An Open Letter to Mark Harmon and Pauley Perrette.

I get it. I was raised in a family of actors. You’re not the characters you so giftedly played; you’re real people with real lives and real issues, just like the rest of us.

But speaking as someone who has spent the last several months binging the entire run of NCIS¹, you (not unlike the casts of Criminal Minds, Fringe, Blue Bloods, and others)… to me, your characters became family.

And while I can’t speak for the rest of your fan base, what happened behind the scenes which ultimately led to earth-shaking changes in the cast, and the gulf between you which continues to this day, broke my heart.

When I think of the countless interactions between Gibbs and Abby – not the little affectionate pecks and compliments, but the big ones where your characters were displaying pain and vulnerability and true affection and mutual respect and growth – to see that relationship sullied by offscreen animosity and estrangement… Well, it’s downright sad, and the optics for the show which will continue to be available for generations yet unborn are bad. Really bad. Like, thermonuclear bad.

When I think of the years during which Gibbs and Abby supported each other and helped each other through the most difficult times and experiences not unlike a devoted father and daughter,² I cannot imagine their being unable to help each other through a rift like this. Or to accept this kind of separation without fighting tooth and nail for a reconciliation.

I don’t really care about what happened on set. Life is complicated, we’re all human and things happen. Accidents happen. People make mistakes. Words are exchanged. Egos get wounded. Feelings get hurt. It doesn’t really matter. I’m not judging, I’m pleading.

I exhort you to bury the hatchet. It’s been six years now. Sack up,  or as Margo from “The Magicians” might say, ovary up, put your injured pride behind you, and become the friends in real life that you so expertly portrayed for so many years onscreen. Generations of fans will thank you if you do.

– The Old Wolf has spoken.

Footnotes

¹ I have no good reason for why it took me so long to discover this amazing series. I have no excuse other than that life is really busy and there’s so much in the world. But I’m so glad I did. Almost every episode brought me to tears with the goodness and strong relationships demonstrated by the characters and the bonds that they forged and the growth that they demonstrated.

² Yes, yes, you were reading lines on a script written for you by others, but the way you did it made your characters become real, like that velveteen rabbit. You were loved to that level.

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