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What Pauley Perrette Has Been Doing Since She Left NCIS

Before NCIS, the typical image of a forensic scientist was a white-haired, white-coated, slightly strange old dude who didn't get enough sunlight. The series turned that perception on its head forever when it introduced us to Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) in the very first episode, all the way back in 2003.

Sciuto still had the white coat, but her tattoos, jet-black ponytails, collection of chokers, quick comebacks, optimistic personality and caffeine addiction (courtesy of all that Caf-Pow) made her a truly unique character in the world of crime dramas. They also made her a favorite with fans and her onscreen team; most famously, she had a mentor/mentee relationship with team boss Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and a will-they-won't-they friendship with Tim McGee (Sean Murray). (The truth about Abby and McGee's relationship on NCIS is pretty complicated — which is why some fans still ship it.)

In 2018, Perrette suddenly left the show. Part of the untold truth of NCIS is that she blamed her departure on Harmon, saying that he was abusive towards her. The show continued on, but her fan base kept wondering what she would do next. Here's what Pauley Perrette has been doing since she left NCIS.

Pauley Perrette is back on CBS starring in Broke

When Perrette left NCIS, she thought she was officially done with acting. "I told everyone, 'I'm retired. I'm going to sit on my couch with my dogs and drink beer for a while,'" she said in an interview. That stuck for a short time: she executive produced a short film called The German King in 2019, but we didn't see her on our TV screens (outside of NCIS reruns.) However, Perrette eventually did waver on her decision to retire. She set some rules for the parts she would take, including not playing a mother.

Neither the retirement nor the no-kids rule played out. As of April 2nd, Perrette is back on CBS, starring in the new sitcom Broke. She plays Jackie, a single mom and bartender whose formerly wealthy sister and brother-in-law move in with her and her son when they unexpectedly lose all their money.

The character is, at least, a departure from Abby Sciuto — and not just because the white coat and Doc Martens have been replaced by t-shirts and overalls. The show sees Perrette get a chance to bring her comedy skills to the forefront, and trade science speak for straight talk. "This is the closest character to me that I have ever played... she's blue collar," Perrette says, possibly referring to the seven years she spent bartending before her big acting break.

Pauley Perrette has been busy away from the cameras

Perrette's IMDB page might be looking a little light post-NCIS, but the actress has been keeping busy working on personal projects. For starters, it sounds like she's going back to her musical roots. That's right: one of the things you never knew about Pauley Perrette is that before she was an actress, she was a musician. She released songs sporadically throughout her NCIS years, and now it sounds like she's working on new material. On March 21, 2020, Perrette dropped a song called "Spin Out" on her Twitter feed, hinting that there are other songs she hasn't released yet.

Perrette's also been making metaphorical noise, this time in the world of politics. She said that she voted for Joe Biden in the Democratic primaries and counts California Representative and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff as "a beloved friend, like family." She and Schiff have been working together on reforming stalking laws: in 2017, Perrette told Entertainment Tonight that she had been stalked for the last 13 years, and wanted to prevent it from happening to other people.

Perrette also often drums up support for charities. Every year, on her birthday — March 27 — she asks her followers to donate to their favorite charities. She's done work for the Red Cross and often focuses on animal charities, and has also been involved with Habitat for Humanity. In honor of her most famous role (so far) she set up the Pauley Perrette Forensic Science Scholarship to help people find a way into forensic science. One thing's for sure: Abby's generous personality wasn't all an act.