There are many things that are supercool about Abby Sciuto. It’s easy to harp on about her aesthetic, her taste in music, her ability to use unconventional methods to make sure that justice is served! She might not have the action chick flair of Ziva David or Kate Todd…
..but Abby fights crime. As a lab geek, it would be easy to have her sidelined, cast aside and there to drop cookies for the agents and portray her as nothing more than a quirky Caf-Pow addict.
But Abby gets storylines all her own. Memorably, in the episode “Cover Story,” back when McGee was secretly an author and based a character after Abby which made her the target of a Thom E Gemcity superfan’s wrath. She and McGee had a brief fling around that time as well, but it didn’t ruin their friendship. In season 2, Abby goes undercover to catch a Black Widow and a serial rapist. Or when gets herself in a tight spot, abducted on her way to testify and defend her evidence, a task for which she vainly attempts to turn down her eye catching style, the men are about to run to her rescue but when they find reach her, she tasers the hell out of her would be attacker and saves her own self.
In the season 3 episode “Bloodbath,” she has a stalker ex-boyfriend, things turn deadly when she has fake evidence left in her lab that triggered a dangerous chemical reaction: She told McGee to drop to the floor and explained what had happened while they crawled across the lab, McGee flips her onto her back and risks his health to drag her out. She does some soul searching in Gibbs’s basement, wondering if it’s all her fault, if she brought this on herself. He lets her find her own answers and a drunken Abby says that it’s not her fault and that he’s a creep. The character is very vulnerable and this terrifying situation is shown without victim blaming and turned out to be a touching and remarkable episode. Abby is embarrassed to tell everyone what she has going on, she questions herself… but in the end, with support, she overcomes the situation. It was wonderfully written and acted, conveying perfectly that partner abuse can affect anyone and how those relationships can influence the victim’s mentality.
Back in season 1, Abby’s fear of autopsy alerts everyone to an emergency after a terrorist infiltrates Ducky’s lab and demands all evidence returned… but this also gets Kate into a dangerous situation when she pretends to be Abby and Gerald shot for playing along with the scheme. (In the end, Abby conquers her fear and sleeps in the morgue.)
In season 5, she saves a military dog who is accused of murder. The dog also took a bite out of McGee -who shot him. Abby defies McGee and Director Shepherd to clear the canine’s name.
And you could be thinking that these plots make Abby seem like a kid sister, and to an extent that isn’t inaccurate. Abby is a very relatable character, what makes that so is that she isn’t perfect, she has struggles. She has family issues (like when she finds out she has a brother she hadn’t known) and abusive exes, she takes loss (of both Kate and Jenny) hard. She hides out at Gibbs’s house on occasion and one time at McGee’s. She let’s personal problems (like when she had body image issues after a little person she was dating said he liked smaller girls) interfere with work persona.
Basically she’s an actual human being.
And if you take a look around at the people you know, you will probably find that some of your favorites are a little much. A little immature, quirky… but cool, compassionate and always waiting with a comforting hug… mine are anyway.
And besides, it’s not always Abby that needs saving.
In season 7 she’s called to Mexico to teach a seminar on forensics in cold cases. Day one she deals with catty co-eds, but soon she’s got more trouble as a cartel leader, Paloma Reynosa, gives her a bullet. The one that killed her father. The case that she’s set to work is that of Gibbs’s deceased wife and daughter. Their killer was Paloma;s father, Pedro. And the bullet that that killed Pedro? Abby finds out that the bullet striations matched Gibbs’s SIG Sauer.
And Abby’s faith is shattered and she’s mad. She’s mad that she’s in a situation where she has to compromise her ethics. Gibbs never confesses. He never says one way or another whether he planned and executed the execution of his family’s killer. But Abby, true to herself, true to her sense of right and wrong, good and evil, decides that Gibbs doesn’t get a pass. Not because he’s saved people. Not because he’s her friend. She submits the report, which Vance then “loses”. And it was there that Abby’s character was proven.
She’s also a total babe. Not just when she’s playing dress up. Her *unconventional* style gets her plenty of attention as well, aside from the hookup with McGee, she uses her swagger to make connections that gain her access to NASA equipment.
And the babely actress, Pauley Perrette:
Brings some of herself into the character as well. On the season 1 DVD, talking about her childhood, it’s said that she grew up near a junkyard and would see all the wrecked cars come in. She would analyze where the damage was and what might have happened to the cars. Young Abby appears in flashbacks in the season 10 episode “Hit and Run” where she is shown investigating “her first case.”
Pauley Perrette also makes music as the front woman of “Stop Making Friends”and her vocals have appeared on NCIS soundtracks.
Perrette has also been well known for her involvement with the NO H8 campaign. NO H8 was started in response to the ban of same sex marriage in California in 2008, it’s a silent protest that uses social media, education and outreach to give a public voice to those struggling with bullying, discrimination and inequality.
Pauley helped design this dress and wore it to the People’s Choice awards in 2011. She likened this to wearing her heart on her sleeve.
All of this leaves me to wonder if it’s life imitating art or art imitating life that Perrette is as caring and cool as Abby.
Recently the actress suffered a serious allergic reaction to hair dye which inspired me to go back to henna over chemical dyes. The future of Abby’s raven locks may be in jeopardy and the star is weighing her options.
Abby’s character development has taken her from “kid sister” to “best man”, from quirky goth lab tech to indispensible team member, she’s panicked and gotten it together to help her friends, she’s questioned the morality of those in her life and she is cautious about who to trust but once you are in her heart, that’s where you stay. Abby deals with things very humanly, she’s a very well written character. Remember how she famously disliked Ziva at first? This wasn’t because of the “women hate each other” trope, this was because she was still grieving and she could only think of Ziva as Kate’s replacement and she wasn’t ready. And everyone loves Gibbs (and the ass-kicking Ziva David) but it’s Abby who saves the team from mediocrity.