‘NCIS’ Fans Demand This Character Receive Their Own Spin-Off

by Suzanne Halliburton

NCIS fans believed they discovered a female version of Gibbs when Abigail Boren first walked into the offices at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard a dozen years ago.

Diane Neal portrayed Boren. More specifically, she was the Coast Guard’s Investigational Service’s version of Gibbs. Fans wanted Gibbs (Mark Harmon) to date her. Or they pondered whether CBS should give Neal her own spinoff.

Neal appeared in nine episodes in the NCIS universe. Six were in the OG series, while three happened with spinoff NCIS: New Orleans. Each time, Boren was a strong character, working with the Naval agents. However, in her very first episode — “Jurisdiction” in 2010 — there was all sorts of friction. NCIS was investigating the death of a Navy diver. But the Coast Guard investigators got the call, too, because of the death of a boat captain.

Abigail Boren works a case with Gibbs and DiNozzo. (Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2013)

Boren even used the patented Gibbs’ head slap right in front of Tony DiNozzo when she first appeared in the DC offices. But she thumped one of her agent’s heads, as opposed to Gibbs swatting Tony when he said something stupid.

She also stood up to Gibbs when they first met. There’s nothing like NCIS/CGIS agents getting all territorial.

“So what’s your beef, Gibbs?” Abby snapped. “That I’m Coast Guard, that I’m a woman or that I managed to get the drop on you in that house?” The agents finally bonded when Boren sent her Coast Guard people to intercept a fugitive on a faraway island.

Cliff Lipson/CBS 2010)

So no wonder sentimental NCIS fans still ponder why she never got her own show. Obviously, they’d watch. There’s even a thread on Reddit.

“Finally doing a NCIS NOLA Marathon,” wrote a user named Classic-Bowl-9940. “I have only been able to watch some random seasons. Anyway, I see Agent Borin did a few episodes…I love her character so much. I wish there was a spinoff series where she is the lead. I know the actress had some issues with the producers and might have burned bridges….but a man (can) dream.”

Neal did get cross ways with NCIS: New Orleans producers. She worried about her safety while filming in the Big Easy. Rather than first telling the producers, she tweeted about her issues. She didn’t hold back with her opinion.

Neal called the working conditions “dangerous and stupid.” And she added that the show “just (uses) me like a rented mule.” Plus, she said those in charge “don’t give a damn.” She deleted the tweets, but not before the Internet preserved them.

She apologized, via Twitter, and said then she was removing her posts, so Neal didn’t try to delete on the sly.

This happened back in the spring of 2015. Now, back to current times. One fan said he thought about Abby Boren again when NCIS: Hawai’i launched in 2021.

“Just to add…when I was watching NCIS: Hawai’i seeing Vanessa Lachey lead a show. I often think of this ‘what if’ question.” Lachey, as Jane Tennant, is the first female agent in charge in the NCIS universe. So if only Neal hadn’t tweeted, right?

You’ve seen Neal on other shows. She played Casey Novak for 112 episodes on Law & Order: SVU. On that long-running show, she played the assistant district attorney assigned to the Sex Crimes Bureau. Her character also had to deal with male characters with strong personalities. This was in Elliot Stabler’s hey-day.

Neal doesn’t act as much these days. She suffered severe injuries in a car accident and needed a long-time to recuperate. In 2018, she ran for Congress in New York as an independent. And now, she’s hosting her own podcast.

But a Coast Guard spinoff of NCIS still seems like a cool idea.