Former ‘NCIS’ Star Talks Exiting Show by Taking Bullet for Pauley Perrette’s Character

by Suzanne Halliburton
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One NCIS episode knocked out two major characters. Can you remember which one?

Think back to 2018, to an episode dubbed Two Steps Back. It ran May 8, 2018 and was the conclusion to a story arc that started with One Step Forward the week before. Any of that jog your memory?

It was the hour in which NCIS killed off Clayton Reeves and said farewell to Abby Scuito as a character on the show. Call it an exceptionally brutal episode for anyone who loved the show.

Duane Henry portrayed Clayton Reeves, the former MI6 agent. He had a bromance with Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and good chemistry with other characters. And his death happened after Abby (Pauley Perrette) asked him to a ritzy restaurant. The two ate dinner, then as the episode closed, appeared to be the victims of a mugging gone so very wrong. Shots were fired as One Step Forward ended and cut to black.

As Two Steps Forward opened the next week, NCIS fans believed Abby might be the body under the sheet in Ducky’s morgue. But it was Reeves.

Three years later, Henry was talking about his departure from NCIS. While doing publicity for his new Hallmark Christmas movie, Henry looked back at his final episode for the most popular network drama on air.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better exit,” Henry told Parade.com. “As I say all the time, if someone would have asked, ‘How would you have wanted to leave a show?’ I couldn’t have done it any better because I love (Perrette) so much, she did so much for me. And I still speak to her, we check up on each other.”

CBS/2018

Henry said his departure from NCIS probably was inevitable. Gary Glasberg, the showrunner who created his character, died in September, 2016.

“But, obviously, with Gary Glasberg’s death, rest in peace, he was the creative controller of that character,” Henry said. “It was his character. He passed away straight after I got the part. So, a lot of the ideas for my character died with him. It was very tough [for the other writers] to hustle around and build up scenarios and scenes for this character because it was all in Gary’s head, and it was early on and no one expected that.”

So given that he could see it was the end of his character, Henry said, in hindsight, he likes being linked to such a big moment in the show.

“I think towards the end of my time there, we started to see the signs and realized I wasn’t feeling as useful as I would like to,” he said. “And, obviously, they made the decision to wrap it up with Pauley. So, it was interesting to be a part of pop culture as well, to die like that for a character. I still get people DMing me, nearly every day, every week, with tears and upset. Some people still haven’t seen it and it hits them in their own personal way. So, to affect people like that, it’s really creepy, really interesting.”

Outsider.com