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In second place were Californians Jeremy Cline and Sandy Draghi. In third place were former NFL player Marcus Pollard and his wife, Amani, from Pine Mountain, Ga.

During this last leg of the round-the-world race, the couples were required to land a jetliner in a flight simulator, find “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell’s home and plot their 40,000-mile odyssey on a giant world map erected high above the parking lot at Turner Field.

Interviewed after the broadcast, the winners said their most unnerving moment was the basic task of getting a cab at Atlanta’s airport.

“Nobody wanted to take us,” Mr. Halvorsen said. “That was the most stressful thing as we saw the other teams departing.”

Perrette: Goth’s go-to gal on CBS drama ‘NCIS’

It figures that Pauley Perrette would excel playing forensic scientist Abby Sciuto, the Goth lab rat on CBS’ crime procedural “NCIS.”

On the job in her high-tech lair, Abby is an information magnet and a bloodhound for clues to help crack the latest case with a link to the Navy or Marine Corps. In the process, she is brainy, beautiful, charmingly quirky and totally gung-ho - which is to say, a lot like Pauley Perrette.

In its ninth season, “NCIS” (which airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST) remains a smash hit, averaging 20 million viewers a week. Even among its crazy-popular ensemble (including Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Cote de Pablo, Sean Murray, David McCallum and Rocky Carroll), Miss Perrette is a standout, having landed at the top of a recent Q Score roster measuring TV stars’ fame and likability among viewers.

As herself, Miss Perrette can upstage her performance as Abby. Hear her jazzed accounts of a life that led from her Atlanta upbringing to a role on one of TV’s hottest shows:

She describes her early aspirations: “to work with animals, be in a rock ‘n’ roll band or be an FBI agent.”

She recounts her scramble in New York, where she moved to study at John Jay School of Criminal Science but worked several jobs at once to make ends meet: “Not only was I bartending in the club-kids scene, with a bra and combat boots and a white Mohawk, but I wore a sandwich board on roller skates passing out fliers for Taco Bell in the Diamond District, and I worked on one of these boats that go around Manhattan - way down in the galley, knee-deep in fish water, cooking food for the rich people upstairs.”

She thinks back on the days of her own hard partying and substance abuse: “I’ve done everything. Everything! I can’t believe I survived it.”

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.