Pauley Perrette Confirms NCIS Exit, Makes Fans Sad

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NCIS is losing a key cast member.

But not any time in the very near future at least.

Pauley Perrette on NCIS

In a surprising turn of events, Pauley Perrette announced on Tuesday morning that she's leaving the highest-rated show on network television.

Perrette, who has portrayed forensic specialist Abby Sciuto on the popular drama since its very first episode, confirmed this unexpected piece of news on Twitter.

She says she'll at least be around through the end of NCIS Season 15, which we assume will wrap up in May.

"So, it is true that I am leaving NCIS after this season," Perrette wrote, quickly shooting down any rumors as to why she made this choice:

"There has been all kinds of false stories as to why (NO I DON'T HAVE A SKIN CARE LINE AND NO MY NETWORK AND SHOW ARE NOT MAD AT ME!).

"It was a decision made last year."

Pauley Perrette note

"I hope everyone will love and enjoy EVERYTHING ABBY not only for the rest of this season but for everything she has given all of us for 16 years.

"All the love, all the laughter, all the inspiration…I love her as much as you do."

NCIS airs Tuesday nights at 8/7 on CBS.

It is anchored by Mark Harmon as Special Agent Gibbs, and has been from the beginning, along with an ensemble team of co-stars.

Sean Murray, Emily Wickersham, Wilmer Valderrama, Maria Bello, Brian Dietzen, Duane Henry, Rocky Carroll and David McCallum all co-star.

The series has lost a pair of big-time cast members in the past and managed to continue thriving in their absence.

Pauley Perrette Pic

For example, original cast member Michael Weatherly left after Season 13 and currently stars on Bull.

Cote de Pablo also memorably said goodbye to the beloved character of Ziva in 2013 after a decade on CBS.

Jennifer Esposito also didn't return this year after appearing on the series often throughout Season 14.

Once Perrette leaves, the only remaining original NCIS cast members will be Harmon and David McCallum (because Murray only recurred on Season 1).

But there's simply no slowing down the NCIS train.

It continues to dominate in the ratings and will likely remain on the air for as long as Harmon wants to remain its star.

Losing Abby as a character will be an especially tough blow, though. Will you keep watching after Perrette says goodbye?

Or can you not imagine an NCIS world in which she isn't a significant player, week in and week out, as the forensics guru?

If she has to go, how would you send her character off into the sunset? What kind of ending for Abby's arc can you foresee?

Tell us below.

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