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NCIS Honors David McCallum with Return of Surprise Guest

Photo from NCIS’ Instagram

NCIS Honors David McCallum with Return of Surprise Guest

By Movieguide® Contributor

NCIS recently aired its tribute episode to David McCallum, who died last September at the age of 90.

He starred as Donald “Ducky” Mallard for 20 years and quickly became a fan favorite.

Per Deadline, “As heavily teased in the promos, the episode dubbed ‘The Stories We Leave Behind’ opened with Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen, who co-wrote the episode) arriving at Ducky’s house to find his mentor — dressed in his monogrammed jammies — dead in his bed, with his sweet corgi looking forlorn in the foyer.”

“Dying quietly in your sleep isn’t the worst way to go,” Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) said in the episode.

Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) added, “He lived a very long, very rewarding life, which he would want us to celebrate more than anything.”

Dietzen told USA TODAY, “We wanted to honor a life well-lived, 60 years in this business and 20 years on our show. This allows fans to grieve with us. We’ve all experienced this loss.”

Movieguide® reported:

Beloved actor David McCallum died of natural causes on Monday while surrounded by loved ones at a New York hospital.

“He was the kindest coolest, most patient and loving father,” said his son Peter in a statement on behalf of the family. “He always put family before self. He looked forward to any chance to connect with his grandchildren.”

“Both his TV family and his real family are feeling pain and grief right now,” Dietzen added. “The small comfort all of us can take is David was 90, and lived so many lives to the fullest within those 90 years. He took advantage of every last breath.”

Another part of the episode included a surprise cameo from none other than Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly).

“We all realized that DiNozzo is the perfect character for this last scene,” Dietzen expressed. “So getting to write a Tony DiNozzo scene was an absolute treat.”

In previous episodes, DiNozzo imitates Ducky. This episode was no different.

“David’s an icon. So even when we’re talking just as friends, (Weatherly) will give his best David McCallum impression,” Dietzen said and explained how impressed he was that Weatherly could perform the accent so well even while tying a bow. “Michael said, ‘I went to boarding school, I’ll be fine. I can tie a bow tie.’ But we definitely practiced a few times. It turned out really well.”

For Weatherly, that was his only planned appearance on the show.

“(Michael) was eager to help out with what was essentially an in-person flashback,” Dietzen said. “It was a shoutout to the previous iterations of this ‘NCIS’ team as Michael too was an original cast member. But there are no plans for a return.”

Movieguide® previously reported:

Following McCallum’s death, the NCIS Instagram account shared a post in honor of the actor.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of David McCallum and privileged that CBS was his home for so many years,” the post read with a photo of McCallum smiling.

“David was a gifted actor and author, and beloved by many around the world. He led an incredible life, and his legacy will forever live on through his family and the countless hours on film and television that will never go away. We will miss his warmth and endearing sense of humor that lit up any room or soundstage he stepped onto, as well as the brilliant stories he often shared from a life well-lived. Our hearts go out to his wife Katherine and his entire family, and all those who knew and loved David.”

Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


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