NCIS Pays Emotional Tribute to David McCallum’s Ducky

As the show prepares to pay tribute to the late David McCallum, who brought Ducky to life for two glorious decades, emotions are high.

Brian Dietzen, the creator of the beloved Jimmy Palmer, takes us behind the scenes of Ducky’s poignant farewell episode.

From striking a delicate balance between tribute and closure to teasing romantic twists for his character, Dietzen shares insights that will leave fans both teary-eyed and eagerly anticipating what is next.

David McCallum is getting a hero’s send-off on NCIS. The late actor, who portrayed chief medical examiner-turned-NCIS historian Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on the long-running CBS procedural for two decades, died on September 25, 2023, at the age of 90.

The news of his death devastated the NCIS family. However, it also provided an opportunity to pay homage to a screen legend and honor a beloved television character. 

Doing justice to Ducky’s farewell episode, “The Stories We Leave Behind,” which airs Feb. 19, was a “daunting” and emotional task, NCIS star Brian Dietzen admitted to TV Guide.

How does one adequately capture a lifetime’s worth of moments in 40 minutes? “That is 20 years of being able to spend with the TV and film legend that I am grateful to have had,” said Dietzen, who co-wrote the episode with Scott Williams.

David McCallum
David McCallum

Although Ducky’s death is the main focus of the episode, the NCIS team is presented with one of the last cases he was secretly working on before his death, utilizing a wealth of information and treasures he left behind that may be useful in the future.

As a result, the crew is left reminiscing, which leads to key flashbacks and scenes featuring team members who have since left, including Mark Harmon’s Jethro Gibbs.

Before the episode, Dietzen spoke with TV Guide on Zoom about how he approached co-writing Ducky’s tribute hour, how he chose key scenes from the past to include, and how McCallum’s presence will be felt in the future.

He also hinted at upcoming romantic challenges for his character, Jimmy Palmer, in his relationship with Jessica Knight (Katrina Law).

Brian Dietzen’s insights into creating this moving episode reveal the dedication and camaraderie that define the NCIS family.

With Palmer’s romantic adventures on the horizon, viewers are excited to see what twists and turns their favorite characters will face.

Leave a Comment