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Former Atlantan Pauley Perrette says goodbye to 'NCIS' after 15 seasons

Former Roswell resident Pauley Perrette bid farewell to the long-time No. 1 CBS drama "NCIS" Tuesday night after 15 seasons.

Her character, the quirky forensic scientist Abby Sciuto has been one of the most popular characters on TV. SPOILER ALERT: Abby, in the final episode, is shot in murder-for-hire situation but survives. Then Abby decides to leave "NCIS." (More details here.)

Perrette, on CBS's "The Talk," told the panel how gratified she has been that her character has influenced countless women to go into science and math fields.

“Yeah, it’s been such an incredible journey, this one little fictional television character,” she said “It has been enormous and overwhelming for young girls around the world, every country in the world, and over the course of 15 years … to have modeled themselves after this TV character, and it made math and science not only a viable plan for them but it made it accessible and fun. And it inspired these girls, which has been so heartwarming.”

Perrette, 49, spent nine years of her childhood in Atlanta in the late 1970s and 1980s and graduated from the now demolished Crestwood High School. She grew up in Roswell by the Chattahoochee River and was known at the time as Laura. She became interested in crime thanks in part to the notorious Atlanta child murder cases in the early 1980s. She studied sociology, psychology and criminal science at Valdosta State University and pursued (but never finished) a masters in criminology at Georgia State University.

She told me in 2010: “It’s a smart, funny, fun show. It’s a total blessing. I love my job!”

RELATED: My 2010 profile of Pauley Perrette

Perrette didn't have a specific reason why she chose to leave now.

"I believe in God and the universe so firmly, and it just suddenly became blindingly apparent that now was the time," Perrette said in an interview with "TV Guide." "After a lot of thought, I decided to announce it myself on Twitter because I didn’t want it to be turned into anything 'shocking.' Abby leaving is more than a cheap TV ploy."

Although "NCIS" doesn't pull in the 20 million-plus vieweres it used to during its peak years, it remains one of CBS's most popular programs. Last night's episode drew nearly 15 million viewers, its largest overnight numbers in 15 months.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.