Even if you’ve never watched NCIS, if you saw a commercial for it or an ad popped up while scrolling through Netflix, you would recognize the punky, alternative woman in the lab coat at first sight.
The character was Abby Sciuto, and she was the glue holding the show down for an impressive fifteen years. The actress behind the bangs was Pauley Perrette, portraying one of the most beloved characters on television. Find out what this gorgeous gothic symbol has been up to since her days as Abby.
The multi-talented powerhouse that is Pauley Perrette was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on March 27, 1969, to parents Donna Bell and Paul Perrette. Her family moved around a lot growing up, and she briefly lived in Alabama, California, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, New Jersey, and New York. Whew!
Pauley is also someone you would want on your team for trivia night. Or to help you cover up a crime. She studied criminal justice at Valdosta State University in Georgia and started on her master’s in criminal science at Georgia State University before moving to New York to start at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She could school you in psychology, sociology, and criminal science.
It was chance and a whim that got her to move to Los Angeles to give acting a try. Perrette had worked just about every job in New York before being introduced to an advertising agency director by a friend.
Her first credits were as Shannon in the ABC special Magical Make-Over in 1994, as Gwen on season two of Murder One, as a waitress in two episodes of Frasier in 1996, and as Darcy for four episodes on The Drew Carey Show in 1998.
Early acting career
Pauley’s first movie roles were in the 1997 films The Price of Kissing and Hand on the Pump and Hoofboy in 1998. But by 2000, things were starting to move along for Pauley.
She had a role in the hit dramedy film Almost Famous in 2000 and played Beth in the 2002 horror film The Ring. She even landed in two episodes of the popular teen series Dawson’s Creek in 2001.
But where we all know Pauley’s face from is as Abby Sciuto on NCIS. The character’s first time on screen was in 2003 on the legal drama show JAG in two episodes in season eight. Then came NCIS. The show was a side quest of the hit JAG, making its debut in 2003.
Perrette, of course, portrayed Abby Sciuto, a Forensic Specialist.
The intelligent goth with the bubbly personality earned Pauley the title of television’s most popular actress in 2011. Possibly one of the smartest and most beloved characters on TV, Abby was an expert in DNA analysis, ballistics, and digital forensics.
From season one through season fifteen, Pauley’s Abby was in every single episode, for a total of 352 appearances. In 2019, she jumped over to the spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles for two episodes and appeared on the other spin-off NCIS: New Orleans for two episodes.
Pauley departed the franchise in 2018, stating that she had to step away after an incident with main cast member Mark Harmon’s dog on set, and other altercations with the actor.
She may not have thought it all bad about her departure, as she was hospitalized in 2014 due to a ridiculously severe reaction to all of that black hair dye to get the iconic gothic look. For comparison, Pauley is a natural blonde. At least her scalp should be happy.
What did she do after NCIS?
Well, seeing as how Perrette was on the show for so long, it’s more like did she do anything else while on it? And yes, she did. Pauley appeared in a few movies, like The Singularity Is Near in 2008, the horror film Satan Hates You in 2010, and I Am Bad in 2012. She lent her voice as Lois Lane in the Superman vs. The Elite animated film in 2012 and as Delilah Domino in the 2015 aminated movie Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery.
Perrette also served as executive producer for projects like Citizen Lane in 2013 (which she also directed), An Act of Love in 2015, and The German King in 2019.
What is Pauley Perrette been up to?
Besides acting, Pauley was in a band called Lo-Ball. One of their songs “Can’t Get Down” was featured in the film Legally Blonde. She co-wrote the song “Fear,” which was in the NCIS episode “Aliyah” in season six. Pauley is also an author and poet, and one of her short stories made it into an anthology.
True to her character on NCIS, Pauley lent her talents to America’s Most Wanted a few times.
She’s also active with animal rescues, civil rights issues, the American Red Cross, and fights for LGBT rights.
She starred in and produced the TV sitcom series Broke in 2020. The show only lasted one season before it was canceled, and after the project wrapped, Pauley stated that she was retiring from acting.
But you can still see what Pauley’s up to, as she joined Instagram this year. From throwbacks to doggo pics to raising awareness for great causes, she posts it all.
Pauley was first married to Coyote Shivers, a Canadian musician and actor (Johnny Mnemonic, Empire Records). The pair wed in 2000, by 2004 had separated, and divorced in 2006. The union wasn’t a healthy match, and Perrette had a restraining order granted against Shivers.
She then went on to have a relationship with Michael Bosman, a cameraman, and the couple became engaged in 2008, but broke up not long after.
Pauley tried for love again, and in late 2011 announced that she was engaged to Thomas Arklie, a former British Royal Marine.
It seems Pauley has put acting behind her, but her activism is still a passion for her. With a legacy like Abby Sciuto and her time on NCIS cemented in television history, her work will be around for the next generations of fans to discover.