The Unforgettable Farewell: David McCallum’s Last Episode as ‘Ducky’ on NCIS – Prepare for an Emotional Rollercoaster!

The world mourned the loss of the iconic actor David McCallum, who passed away at the age of 90. McCallum, a lifelong actor, left an indelible mark on television throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s with his roles as Illya Kuryakin in “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” Simon Carter in “Colditz,” and Steel in “Sapphire & Steel.” However, it was his portrayal of Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard in the long-running CBS procedural series “NCIS” that solidified his reputation as one of the most prolific TV actors of his generation.

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Unfortunately, McCallum did not receive a grand farewell on “NCIS,” similar to the send-off that his co-star Mark Harmon received when he left the show in 2021. In fact, McCallum made only sporadic appearances as Ducky during the most recent season of “NCIS.” His brief cameo in the Season 20 finale, “Black Sky,” turned out to be his final performance as Ducky Mallard due to his passing.

Although his role in the episode was minor, he provided crucial information to Alden Parker (Gary Cole) and Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) about their latest target. Despite the lack of a grand send-off, it’s important to note that Ducky’s presence on “NCIS” had already diminished in the years leading up to McCallum’s final appearance.

During “NCIS” Season 20, David McCallum, portraying Ducky Mallard, appeared in only four episodes, a pattern consistent with the previous season. In fact, McCallum’s last appearance in more than half of a season’s episodes occurred during the 16th season of “NCIS,” which aired from 2018 to 2019. After that season, the actor’s appearances became increasingly infrequent each year.

In a November 2022 interview with Radio Times, McCallum expressed his sense of detachment when appearing on “NCIS” after many of his former co-stars had left the show. “When I go there, it’s like being in a different show,” the actor admitted. “It doesn’t quite make sense anymore.” In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter before McCallum’s passing, “NCIS” executive producer Charles Floyd Johnson acknowledged the actor’s reduced presence in the show’s recent seasons.

Johnson stated, “David McCallum doesn’t have a substantial role in the series anymore. He might return for a handful of episodes. It has become increasingly challenging for him, and I believe he was contemplating retirement.” It’s worth noting that McCallum never officially left “NCIS” or retired before his passing. However, due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes in the same year, which delayed the production of new “NCIS” episodes, he never had the opportunity to film additional scenes for the show after his appearance in the Season 20 finale.

Whether he had plans to return or not remains unanswered, but fans can celebrate the significant number of episodes in which McCallum’s Ducky appeared during his 20-year tenure on the show.

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