NCIS lost a major presence between seasons. David McCallum, the actor who plays Donald "Ducky" Mallard, died, and several cast members, past and present, took to social media to praise the actor and send best wishes to his family.
Now, it's NCIS' turn. The procedural drama has finally released details for the Ducky tribute episode, and they sound as though they are going to hit us right in the feels.
Ducky is confirmed to have died offscreen
The synopsis for the show, titled "The Stories We Leave Behind" is as follows:
"As NCIS mourns the loss of Ducky, the agents find comfort in working on one of his unfinished cases involving a woman whose father was dishonorably discharged from the Marines."
It's a classic secondary plot by NCIS standards, but the focus of the episode will undoubtedly be on Ducky and the huge impact he had on the rest of the characters.
"The Stories We Leave Behind" will be co-written by executive producer Scott Williams and Brian Dietzen, who spent over a decade as Ducky's protege, Dr. Jimmy Walker.
Ducky will help solve one final case
Little has been said about the specific way in which the NCIS team mourns Ducky, or how the character passed offscreen, but NCIS showrunners Steven D. Binder and David North gave us a glimpse of what to expect when they issued a statement to TV Line that read:
"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."
Dietzen did not issue an official statement, but he did take to Instagram following McCallum's death to reflect on his relationship with the actor and the ways in which their dynamic reflected that of their characters.
The actor/writer considered McCallum to be one of the finest actors he's ever worked with, and notes that he will never truly be forgotten by NCIS fans. "Thank you David," he wrote at the end of his tender caption. "Love you my friend. I’ll miss you."