NCIS made a poignant return to our screens last night with the premiere of its 21st season, heavily featuring Special Agent Nick Torres. However, the upcoming episode promises to shift focus onto a beloved character, Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard.

Following the passing of David McCallum, who portrayed Dr. Mallard, in September 2023, fans anticipated a tribute within the series. McCallum’s portrayal of the wise and eccentric Dr. Mallard endeared him to audiences worldwide throughout the show’s 20 seasons. As the character’s prominence evolved over time and other characters took center stage, McCallum’s appearances became less frequent, culminating in his final portrayal during the season 20 finale.

In a statement, NCIS executive producers Steven D. Binder and David North paid homage to McCallum’s legacy, highlighting his invaluable contributions to the show and his cherished presence among the cast and crew.

During the conclusion of the premiere episode, a surprising phone call from Palmer leaves the team in shock, hinting at unforeseen developments. The subsequent promo for the second episode, titled “The Stories We Leave Behind,” reveals the somber news of Ducky’s passing, prompting the team to delve into one of his unresolved cases.

Penned by Brian Dietzen with EP Scott Williams, the episode aims to honor Ducky and McCallum by intertwining their legacies with an emotionally charged case. Dietzen emphasized the thematic connection between loss and the stories we leave behind, underscoring the importance of cherished memories and enduring legacies.

While details remain scarce regarding potential appearances from past characters such as Gibbs or Abby, the cast and crew remain tight-lipped, urging viewers to tune in for what promises to be a poignant and emotional tribute.

As fans prepare for what lies ahead, anticipation mounts, and tissues are sure to be at the ready. Who would you like to see return to NCIS to honor Dr. Mallard? Share your thoughts in the comments.

By chrysos