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The Most Heartbreaking Abby Moment From NCIS

"NCIS" hit the small screen in September of 2003 and soon became another feather in the cap of decorated television creator Donald P. Bellisario. Though it is technically a "JAG" spinoff, the show has become a TV staple all on its own. At the time of this writing, it has surpassed the 400 episode mark and is in the midst of Season 19 with little sign of slowing down. Fans still adore the sometimes difficult-to-watch stories it has to tell, but perhaps more importantly, they can't get enough of its now-iconic cast of characters.

Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) became the face of "NCIS" throughout his tenure on the show, but he certainly couldn't crack as many cases as he did without a strong, loyal team behind him. One of the standout members of that squad was Pauley Perrette's Abby Sciuto, who served as the NCIS Major Case Response Team's tattooed, enthusiastic Chief Forensic Scientist. She was smart, capable, and totally unique — giving audiences a new perspective on people who live alternative lifestyles and breaking down stereotypes that had plagued media for years.

Despite her strengths as a character, Abby Sciuto faced her fair share of heartbreaking moments during her time on "NCIS." Here's one that stands out as possibly the most disheartening of the bunch.

Abby's goodbye was tear-jerking

Abby Sciuto debuted in the very first episode of "NCIS," titled "Yankee White," and immediately became a fixture on the program. She displayed a deep-rooted love for her job and those she worked with, striking up strong bonds with the likes of Gibbs and Special Agent Tim McGee (Sean Murray). Through her line of work and personal relationships, viewers got to see her grow as a person while learning more about her and the life she lived outside of the lab. The only consequence to this is that when she left the show in 2018, her goodbye was hard to take.

Abby's final "NCIS" appearance came in the episode "Two Steps Back" from Season 22. The previous installment, "One Step Forward," saw her and MI6 Agent Clayton Reeves (Duane Henry) cornered by a gun-wielding mugger. We learn that he fired his gun, and Reeves did his best to protect Abby at the cost of his own life. Following this traumatic event and a brief recovery from her injuries, Abby made the decision to leave the NCIS behind and move to London, England, to open up a charity in Reeves' honor — a lifelong dream of his.

As if witnessing Abby leave "NCIS" after over a decade on the program wasn't heartbreaking enough, the fact that Pauley Perrette and Mark Harmon parted ways on bad terms makes it even worse. Tensions between the two actors boiled over during Perrette's final days on set, resulting in them filming Gibbs and Abby's scenes separately. Given the connection the two characters shared on-screen, this adds an extra layer of sadness to the entire situation that makes Abby's farewell especially painful.