'NCIS' Star Pauley Perrette Praises Abby, Fans Before Tragic Final Episode

Actress Pauley Perrette is preparing to officially say goodbye to her NCIS character Abby Sciuto after 16 years and more than 350 episodes.

She has become an icon on television, immortalized with her classic black hair and trademark goth look, and now Perrette is parting ways with the character who has won hearts around the world.

After being on the popular crime drama since the first episode in 2003, Perrette is reflecting on the legacy of Abby Sciuto, the eccentric genius who helps the Naval Criminal Investigative Service crack cases, ahead of her final episode on Tuesday night.

“There's never been a character like Abby on television. She's a brilliant scientist with this whole alternative look to her but she's [also] a good girl with a huge heart. She's a church kid. She bowls with nuns. It's so many things wrapped up into one,” Perrette told TV Guide. “Abby's legacy is going to be forever. The effect that she's had around the world, especially in young girls pursuing math and science. There [are] young women out there who've gotten their degrees and are in the field of science and math and forensics because of this TV character.”

Perrette announced in November that she would be exiting the CBS crime drama after the current season, news that came as a shock to many fans of the series. Now, she is thanking those fans for sticking with her through her journey.

“To all the fans around the world, I wanna tell you with all of my heart how much I love you guys. How grateful I am for all of your support for both Abby and me over all these years," Perrette said. “And just to remember with me everything that Abby's given to us and everything that she's taught us. I cannot thank you enough. I am so blessed to have fans like you and it means everything to me."

As for how Abby’s story will end, fans should prepare themselves for an emotional hour Tuesday night.

While it has neither been confirmed nor denied whether the character will die, fans were left in an emotional state after last week's episode, "One Step Forward," ended with Abby and Clayton Reeves (Duane Henry) being mugged at gunpoint and a gunshot ringing out.

In previews for Tuesday's episode, it appears Abby was struck by the bullet because medical professionals are seen rushing to treat her at a hospital. She's then shown unconscious in a hospital room as the NCIS team visits her.

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Combined with Perrette's ominous tweet stating that she is “so worried about you guys for Tuesdays episode,” it is beginning to look as though Abby’s story will have a tragic ending.

Perette's final appearance on NCIS is Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.