Here’s all you need to know about the special episode of “NCIS” dedicated to David McCallum:

Last night, the TV show NCIS came back with the first episode of its 21st season.

In the premiere, they talked a lot about Special Agent Nick Torres. But next week’s episode will be all about Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, who is a favorite character in the series.

David McCallum, who played Dr. Mallard, passed away in September 2023. So, it was expected that the show would honor him at some point.

McCallum played Dr. Mallard, who was the chief medical examiner and then became an NCIS historian. He was in all 20 seasons of the show, but his appearances became less frequent over time, especially as Dr. Jimmy Palmer, played by Brian Dietzen, had a bigger role.

His last time on the show was in the season 20 finale.

VALENCIA, CA – SEPTEMBER 04: NCIS cast members (L-R) Michael Weatherly, Lauren Holly, Brian Deitzen, Pauley Perrette, David McCallum, Sean Murray, Cote de Pablo, and Mark Harmon at the NCIS 100th Episode Celebration at Valencia Studios on September 4, 2007 in Valencia, California. (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage)

“For more than 20 years, David McCallum entertained people all over the world by playing the smart, quirky, and sometimes mysterious character, Dr. Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard,” said NCIS executive producers Steven D. Binder and David North when McCallum passed away.

“But as much as his fans adored him, those who worked closely with David loved him even more… From the very beginning, it was a privilege to work with him, and he always gave his best. He was, without a doubt, a legend.”


At the end of Monday night’s episode, Torres gives his badge to Parker. Then, Parker gets a call from Palmer.

“Hey, slow down…” Parker says to Palmer.

Parker is shocked and hangs up the phone.

“What’s happening? What’s going on?” McGee asks, as everyone else stays quiet.

We only find out what’s going on after watching the preview for the next episode, “The Stories We Leave Behind.” In that episode, it seems like something bad has happened to Ducky.

“In the next episode, ‘The Stories We Leave Behind,’ 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,” the description for the next episode says.

The upcoming episode, written by Dietzen along with EP Scott Williams, will honor Ducky and the actor who played him as they tackle one of his unsolved cases.

“We wanted to keep it true to the NCIS style, so it’s not just a bunch of old clips of Ducky. We wanted to create a case that connects to the theme of losing someone important to the team,” Dietzen explained to TVLine.

“So we came up with the idea of how the stories we leave behind after we’re gone are what really matter. What matters most is what we leave behind for our loved ones.”

Kathy Hutchins /

The cast and crew haven’t said if any old characters like Gibbs or Abby will be in the episode. We’ll have to wait and see next week.

Get ready with some tissues because it might be emotional.

Who do you want to see come back to NCIS to say goodbye to Dr. Mallard? Tell us in the comments on Facebook.