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Inside NCIS stars Brian Dietzen and Pauley Perrette's 20-year friendship

The duo co-starred on NCIS for over a decade

Actors Brian Dietzen and Pauley Perrette at Liberty Hill's Upton Sinclair Awards Dinner at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 23, 2013
Megan Bull
TV Writer
18 March 2024
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Brian Dietzen and Pauley Perrette had a lot of fun together on set. The pair – who presumably met when Brian was cast as Dr Jimmy Palmer in 2004 – co-starred on NCIS for well over a decade. 

And, since Pauley's departure in 2018, the two have kept in contact, regularly commenting on each other's posts and sharing words of support on social media. Here, we're taking a look at their sweet friendship…

Pauley Perrette, Brian Dietzen and Sean Murray at the NCIS 200th episode party© Getty
Pauley Perrette and Brian Dietzen celebrating NCIS' 200th episode in 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words when it comes to Brian and Pauley – they were never not laughing or joking together behind the scenes. One of our favourites is this joyful snap taken at NCIS's 200th episode party in 2012. 

Michael Weatherly, Brian Dietzen and Pauley Perrette posed on the red carpet in 2010© Getty
Brian and Pauley loved to joke around on the red carpet

The duo loved to joke around on the red carpet too, and Pauley and Brian would often rope Michael Weatherly into their fun group photos. 

During their time together on the show, Pauley was known for being extremely complimentary of Brian. After he shared a photo of them at a charity fundraiser, the actress tweeted: "Thank you and I love you @BrianDietzen SO MUCH! And you're one of the greatest actors I've been blessed to work with." 

View post on Twitter

"Thanks, P!  Right back at ya! [love heart emoji] ya," Brian replied in the comments.

In 2018, Pauley confirmed that she would be leaving NCIS, telling fans: "It was a decision made last year. 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."

Abby Sciuto leaves the NCIS team

Naturally, her departure was an emotional one, but for Brian, it was particularly "bittersweet". 

Speaking to CinemaBlend, he said: "I mean personally, obviously it's bittersweet to say goodbye to someone professionally that you've been working with for 15 years. She's been a really close friend for a really long time. I think I have a lot of the same feelings as when Michael Weatherly left the show or when Cote de Pablo did, when she took her leave as well. 

"Twofer" -- NCIS is called in to investigate when the body of a missing Navy Lieutenant who disappeared a year and a half ago is located by a cemetery grounds crew while they are relocating caskets on the property. Also, Gibbs and McGee must pass a psych evaluation with Doctor Grace Confalone (Laura San Giacomo) before officially resuming all work responsibilities, on NCIS. Pictured:  David McCallum, Brian Dietzen, Pauley Perrette.© Getty Images
Brian said Pauley's departure was "bittersweet"

"But similar to their departures, it's kind of the same thing, where you're just kind of like, 'Man, I'm bummed to see you go, but I'm also excited to see what you do next, you know? And I'm excited to see that you get to spread your wings doing something different, you know?' 

MORE: NCIS star Sean Murray talks potential crossover with Tony/Ziva spin-off

READ: Mark Harmon's life and career: From NCIS stardom to on-set feuds, Pam Dawber marriage and incredible act of heroism

Following Pauley's exit, Brian has been quizzed about whether or not she'd return, especially as they've stayed in contact. Asked about the prospect of her return in 2022, the Dr. Jimmy Palmer actor said: "I talked to her over the weekend, and I've not heard anything from her. I do know that in this new script I was just reading, there's mention of her character — not necessarily her, or anything like that. 

Brian Dietzen and Pauley Perrette pose on the red carpet in 2013© Getty
In 2022, Brian explained that he still talks to Pauley and that there's no word on Abby's potential return to NCIS

"But that's the beautiful thing about the show. We can make mention of past characters that are no longer on the show and reference those people as you would a family member who no longer lives in the same house. You still talk about people. They're still in your heart. I love that there's a potential for that, but I haven't heard anything directly about her returning."

View post on Instagram

While Brian and Pauley no longer share the screen, the two regularly interact on social media. Returning to Instagram this month, the Abby Sciuto alum hit back at fans over their criticism of her hair. Lending his support, Brian was among the first to reply, writing: Your hair is perfection, P! Loving the [rainbow emoji] colors. [love heart emoji] ya!

We can't get enough of their adorable friendship. 

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