NCIS season 21: Will David McCallum return as Ducky?

It’s hard to imagine NCIS without Donald “Ducky” Mallard. Outside of having an incredibly memorable name, the character has been one of the steadiest and most reliable investigators in the entire series. He was top-notch medical examiner, and he currently helps the NCIS team by being a crackerjack historian.

As the series stretches into season 21, however, it becomes more difficult to take the involvement of certain actors for granted. Mark Harmon has left, which means basically any long-running cast member could be next. Will Ducky actor David McCallum also head for the door in 2024?

Is David McCallum leaving NCIS?

McCallum weighed in on the fact that he’s seen lots of cast turnover in the last couple years, but assures NCIS fans that he’s still as eager as ever to play Ducky. “The show of NCIS that I did with Mark Harmon and Cote de Pablo and a whole bunch of them, they’ve all moved on to other things”, McCallum told RadioTimes.

“So when I go there it’s like being in a different show and it doesn’t quite make sense any more. But I have a wonderful relationship with my assistant Jimmy Palmer. Brian Dietzen [who plays Jimmy] is a wonderful actor. He’s just been a rock, a tremendous guy to work with.”

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In the same interview, which was conducted in November 2022, McCallum did reveal that he was nearing the end of his NCIS contract. There have not any been reports of any contract renewals in recent months, but that is largely due to the fact that the writers and actors strike has put all of Hollywood on pause.

The actor said that retirement is not something he’s eager to rush to, and pointed to the fact that his wife, actress/model Katherine Carpenter, still appears on television despite the fact that she’s technically retired. “Well Katherine retired many years ago but she’s still working”, he remarked. “We both… retirement is a work in progress, shall we say!”

We still have a bit of time before NCIS returns in 2024, but we are optimistic about our chances of seeing Ducky again.

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