Movies & TV

Pauley Perrette and Michael Weatherly: A Pact to Make NCIS Funny as Possible

NCIS, the hit naval crime drama, has been captivating audiences on CBS since 2003. Even in its 21st season, the show continues to deliver new stories each week. While many fans yearn for the return of Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), who departed in season 15, her impact on the series is undeniable.

For over a decade, Perrette’s Abby Sciuto was a central character on NCIS. Her dark aesthetic was balanced by a quirky sense of humor that endeared her to viewers. The chemistry between Abby and her co-star Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) was a highlight for many fans. But what some may not know is that the actors’ comedic rapport wasn’t entirely scripted.

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Pauley Perrette and Michael Weatherly decided to switch to the NCIS series

Like Abby, Special Agent Tony DiNozzo was a cornerstone of NCIS for 13 seasons. The show might have been a different beast without the comedic counterpoint that Michael Weatherly and Pauley Perrette brought to the often grim world of NCIS.


Sure, the series had humorous moments, but Weatherly and Perrette recognized an opportunity to take things a step further. They believed that infusing the show with more humor would broaden its appeal. And they were right.

NCIS Europe to Reunite Tony and Ziva, and More Surprises to Come
Actor who played Tony DiNozzo and Pauley Perrette agreed to add humor to NCIS stories

Perrette and Weatherly’s behind-the-scenes collaboration added a vital balance to NCIS’s dark plotlines. Their improvisational humor kept the show from taking itself too seriously, and their characters were all the richer for it.

“Mark [Harmon] and I can create something, just a look between the characters or some fun physical element,” Perrette once told TV Guide [via Live Journal]. “My job is to take all those long lines and not just memorize them and say them, but do it 100 times faster, because she’s addicted to caffeine.” And make it fun. Michael Weatherly [Tony] and I told each other that when the show started, we would make each episode as funny as possible. That’s the fun part: figuring out how to incorporate comedy into drama.”

Abby Sciuto and Tony DiNozzo remain two of NCIS’s most beloved characters. While fans wait for Pauley Perrette’s potential return, Michael Weatherly reprised his role in season 21, episode 2. There’s also a sequel spin-off in the works, following Weatherly’s Tony DiNozzo and his wife Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) in Europe. This new series promises to reveal what’s become of the characters.

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