‘NCIS’: Why Pauley Perrette’s Rumored Return Won’t Happen

NCIS is about to start its remarkable 20th season at CBS. We know the main cast members, and we’ve heard rumors about the possible return of Michael Weatherly’s agent Tony DiNozzo (which would be a desperate move, if you ask us). But Weatherly isn’t the only former cast member that might return. Even though the actor said she’d never come back, want Pauley Perrette’s Abby Sciuto to return to NCIS, but it’s unlikely to happen for one major reason.

‘NCIS’ actors Sean Murray (left) and Pauley Perrette | Robert Voets/CBS

‘NCIS’ producer teases Pauley Perrette’s return as Abby Sciuto

Mark Harmon starred as agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs starting with NCIS’ first episode, but his character was written off the show early in season 19. Harmon’s Gibbs was the constant on the show while other actors have come and gone.

Some actors have returned by mention or archive footage, while others reappeared years later, such as Cote de Pablo’s Ziva David returning for a story arc. NCIS producer Steven D. Binder expressed a desire to pay homage to Perrette’s Abby Sciuto.

“I want to start [involving] Abby’s character as well. I’d like to start feeling her [presence] a little more,” Binder said, reports TV Line. “I thought we were a little remiss in not [doing that sooner], but there are so many moving parts. But she is still out there fighting the good fight and watching us, and she is a part of us, and we’re a part of her.”

As much as Binder wants it to happen, Perrette returning to NCIS for a story arc or guest appearance isn’t going to happen.

Mark Harmon presents one major obstacle to Pauley Perrette returning to ‘NCIS’

Perrette played the NCIS team’s forensic scientist Abby Sciuto for 15 seasons, starting with the first campaign in 2003. Her departure from the show came under less than-ideal-circumstances.

Fifteen years of filming 20 episodes or more of a scripted drama isn’t easy, but the working conditions on NCIS didn’t make it easier. Perrette slammed Harmon and CBS for contributing to an unsafe work environment. According to her, Harmon’s dog bit a crew member, which led to Perrette not feeling safe on set. The actors didn’t appear on screen together after the dog bite incident.

Binder wants Perrette to return as Abby, but Harmon is still an obstacle standing in the way of making that happen.

Harmon’s character might be off the show, but he’s still a part of NCIS as an executive producer, a role he’s held since 2008, per IMDb. As an EP, he has a ton of creative control behind the scenes. Perrette remained loyal to the show for many years, but she publicly called out Harmon for creating an unsafe environment that influenced her decision to leave NCIS. Unless Perrette and Harmon have quietly mended fences, it’s hard to imagine Harmon, as NCIS executive producer, being OK with Perrette returning as Abby in any way, even just a mention.

Another hurdle to Perrette’s NCIS return? The fact that she retired from Hollywood a few years after leaving the show. That would rule out a guest appearance, and it seems unlikely that Harmon would greenlight archive footage of Perrette or mentions of Abby. Put them together, and Perrette’s chances of coming back to NCIS are a shred above 0%.

Perrette remains friends with some of her former castmates

There’s seemingly no love lost between Harmon and Perrette, but she remains friendly with some of her former castmates.

Before filming for NCIS Season 20 started, Perrette and Brian Dietzen (Jimmy Palmer) found time to catch up over the summer, according to a Twitter pic she shared. Perrette revealed she and Weatherly remained friends as she came to his defense when a co-star accused him of sexual harassment.

She remains friends with some former co-stars, but Harmon is a major obstacle preventing Pauley Perrette’s rumored NCIS return.

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