In Broke, the actress plays Jackie, a single suburban mother and bartender whose simple life gets flipped upside down

By Brianne Tracy
April 02, 2020 02:22 PM
Advertisement
Credit: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty

Nearly two years after saying goodbye to her beloved NCIS character Abby Sciuto, Pauley Perrette is making her return to the small screen as the star of the new CBS comedy, Broke.

In the show, the actress, 51, plays Jackie, a single suburban mother and bartender whose simple life with her son Sammy (Antonio Corbo) is flipped upside down when her estranged sister Elizabeth (Natasha Leggero), Elizabeth’s rich husband Javier (Jaime Camil) and his assistant Luis (Izzy Diaz) arrive at her doorstep in need of a place to live after their money dries up.

“The reason I’m back on TV is because of Broke,” Perrette recently told TV Insider. “I sort of retired for a while, and I watched a lot of TV with my dogs and I was really good at it.”

“When I met [our showrunners] that first time, I was like, ‘I love them. They’re so cool,'” she continued. “I just remember thinking, ‘Man, I really want to work with these people.'”

Last October, Perrette tweeted that she was “SO FREAKIN HAPPY” to be shooting the upcoming showand thanked her fans for supporting her through “a few devastatingly difficult years.”

“I’m so happy and healthy now and having a blast,” she wrote. “THANK YOU positive people for helping me and being kind Love y’all!”

The part marks Perrette’s first series regular role since leaving NCIS in May 2018, after 15 seasons of playing Abby, the show’s fan-favorite forensic scientist.

“Abby is not just a TV character for people,” Perrette told PEOPLE ahead of her final episode. “These young girls have modeled their entire lives off of her. It’s like Abby has raised a couple of generations of young girls and has inspired this international phenomenon of young women going into math and science and STEM programs because she made it accessible, cool, attainable and fun.”

To ensure that Abby’s legacy lives on, Perrette created two different scholarships — one at Valdosta State University and one at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City — for women who want to follow in Abby’s fictional footsteps and pursue a real-life career in math and science.

“It makes me so happy and it warms my heart so much that this is literally going to be an immortal legacy for these real-life people to be afforded this education and to pursue criminal science and forensics, all because of Abby,” she said.

Pauley Perrette
| Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty

Days after the finale, Perrette opened up further about her departure from the show, tweeting, “I refused to go low, that’s why I’ve never told publicly what happened. But there are tabloid articles out there that are telling total lies about me. If you believe them? Please leave me alone. You clearly don’t know me. (Sorry guys, had to be said).”

A day later, Perrette posted three more tweets, in which she claimed a “machine” was “keeping [her] silent” and alleged that there were “multiple physical assaults.”

“Maybe I’m wrong for not ‘spilling the beans’ Telling the story, THE TRUTH. I feel I have to protect my crew, jobs and so many people. But at what cost? I.don’t know. Just know, I’m trying to do the right thing, but maybe silence isn’t the right thing about crime. I’m… Just… ?” she tweeted.

“There is a ‘machine’ keeping me silent, and feeding FALSE stories about me. A very rich, very powerful publicity ‘machine.’ No morals, no obligation to truth, and I’m just left here, reading the lies, trying to protect my crew. Trying to remain calm. He did it,” she continued.

She concluded in a final tweet: “I’ve been supporting [anti]-bullying programs forever. But now I KNOW because it was ME! If it’s school or work, that you’re required to go to? It’s horrifying. I left. Multiple Physical Assaults. I REALLY get it now. Stay safe. Nothing is worth your safety. Tell someone.”

RELATED VIDEO: Pauley Perrette Is Leaving NCIS After 15 Seasons

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE at the time, CBS Television Studios confirmed that the actress had come forward with a “workplace concern” more than a year prior, and that the network “took the matter seriously.”

“Pauley Perrette had a terrific run on NCIS and we are all going to miss her,” the statement began. “Over a year ago, Pauley came to us with a workplace concern. We took the matter seriously and worked with her to find a resolution. We are committed to a safe work environment on all our shows.”

Though NCIS fans were clamoring for her to return to the show, Perrette tweeted in 2019 that she would “never” return and claimed she was “terrified” of former costar Mark Harmon.

“NO I AM NOT COMING BACK! EVER! (Please stop asking?),” she tweeted. “I am terrified of Harmon and him attacking me. I have nightmares about it. I have a new show that is SAFE AND HAPPY! You’ll love it! #HappyPlace Love y’all!”

Harmon, 68, did not respond to PEOPLE’s request at the time for comment about Perrette’s allegation, and does not appear to have discussed her charges since.

Pauley Perrette
| Credit: "One Step Forward" -- 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, on NCIS, Tuesday, May 1 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Pauley Perrette Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Perrette has had a string of incidents in which she says she was injured, most notably claiming to have been attacked by homeless men twice in the space of three months in 2015 and 2016. In May 2019, she posted a photo of herself in a hospital gown with a bloodied bandage on her arm, but did not elaborate on the nature of the injury.

After Perrette’s departure from NCIS, she was replaced by actress Diona Reasonover. Reasonover was promoted to series regular after her character Kasie Hines was introduced late in season 15.

Broke premieres Thursday at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS.