Pauley Perrette on 'NCIS' and her work with Hope Gardens

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pauley-perrette-gi.jpg Pauley Perrette isn't just "NCIS'" multi-talented Abby Sciuto, she's also a singer/songwriter and, it turns out, a big supporter of charities, including the Hope Gardens Family Center, where on Tuesday (Sept. 13), she helped unveil a new fishtank -- created by the guys at Animal Planet's "Tanked" -- for the site.

Zap2it was on hand and caught up with Perrette about NCIS and her philanthropy.

How did you get involved with Hope Gardens?

There was a time a couple years ago that, due to funding and a lack of donations, Hope Gardens was going to close. Which would have meant the women and kids would be taken right out of this environment and put back on Skid Row. We started a huge Twitter campaign - @PauleyP -- that's how I got started, now I'm a Twitter-holic. At that time, we had like eight or nine days, or else the shelter was going to be shut down. We raised more than enough money in only three days. It was amazing.

What kind of benefits will the fish tank bring to Hope Gardens?

The guys from "Tanked" on Animal Planet are so amazing. They built this unbelievable fish tank -- something these kids have never seen before. They donated it, they installed it, they got the fish, they are even donating the upkeep and maintenance. When they heard about Hope Gardens, they were immediately on-board. These guys do fish tanks for bazillionaire celebrities, but they couldn't wait to be a part of this and see the kids. All three of us are like little kids - we're so excited!

What is coming up this season on "NCIS?"

We are shooting the fifth episode of this season -- season 9. We've got an amazing list of guest stars this season. Lily Tomlin -- who I geeked out on -- Jamie Lee Curtis, Robert Wagner is coming back.

The thing about this show is that it is such an addicting show. Now that we have been going on so long, and the quality of the show has not only maintained, but gotten better, all these incredible actors are fans and they want to be on the show.

It's so great to see that, after nine seasons, your enthusiasm hasn't waned at all...

We are more excited! We all love the show. When I tell people how much we love the show, and how much fun we are having, people always say, "You can totally tell."

Abby and McGee -- please tell me it is finally going to happen this season.

You know, I am the last person to ever know what is happening with them! We really are -- the actors never know. Especially with Abby's character. She does cartwheels, she speaks sign language, she does yoga... I never know [what she's doing next]. That's one of the great things about her character, but that also means I have no idea what is going on with Abby and McGee. None.

What's your favorite aspect of your character?

I think what is so great about Abby is that she's a super-genius, but she's also a chick who is good at math and science, and she has the biggest heart in the world. She does all these different things: she's a scientist and she bowls with nuns, and she's a good girl. She's such a good role model for girls. It wasn't too long ago that women weren't encouraged to go into math and science. But I hear from young women all over the world that they are going into science because of a fictional character I play.

Additional reporting by Alyse Wax.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images