the scientist's past.
Abby grew up as the adopted child of deaf parents, learning sign language along the way. She eventually became fascinated with studying the cause and effect of auto accidents.
She followed that passionate to college, receiving degrees in sociology, criminology and psychology. She then got a master's degree in criminology and forensic science.
While those are details we learned along the way, a childhood flashback in the season 10 episode "Hit and Run" showed us a full-on look at Abby's "first case." A young Abby, played by Brighton Sharbino, tries to track down the owner of a teddy bear she finds, only to discover that there is a deep family rift occurring in the owner's family. In true Abby fashion, she tries to reunite the pair, but is unsuccessful.
Another pivotal aspect of the Abby's character is her bond with Gibbs.
The two are beyond close, with Gibbs even showing his admiration for Abby in that first JAG appearance.
They have a father-daughter dynamic is one of the biggest aspects of NCIS, with each doing all they can to protect the other.
Harmon himself seems to be taking Perrette's exit in stride, ensuring fans they will do her character justice in her final episode.
"Oh, we'll miss her," Harmon told Entertainment Tonight about the departure. "I'm really aware, and we're all aware that audiences grow to love characters, and it's a big deal. And we'll honor that. 15 years is a long time. People do what they do, and they move on and they do other things and that's part of life. It's given us, as a show, an opportunity to rebirth, to rejuvenate, to try new things, to grow. We adjust."
The rumors of Perrette's departure began last year, but the actress herself confirmed the exit back in October.
The did not specify why she was leaving, but blasted rumors that she was leaving to pursue a skin care brand or left due to disagreements with CBS.
"It was a decision made last year," she wrote. "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 just as much as you do."
So it is true that I am leaving NCIS...— Pauley Perrette (@PauleyP) October 4, 2017
There have been all kinds of false rumors as to why (NO I DON'T HAVE A SKIN CARE LINE... pic.twitter.com/gugM2a2ckT
This time to prep a proper end for Abby has not been neglected, with producers confirming something special for Perrette's final episode.
Producers have said they want to make a lasting impression and truly wrap up the character's arc.
"We've known for some time this would be Pauley's final season on NCIS and have been working toward a special send-off," executive producers George Schenck and Frank Cardea said in a statement. "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."
While everyone has had time to prepare for the exit, it is still not entirely clear why Perrette is leaving.
Despite shooting down those earlier rumors, Perrette has not went into detail about the exit.
However, in a recent interview with CBS News, Perrette hinted at a possible reason for her exit.
She touched on the fact that she wants a bit of privacy after starring in more than 350 episodes for one of TV's most popular shows.
"It's being a commodity," Perrette said. "I think I've earned some time to myself (to) stay home, go to church."
However, this does not mean that Perrette is saying goodbye to acting forever.
In that same interview, she said she loves the work, and she is currently fielding a slew of offers from "everyone."
"It's not like people aren't asking," Perrette said. "I'm being offered.. a lot. There's a lot of conversations going on. And there's me sitting at home on the couch drinking beer with my dogs, and I'm really good at it."
No officially word has surfaced about what Perrette will do next.
This surely is not comforting to fans who simply want to see more of Perrette on their screens.
Fans of the long-running CBS series were absolutely devastated at the exit of Perrette, as one would imagine.
NCIS viewers took to Twitter in droves to say goodbye to Abby after the episode went off the air.
"Pauley, I'm going to miss you on NCIS," fan Shawn Branch wrote. "You're a beautiful person inside and out. You're a huge part of the show and it won't be the same without you. God bless your future endeavors and may the path ahead of you be smooth."
(#NCIS Abby)@PauleyP I'm going to miss you on @NCIS_CBS. You're a beautiful person inside and out. You're a huge part of the show and it won't be the same without you. God bless your future endeavors and may the path ahead of you be smooth.— Shawn Branch (@gntlman) May 9, 2018
Others also thanks creators for giving Abby the farewell episode she deserved.
"Thank you for giving Abby the farewell she deserved," viewer Jason Terry wrote. "She went out the right way. Thank you Pauley for so many wonderful Abby and NCIS memories!"
Thank you for giving Abby the farewell she deserved. She went out the right way. Thank you @PauleyP for so many wonderful Abby and NCIS memories !— Jason Terry (@jasont42) May 9, 2018