What happened to Ducky on NCIS? Explained
Ducky, aka Dr. Donald Mallard, has been a part of the NCIS family since the show’s conception. He was the most integral part of the show for the longest time. The multi-talented Scottish gem David McCallum has played the medical examiner, Ducky Mallard, alongside Mark Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs on CBS’s NCIS since 2003. That was nearly 20 years ago.
In 2018, NCIS celebrated the 20th season of their beloved show, and Ducky has noticeably been missing from many episodes and special features. You can watch the last episode of the current season without him being in it. Some fans wonder if Ducky will appear again in future seasons and how he will be used as an ongoing character.
David McCollum recently spoke about his time on NCIS when asked if he would ever appear on more than five episodes a season, stating, “No, I don’t… If I could work something out with CBS, I would love to do that. But I don’t know whether it’s possible or not.” A few days later, McCollum took to his Instagram page, sharing a photo of Ducky with the caption, “Few more roles, and we’ll all be happy.”
What does this mean for David McCollum’s future in the NCIS franchise? Will he continue playing this role with which he has had so much success? Fans are waiting to see what happens as they hope for more episodes and future seasons.
What went wrong?
At this point, David feels like Dr. Ducky Mallard has started to become redundant in the show. He believes that Ducky’s presence on the show will impact the story as much as his absence would. Ducky stepped down from his role as the chief medical examiner as part of a subplot during season 16’s episode “silent service.” Since then, his assistant jimmy palmer played by Zadie Brian Dietzen has stepped into the role.
David says: “I think Ducky’s at a point where he’s become obsolete on the show. It’s like leaving the band. The members are all playing the same song, which is getting very old. They don’t need him anymore. Yes, he’s a great character, but they can do better without him than with him”.
What is the future of NCIS?
The writers have already started bringing in a new medical examiner to take his place on the show. It is set to start filming season 17 in early November for its final season in May 2010 after 19 seasons total completion (including five finales). And though it may seem his character has been drifting away into the background with his work on NCIS, David is still a very active figure in the show. He has already shot multiple episodes of NCIS season 17, which are currently filming wrapped up in early November.
David: I have filmed four episodes of season 17 already and have one more to shoot after Christmas. After that, it’s on to Season 19 with new lighting schemes, camera angles, special effects, and a stunt coordinator, all carefully planned out by our production team for what will be a great two-part premiere event for Season 18. I can’t wait until we return to work on the show after our holiday hiatus.
Rumors about the disappearance
A rumor surrounding this says that the writers and producers are already starting to move the character of Dr. Donald Mallard out of the show with the d***h of Cote de Pablo. In season 12, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had to leave his position as Chief Medical Examiner because of his health issues. Since then, he has not been seen on the show and was replaced by Jimmy Palmer, played by Zadie Brian Dietzen, who also serves as his assistant on NCIS.
David: He is now a regular guest star since they realized they could use him more in that capacity rather than as a full-time character on their flagship series. They brought him back on the show because he had worked in the past season, and they didn’t want to leave him hanging. I would say he’s been on about four episodes since I left. That was a great way to bring him back because you don’t have to create a whole new character for that role, so it’s much easier for them to use him than if I wasn’t there.
What does David McCollum think of his character?
David: I think it’s poetic. I think it’s just like the tail being wagged by the dog. The dog is Ducky Mallard, the character, and the British actress is wagging him. It’s a nice way of bringing him back. They could have taken one more season to wrap him up in a nice little bow, and then they would have had to let him go because they didn’t need him anymore.