Why Pauley Perrette Is Making the Move to Comedy Post-‘NCIS’

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It’s been nearly a year since Pauley Perrette put down her last giant soda on CBS’s NCIS. But the fan favorite is taking steps toward returning to the network this fall — in a comedy.

The actress, who played forensic specialist Abby Sciuto for 15 seasons on the drama, has been cast in the pilot for the sitcom Broke, from executive producers Alex Herschlag (Will & Grace) and Jennie Snyder Urman (Jane the Virgin).

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As a feisty bar manager and single mother, she reluctantly takes in her snobby estranged sister (Another Period’s Natasha Leggero) and ridiculously wealthy brother-in-law (Jaime Camil, another Jane alum) after the couple burns through his trust fund and is cut off by his father. CBS should announce in May if the pilot will be picked up to series.

A comedy may seem like an unexpected turn for Perrette — until you remember that her pre-NCIS TV credits include a costarring role in 1998’s short-lived ABC sitcom That’s Life as well as a guest arc as Drew Carey‘s girlfriend on his eponymous ABC show later that year.

NCIS, Pauley Perrette and Brian Dietzen

Pauley Perrette on NCIS (Jace Downs/CBS)

She also loves to laugh. “For me to have on my DVR 15 sitcoms I watch is amazing, because I like clean comedy,” she told TV Guide Magazine last year. “There are just so [many] brilliant, brilliant comedies out there that are making me so happy. If that’s what’s in store for me, I am looking forward to going back to comedy.”

So while Abby inspired young girls to pursue math and science, Perrette’s next role could get them interested in stand-up. “I love to make people laugh, and it’s a gift from God if you can do it,” she said. “And I know how to do that. I know how to get your funny bone.”

Additional reporting by Aubry D’Arminio