NCIS producer reveals how the show will address Ducky's death

We've all been wondering, and now we have the answers...

"Ephemera" -- While investigating the suicide of a retired Navy officer who left a rare, valuable -- and possibly stolen -- coin to the National Museum of the Navy, the team imagines themselves in his life story in order to piece together how the coin ended up in his possession, on NCIS, Tuesday, Feb. 18 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, David McCallum as Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard, Nike Doukas as NHHC Deputy
"Ephemera" -- While investigating the suicide of a retired Navy officer who left a rare, valuable -- and possibly stolen -- coin to the National Museum of the Navy, the team imagines themselves in his life story in order to piece together how the coin ended up in his possession, on NCIS, Tuesday, Feb. 18 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, David McCallum as Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard, Nike Doukas as NHHC Deputy /
facebooktwitterreddit

The death of David McCallum was devastating for NCIS fans. It's hard to think of a character who was more beloved, and who brought more joy whenever they appeared onscreen. It makes it even more difficult when one considers that McCallum was slated to return in the upcoming season.

In the NCIS oral history meant to commemorate the show's 20th anniversary, it was confirmed that McCallum was set to reprise his character Donald "Ducky" Mallard in a handful of episodes, but he died before production on season 21 could begin.

NCIS will tribute Ducky on February 19 episode

All or Nothing
“All or Nothing” – NCIS investigates the unexpected death of a Navy reservist who was an investigative journalist. Also, Knight and Jimmy’s budding romance is put on hold when a vital organ transfer goes fatally wrong, on the CBS original series NCIS, Monday, May 16 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*. Pictured: David McCallum as Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard and Katrina Law as NCIS Special Agent Jessica Knight. Photo: /

There's been lots speculation as to how NCIS will deal with Ducky's passing, and whether certain characters from Ducky's past would return to pay their respects to the former medical examiner. We now have an idea of what the plan is, courtesy of co-showrunners and executive producers Steven D. Binder and David North.

Binder and North told TV Line that the show will absolutely address Ducky's death, and not resort to offscreen reasons for his absence (i.e. he retired or moved away). The character will be talked about by the other members of the NCIS team, and the results will be appropriately emotional.

Here's what the co-showrunners had to say:

"“In the episode, the team will learn of Ducky’s passing and reflect on their memories of him as they grieve. And true to Ducky’s meticulous and compassionate nature, even after he’s gone, he still manages to solve one last crime with the team.""

The big question heading into season 21, of course, is whether there will be any cameos from O.G. cast members who spent years working alongside Ducky. People like Leroy Gibbs (Mark Harmon) or Abbey Sciuto (Pauley Perrette). Unfortunately, Binder and North refused to shed light on any of these potential returns.

NCIS showrunners promise a 'special moment' for fans

Black Sky
“Black Sky” – Torres finds himself in prison as the team tries to stop an impending terror attack on U.S. soil, on the 20th season finale of the CBS Original series NCIS, Monday, May 22 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*. Pictured: David McCallum as Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard. Photo: Michael Yarish/CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

They did, however, assure fans that they will want to be seated for some big emotional moments. "There will also be a very touching and special moment you won’t want to miss," they revealed, which is sure to tug at the heartstrings of anyone who's been a longtime NCIS viewer.

This is the second time that Steven D. Binder and David North have spoken about McCallum since his death in September. They released a joint statement praising the actor's generosity with his co-stars, and the unique presence he brought to the set each day.

Related: David McCallum died before he could film NCIS season 21

"As much as his fans may have loved him, those who worked side by side with David loved him that much more," they wrote. "From Day 1, it was an honor to work with him and he never let us down. He was, quite simply, a legend."

We'd be inclined to agree, and we're glad McCallum will be given the sendoff he deserves.

Next. 2024 Premiere Dates. 2024 TV premiere dates: Your guide to NCIS, Chicago Fire and more shows’ returns. dark