On Sept. 25, the NCIS franchise lost a beloved member of its family with the passing of legendary actor David McCallum.
McCallum has been a staple on CBS’s hit franchise since the beginning when he originated the role of Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard in the show’s backdoor JAG pilot. He then made the jump over to the flagship series where he played Ducky in over 450 episodes going back to the show’s first season, making him the show’s longest-tenured member of the cast.
It seems impossible to imagine the show without him and it’s almost certain that the show will send his character off in a truly emotional and fitting tribute. Of course, nothing has been confirmed regarding the plan for how the show will address McCallum’s passing but the expectation is that the upcoming season will honor the legacy of McCallum and his character.
When the show begins to craft its sendoff, we can only hope the show will find a way to bring back some of McCallum’s many former costars as we’ll be truly disappointed if these former stars aren’t part of that tribute.
Emily Wickersham as Ellie Bishop
For eight seasons, Bishop was a staple on the show working alongside the team including Ducky. She was one of the rare characters who was around both to work alongside Ducky in his role as M.E. and during his time as NCIS historian. The two shared many scenes together over the years forming a unique connection, which is why we can’t imagine Ducky’s sendoff happening without an appearance from Bishop.
Given she left the team on less-than-good terms as part of her cover story for an undercover op, bringing Bishop back into the fold might be a difficult task to pull off. However, the show could always have her attend Ducky’s memorial from afar in a nod to their history and as a way to honor her late friend and former colleague.
Michael Weatherly as Anthony DiNozzo
When it comes to actors who CBS should most certainly be calling up to participate in Ducky’s farewell tribute, we can’t imagine a world in which Michael Weatherly isn’t one of the first calls made. Weatherly and McCallum worked alongside one another on the show for 13 years, as two of the four original members of the cast that helped launch the show via JAG.
We know Weatherly has expressed an interest in returning to the show, and while it likely wasn’t under these particular circumstances, it would be fitting for DiNozzo to finally return as part of Ducky’s eventual sendoff. And there’s a certain someone we’d like to see join him…
Cote de Pablo as Ziva David
Of course, if DiNozzo returns for Ducky’s sendoff there is no one we’d rather see by his side than Cote de Pablo’s Agent Ziva David. Like Weatherly, de Pablo played opposite David McCallum for many years on NCIS with their characters sharing many amazing moments together over the years.
Getting to see the former agents return to mourn the loss of their friend and celebrate his life alongside their NCIS family would be a truly magical and emotional moment for fans. While it might not be the way we’d expect a Tiva reunion to play out, we just can’t imagine a world in which Tony and Ziva aren’t part of the show’s tribute to Ducky.
Maria Bello as Jack Sloane
Maria Bello’s forensic psychologist Jack Sloane might not have been around quite as long as the other names on this list, but don’t discount the impact she had on the show. Jack was a key piece of the puzzle and an amazing part of the team during her three seasons on the show, bringing a unique perspective to the team.
That perspective led to many amazing moments between Jack and Ducky, with the two sharing amazing chemistry — not that we’re surprised as McCallum could literally play off of anyone and bring out the best in his scene partners. Jack was around when Ducky made his transition to NCIS historian, so it seems only fitting that she would be there to also celebrate the final chapter in the character’s incredibly story.
Mark Harmon as Leroy Jethro Gibbs
If there is one person we cannot imagine not being involved with NCIS‘s tribute to David McCallum it’s Mark Harmon. From the very beginning, the dynamic relationship between Harmon’s Agent Gibbs and McCallum’s Ducky was one of the most impactful and important relationships in the entire show.
The two characters were more than just colleagues, they were family. The two characters went through countless highs and lows, but their friendship and the admiration they shared for one another never wavered.
Gibbs was never one to let his emotions show, but the love he had for Ducky is far too strong to compel him not to return to attend the character’s memorial. To celebrate Ducky without Gibbs simply wouldn’t feel right as we cannot imagine any scenario in which Gibbs wouldn’t show up for his dear friend of so many years. Nor can we not imagine Harmon making a return to honor his late friend and costar.
Pauley Perrette as Abby Sciuto
If there is one character besides Gibbs that we cannot imagine a tribute to Ducky without, its former NCIS forensic scientist Abby Sciuto.
From the very start of the show way back in the show’s first season, Abby and Ducky always shared a very special connection built their mutual respect and affection for each other. Their witty banter and shared passion for solving crimes made them fan-favorite characters, showcasing a warm and enduring friendship throughout the series.
McCallum was among the core cast members who were present for Pauley Perrette’s sendoff from the show when she departed after 15 seasons on the show, and we can’t imagine a more fitting way for Abby to return than by rejoining her NCIS family to honor her late friend and celebrate the legacy McCallum leaves behind.