Pauley Perrette’s final episode of NCIS is airing on May 8, and CBS has released details that suggest it may not be as simple as Abby deciding a career or location change is in order. Still, it’s hard to imagine her being killed off, right?

As Perrette has already revealed, Abby’s exit is a two-parter, the May 1 and May 8 episodes, “One Step Forward” and “Two Steps Back.” In the first, according to CBS, “Sara Carter (Skye P. Marshall) begs Gibbs to investigate her mother’s murder as she believes the local authorities convicted the wrong man. Also, Abby is awarded a dinner reservation for two to a brand-new five-star restaurant in an igloo and has to decide which coworker deserves to go with her.” That sounds perfectly safe for Abby, right?

Well, then there’s how CBS describes her last episode: “When evidence reveals an NCIS team member is a hitman’s latest target, the team must search through old case files to determine who is seeking vengeance.”

With it being Abby’s exit, it does seem more likely than not that she’s either the hitman’s target or could end up in the crosshairs if she’s not. But maybe she’s not. Maybe her final case just ends up being one in which she helps save one of her teammates’ lives.

Whether she is or not, the focus should be on her since she’s been around since the beginning (including the JAG episodes) and having her be the target would allow them to do that, both with past case files and what’s happening in the present.

Here are 4 ways that NCIS could be writing out Abby:

1. Abby’s Killed Off

Whether or not Abby is the target, she could end up being killed during the course of the case. If she’s the target, maybe the hitman manages to get to her. If she’s not, she could become a target because of what she means to the person he’s after or something she finds.  

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2. Abby Goes into Witness Protection

Cases aren’t always neatly wrapped up in a bow at the end of an episode of a procedural drama. What if the team can’t stop or even catch the hitman or he’s working for someone they can’t find? Whether Abby’s the intended target or becomes one during the investigation or because her testimony is needed at a later date and her life could be at risk, she could have to go into witness protection for her own safety.

3. Abby Opts for a Career Change

Abby has been in that lab of hers for years. Maybe it’s time for a change, in or out of NCIS, but likely somewhere not in the D.C. area, and since her exit is a two-parter, she could inform whomever she takes to dinner in the May 1 episode of her plans. (This could be the original plan that changes as a result of whatever happens in “Two Steps Back.”)

4. Abby Takes Some Time Off

If anyone deserves a break after all the work they do, both on the job and during their free time, it’s Abby. She could decide to take an extended sabbatical from work and not know if she’ll return to her lab after, allowing for goodbye scenes.  

How do you think NCIS will be writing Abby out in “Two Steps Back”? Vote in the poll and comment below with your thoughts.

NCIS season 15 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS. Want more news? Like our NCIS Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of CBS)