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How Pauley Perrette's Abby Honors Ducky In NCIS Season 21 (Prepare To Cry)

"NCIS" fans had to keep it together while watching the Season 21 episode, "The Stories We Leave Behind," which sees the central team learn that Ducky (David McCallum) had died. The crew finds a way to persevere, and as expected, an old team member — Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) — swings by for a quick cameo to lend some light amid the darkness. While he was the only returning former castmate, other characters who have since gone away were also included.

At one point, Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) helps clean Kasie Hines' (Diona Reasonover) lab. The camera locks onto a black wreath with a sash reading, "Love You Ducky." Kasie slyly says, "Bet you can guess who it's from," and there's no one else it could be other than former resident goth Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette). The actor left "NCIS" after some reported tension between her and Mark Harmon, and she hasn't made an appearance since her exit on Season 15. And while her character isn't physically present for Ducky's tribute, it's a nice way of showing how much he impacted everyone he worked with over the years, to the point Abby still saw it fit to honor him.

NCIS fans want Abby to return (but don't count on it)

While Abby sending her colleagues a wreath to honor Ducky, complete with a shimmery skull to really drive the point home, was a nice touch, many fans were hoping Pauley Perrette would be back in the flesh. On X (formerly known as Twitter), @docandjohn4ever wrote, "Idk what happened with Pauley but I'm a little disappointed that Abby wasn't more involved." Many shared similar opinions while others were just happy Abby was called to mind in her unique way. 

Is there a chance Abby could return to help with one more case? It doesn't seem likely, as Perrette posted to X in 2019, "NO I AM NOT COMING BACK! EVER! (Please stop asking?)" She continued with allegations of Mark Harmon "attacking [her]." Harmon's no longer on the show as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, but he's still affiliated with "NCIS" as an executive producer. And even though that quote's from 2019, there hasn't been any word since then if Abby might come back.

In a 2022 interview with Xoop, Brian Dietzen was asked about Perrette potentially returning. Even then, he wasn't aware of any plans, saying, "I haven't heard anything directly about her returning." Perrette may never return to "NCIS," but at least Abby is still out there with her friends still close to her heart.