Pauley Perrette on Why She Chose ‘Broke’ Over Retirement After ‘NCIS’

Broke Pauley Perrette TV Return
Sonja Flemming/CBS
Broke with Pauley Perrette

After 15 years in the NCIS lab, Pauley Perrette was ready to laugh. “I wanted to do a comedy. Either that or retire,” says the actress, who played the CBS procedural’s Abby Sciuto until 2018. Thankfully, she chose the former.

As Broke‘s Jackie, she’s a struggling single mom whose idea of a morning time-saver is blowtorching oatmeal for son Sammy (Antonio Corbo). When her estranged sister, Elizabeth (Natasha Leggero), and brother-in-law, Javier (Jaime Camil), go from riches to rags, Jackie reluctantly lets them crash, along with Javier’s assistant (Izzy Diaz) and a dog.

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The actor hints at closure during the 'Jane' series finale, and talks working with Pauley Perrette on 'Broke.'

Perrette invites us in.

What caused the rift between Jackie and her sister?

Pauley Perrette: Their dad’s in prison, and mom died. Elizabeth married a rich guy and disappeared. So Jackie’s pissed — she could have used their help raising a child. When they show up, there’s a lot of history. Not all of it’s good.

What’s the major conflict?

Mostly it’s cultural. Jackie wouldn’t know a Louis Vuitton suitcase. Elizabeth and Javier are cocktails and caviar. But Javier’s not the arrogant-jerk rich guy. He’s lived in a bubble and is naive. His father’s cut him off. Every character is played a little differently than [you’d expect].

Pauley Perrette Broke CBS Comedy Jackie Bartender

(Cliff Lipson/CBS)

Jackie’s a bartender, and so were you. How else are you alike?

She’s also a mechanic and a tool freak. I’m kind of a tool freak. I’m from Alabama, so they raised us like that — and my dad didn’t have any boys, so me and my sister are like dudes.

Did you really consider retiring?

I was going to drink beer with my three dogs and watch television. [Laughs] My family, friends and pastor didn’t think it was the best idea. I didn’t even want to play a mom, but now Antonio is the center of my universe. He brightens my life!

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Plus, find out what Jaimie Camil, Natasha Leggero, and Izzy Diaz had to say about one character's expensive wardrobe.

Broke, Series Premiere, April 2, 9:30/8:30c, CBS