What Does Abby’s Tattoos Mean in NCIS? Theories

Image Credit: Adam Rose/CBS

“Iconic” must be the best word to describe Pauley Perrette’s Abby Sciuto in CBS’ thriller seriesNCIS.’ Abby is an integral part of NCIS’ Washington D.C. squad while  Leroy Jethro Gibbs has been leading the same before his departure from the federal agency. Abby is known for her highly significant contribution to NCIS’ investigations as a forensic specialist, her goth appearance, and her tattoos. Her tattoos have captivated the viewers severely, even inspiring some of them to ink the same on them. After Perrette’s exit from the series, Abby’s tattoos are missed along with the character. If you are wondering what they really mean, let us share what we know!

 The Origin of Abby’s Tattoos

Abby Sciuto has around fourteen tattoos in ‘NCIS.’ Apart from two, all the tattoos belong to Pauley Perrette. When the actress joined the series, the producers wanted the character to have two additional tattoos along with the tattoos Perrette already had. The spiderweb tattoo on Abby’s neck and the giant cross on her back are the ones conceived by the creative heads for the character. “[…] with Abby, he [creator Don Bellisario] wanted to take an alternative-style person with tattoos and make her someone who is happy, totally put together and successful,” the actress told TV Guide about the tattoos added to her, which aligns with her goth appearance.

Perrette has a favorite tattoo among the lot. “On the inside of my ring finger, on my left hand, I have the numbers 12:21. That’s my favorite bible verse, Romans 12:21 which is, ‘Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ That’s my favorite one and I look at it every day. That’s my mantra,” the actress told Parade. She also has a tattoo of a small cross on one of her ankles, inked after her pastor asked her to “March, Protest & Worship with my feet,” as per Perrette. The actress also changed a “Let it Go” tattoo to “Let it God,” which sheds light on her religious beliefs. This particular tattoo appears below a giant “P” tattoo, which can be a reference to the first letter of the actress’ first and last name.


Perrette has “11 11 11” and “XII XII XII” inked on one of her hands. The tattoos were inked on November 11, 2011 (11-11-11), and December 12, 2012 (12-12-12), respectively, as indicated by the tattoos. The actress also has “101010” inked on her, which is described by her as the “binary tattoo.” Considering the aforementioned date tattoos, it is evident that Perette had this one on October 10, 2010 (10-10-10). The flower tattoo on Perrette’s back is actually three interlocking “8” figures, inked on 08-08-08 or August 8, 2008. Similarly, the “swirl” tattoo near the binary tattoo is in fact three interlocking “9” figures, inked on 09-09-09 or September 9, 2009.

In addition to the date tattoos, Perrette has a smile tattoo on a finger and her right ankle. The “R.I.P.” tattoo on Perrette’s hand is seemingly a tribute to Kurt Cobain. When the actress came to know about the death of Nirvana’s founder on April 8, 1994, she also wrote a poem titled “April 8” about the day. Near the interlocking 8s, Perrette has a stick figure angel and devil inked on her back. Furthermore, the actress has three stars tattooed on the outside of her left ankle, possibly symbolizing the growth she has achieved as a person. The other tattoos that appear on the actress are “three triangles” on the inside of her left wrist and an infinity symbol near the “11 11 11” tattoo.

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