NCIS plot hole: Abby Sciuto’s major error from key fingerprint scan exposed

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Hundreds of episodes of NCIS and its two spin-offs are available to stream on CBS All Access. With more fans choosing to rewatch some classic cases during the coronavirus lockdown, some unfortunate continuity blunders have been spotted.

The first NCIS team was led by a squad of Special Field Agents, headed by the experienced team leader Leroy Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon).

Behind-the-scenes, the NCIS forensic work was managed by the brilliant Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), until her departure at the end of season 15.

Despite her gothic fashion sense, Abby’s cheerful demeanour and popularity amongst her colleagues never failed to bring some levity to the show’s dark subject matter.

She has since been replaced by recurring fan favourite, Kasie Hines (Diona Reasonover).


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However, long-term fans have still been returning to earlier seasons of NCIS for another dose of Abby’s signature charm.

Unfortunately, some perceptive viewers have unearthed some rather embarrassing production errors during their rewatches.

One of the most baffling occurred back in season four, in episode 18 ‘Iceman’.

In this chilling instalment, Gibbs and his team investigate the mysterious murder of a Marine corporal, who is left to die in an icy snow bank.

Luckily, Abby’s forensic skills are on the case and soon finds a match for some fingerprints uncovered from the crime scene.

Fans didn’t have to look too closely to spot a particularly embarrassing omission on Abby’s computer screen.

One viewer took to online forums to explain the perplexing blunder.

They said: “Abby gets a match off a fingerprint and we see the plasma displaying the match.”

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“However the right hand side has no fingerprint to be matched to.”

In the real world, forensic analysis of fingerprints usually cross-references potential matches with a list pulled from criminal databases.

NCIS isn’t known for its scientific accuracy, but it never usually strays too far outside the realm of plausibility.

Even so, Abby was somehow able to confirm the suspect’s prints without another set to match them with.


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Thankfully, most mistakes like these are spotted in the editing room before the episode goes out for broadcast.

Clearly, this strange oversight managed to slip through the cracks during post-production.

This caused a particularly confusing moment for fans paying close attention when only one print appeared on Abby’s positive match.

NCIS seasons 1-17 are available to stream on CBS All Access.

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