‘NCIS’ Fans Say This Character “Regressed” as the Show Progressed

NCIS has been on the air for sixteen successful seasons; thus, the show has had ample time to provide viewers with intriguing backstories, complex character development, and captivating interpersonal relationships for each of its main leads.

NCIS Cast
(L-R) Actors Michael Weatherly, Brian Dietzen, Pauley Perrette, Mark Harmon, Cote de Pablo, Sean Murray, Rocky Caroll and David McCallum | Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Though many police and crime-oriented dramas fall victim to the pitfalls of an episodic format – forgetting to carry series-long narrative arcs to completion, NCIS succeeds on this front. Not to mention, it’s one of the many qualities separating the show from other network dramas of its kin. 

NCIS fans have watched Gibbs transform – needing to say less and less each season to communicate his thoughts. Viewers watched DiNozzo became more of a man, and McGee has come into his own – less “probie,” and more “second man in charge.” However, not every character progressed with the show. Many fans argue that one character regressed with each developing season.

‘NCIS’ fans feel Pauley Perrette’s Abby Sciuto “regressed” and grew “difficult to tolerate” with each passing season 

Abby was a fan favorite for many years in NCIS. She departed the series in 2018, after starring as the nerdy, yet cool scientist for sixteen successful seasons. However, many fans may have been ready for her departure a few seasons earlier. One NCIS enthusiast noted:

“Abby’s character is probably the most regressed in NCIS history (and probably on any broadcast show.) She went from this smart, sassy, adult with quirks to a cartoon character (per PP’s own words) that seems to get more immature each year. I actually dread watching Abby seasons now, especially any after season 8.”

While Abby may have been introduced as a “smart and sassy” bad***, many fans feel her character became a caricature of herself – an unrealistic exaggeration, failing to offer up relatable human qualities. Another fan noted Abby’s intolerable transformation, stating:

“I thought I was the only one who felt this way. PP is a phenomenal actress, but her character grew increasing[ly] difficult to “tolerate” over the years.”

Another NCIS fan goes onto note that, the show began adding techno music to Abby’s scenes when she, to some extent, had lost her “edge” on the show. This addition only further turned her into an “idea” of a person, a character who, unlike the others, lacked a tangible, relatable foundation from which to materialize into a more “real” being.

To summarize: characters are supposed to grow with time. Quirks should become qualities. Tendencies should become behaviors. However, many fans argued that this transformation never happened for Abby Sciuto. Abby stayed a “cartoon” of sorts and, as the show progressed, she dove further into that narrative, regressing as those around her developed.

Some fans argue that Abby’s lack of development in ‘NCIS’ may have been Pauley Perrette’s fault 

Some fans argue that the writers behind NCIS simply dropped the ball when it came to Abby’s development, keeping her a child way past the point it was acceptable. However, other fans note that Perrette may have played a part in Abby’s outward characterization. One fan stated:

“The sad thing is, some of this CAN be blamed on her. She has said many times she loves playing Abby because she gets to be a cartoon character. To each their own I guess.”

Another fan chimed in to emphasize the connection established between Perrette and Abby, explaining that the Techno music added to Abby’s scenes was actually Perrette’s, implying that decision may have, in some part, been Perrette’s call.

Whether or not Pauley Perrette had anything to do with Abby’s apparent lack of growth is debatable; however, several fans feel she may have played a part in retaining Abby’s shtick – a shtick that never received the proper treatment it deserved.