In 2001, as a recurring character introduced in Season 2 of Special Unit 2, she played Alice Cramer, the Unit's public relations person. She then landed her current role, playing Abby Sciuto, an eccentric forensic scientist, on NCIS, a TV series based on the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Perrette's initial appearances as the character were on two episodes of JAG aired in spring of 2003 that served as a backdoor pilot and introduced the characters. She has since appeared as Abby in two 2009 episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles. She also appeared as a waitress at Cafe Nervosa in Frasier during season 4 (in the episode "Three Dates and a Break Up"), and later guest starred in season one of 24.
She has made appearances in several films, including The Ring and Almost Famous. In addition to acting, Perrette is a published poet, writer (her short story "Cheers..." appears in the anthology Pills, Thrills, Chills, and Heartache: Adventures in the First Person), photographer, and spoken-word artist, a lover of music of all kinds, and a passionate advocate for civil rights. In 2007, she produced a documentary about U.S. civil rights attorney and author Mark Lane. Perrette recorded her song, "Fear" (co-written with Tom Polce) under the name "Stop Making Friends". The song was recorded for NCIS: The Official TV Soundtrack which was released on February 10, 2009.
"Fear" was featured in a Season 6 episode of NCIS, according to the soundtrack's website. Prior to this, Perrette was the lead singer in the Los Angeles-based all female band Lo-Ball using the stage name Pauley P. A song by Lo-Ball, "Can't Get Me Down", can be heard during the movie Legally Blonde. Perrette appeared in "The Unnamed Feeling" video for heavy metal band Metallica from their album St. Anger. In an 2005 interview with Craig Ferguson, the host of The Late, Late Show, Perrette said she has a lifelong crime obsession.
She was an undergrad student in sociology, psychology, and criminal science. She started her master's degree in criminal science before ending up in the entertainment industry. She now plays a forensic scientist, her former career goal. In the January/February 2010 Performer Q Score, Perrette tied in the top 3 alongside Tom Hanks and Morgan Freeman. She was also the only female to make the top 10.
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