NCIS star David McCallum’s Ducky ‘solves one last crime’ in season 21 tribute episode – details

The Scottish actor passed away in September


NCIS will pay tribute to the late David McCallum in season 21, which will feature an episode that sees the team learn of Dr. Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard’s passing.

In episode two of the new season, which will air on CBS on February 19 at 9/8c, Ducky solves one last crime from beyond the grave.

Co-showrunners and executive producers Steven D. Binder and David North told TV Line: “Everyone at NCIS felt it was important to do an episode that honors such a legendary actor, not to mention a dear friend.

“In the episode, the team will learn of Ducky’s passing and reflect on their memories of him as they grieve,” they teased. “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 tribute was co-written by executive producer Scott Williams and Brian Dietzen, who plays Dr Jimmy Palmer on the show.

While the showrunners kept quiet when asked about any potential cameos from returning cast members, they did note that there will be “a very touching and special moment you won’t want to miss“.

David, who played Ducky on the long-running CBS show since the pilot episode, passed away at the age of 90 in September.

Following his passing, Brian shared a touching tribute to his co-star on Instagram, referring to David as his R 20;mentor” and “dear friend”.


“Over the course of the next 20 years, David and I (along with our alter-ego’s Ducky and Jimmy) developed a deep friendship and love of our shared work,” Brian penned. “He was a joy to work with. Always had a smile. Always had something new to add to the page, and ALWAYS had the ability to steal every scene he was in!”

Brian teased the tribute episode back in November when he responded to a fan on X asking about a special nod to David.

Replying to a viewer who penned: “I simply hope for a chapter in honor of David McCallum,” Brian wrote: “There will be.”

The cast are currently busy filming the new episodes having returned to set in December following the end of the SAG-AFTRA strike the month before.

Taking to Instagram to mark his return to work, Brian shared a photo of Dr Jimmy’s iconic glasses. He penned in the caption: “Hello world. I’m putting these on now. #NCIS #Season21 #JimmyPalmer.”


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NCIS will return to screens on February 12 at 9pm. The season 21 premiere will be followed by the first episode of NCIS: Hawai’i season three, which airs at 10pm.


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