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The Abby Scene That Went Too Far On NCIS

Being in law enforcement, the "NCIS" agents often have to make snap decisions in the middle of dangerous and intense situations. This means that sometimes their judgments can seem rash. Other times their quick thinking saves lives. Over the course of an incredible 19 seasons and 400-plus episodes, several characters on the CBS procedural make mistakes and commit morally ambiguous actions for the sake of their colleagues and country. This can mean going too far with a suspect or endangering a partner's life in the middle of a tense standoff. For the Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents, this is often a difficult part of the job they have to live with.

In contrast, the sunny goth forensics investigator Abby (Pauley Perrette) stays outside the field, so she rarely has the chance to "break bad" compared to Gibbs (Mark Harmon) or DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly). A generous and playful person, Abby also doesn't have Gibbs' demons or the family complications of Ziva (Cote de Pablo). However, fans were still surprised at how Abby behaves with her colleagues in one particular episode.

Redditors take issue with this Season 5 Abby moment

A 2019 Reddit post from u/TimeLordMaster108 on the r/NCIS subreddit discussed Season 5 episode "Dog Tags" (via IMDb), which contains a hot-button Abby scene. The episode kicks off when the team attempts to serve a warrant to a suspect, only they find the suspect dead and the suspect's dog attacking Agent McGee (Sean Murray). McGee sustains a serious bite injury on his neck while defending himself, and non-fatally shoots the canine to subdue him. Given the dog's treatment of humans while on the scene, the NCIS team also believes it's the one who kills the suspect. 

However, Abby sees things differently. Furious with McGee, she is convinced that the dog did nothing wrong and risks her career to prove the canine's innocence. In an early scene in the "Dog Tags" episode, Abby berates McGee when she learns he shot the dog and doesn't believe him when he tries to explain the severity of the attack. While u/TimeLordMaster108 felt that Abby meant well, they wrote that the dog "almost tore [McGee's] arm off and gave him a life-long fear of dogs but she doesn't show the slightest bit of sympathy to her friend, and she never apologizes."

Fans agree Abby treated McGee way too harshly

Other Redditors agreed with u/TimeLordMaster108 that Abby's treatment of McGee makes absolutely no sense. Considering how close they are, her anger feels like a harsh reaction to McGee's injury. U/SHIELDSxYaYa commented that Abby also "forces (more like threatens) McGee to actually contribute for flowers for the dog. AND LATER FORCES HIM TO TAKE HIM IN AS A PET." Elsewhere, u/toadsanchez420 writes at different points in a lengthy comment, "Apparently, this dog she just f***ing met is more important than her friend, coworker, and ex-lover," and goes on to point out that, despite McGee telling her the truth about what happened, it's ironic that "she tells him that 'sometimes you have to face the reality in front of you and accept it'" because she apparently doesn't follow her own advice.

Abby may love animals but this is still very insensitive to what McGee went through. She eventually proves the dog's innocence, even naming him Jethro after Gibbs, but that doesn't mean McGee should have to adopt a semi-hostile animal who attacked him. It's not one of her better moments on the crime drama.

Other NCIS fans say this Abby moment makes her unlikable

Not only does Abby's treatment of McGee in "Dog Tags" rub "NCIS" fans the wrong way, but many have also pointed out in separate Reddit threads that her behavior does her no favors. In fact, several fans revealed how Abby's attitude in this Season 5 episode turned them off, with the consensus agreeing she becomes a selfish, petulant person they don't enjoy watching.

An August 2021 post on the r/NCIS subreddit includes a comment from u/realclowntime, who highlights "Dog Tags" as one of the worst "NCIS" episodes ever. The Redditor then characterizes the "NCIS" installment as one of the "quintessential 'Abby is a petulant child just cuz [sic]' episodes." Just a few months earlier, an entire thread dedicated to "Dog Tags" popped up on r/NCIS from u/hpspnmag, who wrote at length about how the entire episode made them dislike Abby. They explained that "the fact is that she was highly unprofessional" went the time came to surrender the dog and went on to voice a distaste for the way she doesn't take McGee's feelings into account.

U/hpspnmag's post elicited a comment from u/puppup23 that appears to best sum up the entire issue with "Dog Tags" and the way it depicts Abby: "I always loved early seasons Abby but as the show progressed I felt like she got more selfish, childish, and unprofessional. It was a weird regression, like they tried too hard to make her quirky."