‘NCIS’: When Will Ducky Make His Return?

by Suzanne Halliburton
Sonja Flemming/CBS

NCIS fans really want to see Ducky Mallard again. But although rumors swirled his reappearance would be this week, the glimpse of the beloved character didn’t happen.

How did the NCIS Ducky reappearance buzz all start? Blame a cast member who loves to interact with fans on social media.

Brian Dietzen, who plays medical examiner Jimmy Palmer and NCIS nice guy, answered a question last week about Ducky (David McCallum). A fan asked Dietzen, via Twitter, if Ducky would be back this season. Dietzen said yes. Then it was widely reported that McCallum’s appearance would be this past Monday’s episode, called All Hands.

So, Dietzen tried to clarify. He posted on Twitter: “I’m sorry, I meant he’ll be back this season. When your question popped up in my timeline, I didn’t realize it was in response to my post! I didn’t mean to mislead, I promise! He shall return!”

Monty Brinton/CBS

Ducky used to be Jimmy’s boss before Ducky retired. NCIS fans always wonder when they’ll see McCallum again. Ducky had a terrific relationship with Gibbs (Mark Harmon). He was the only one in the office who called Gibbs “Jethro.” That’s his middle name. Gibbs’ first name is Leroy. He was named after his father’s best friend.

CBS always lists the 88-year-old McCallum as a recurring character on each episode. He did reappear earlier in season 19 when NCIS told Gibbs goodbye in a four-episode arc.

Sonja Flemming/CBS

But When Will Ducky Come Back?

It’s likely not going to be this coming Monday’s episode. CBS released details about the episode, Wednesday. The plot tease for Fight or Flight: “When the body of a Navy lieutenant is discovered missing an eye, the NCIS investigation leads to the world of cage fighting.”

The episode will be heavy on Torres, (Wilmer Valderrama) since he’s the NCIS agent who is cage fighting in episode teases.

And maybe we can assume it won’t be episode 13, which is the next new hour after Fight or Flight. CBS doesn’t have an air date for episode 13, but it will be after the Winter Olympics end in mid-to-late February.

Dietzen wrote the episode and we know CBS started production on it the week after Thanksgiving. This is the hour about the return of Meredith Eaton and her Carol Wilson character. Eaton has been a guest start three times on NCIS and once on NCIS: New Orleans.

If you’re an NCIS fanatic, you know that Carol was a college friend of Abby’s (Pauley Perrette). She’s also a researcher at the Center for Disease Control. She last appeared on NCIS in 2013 in an episode called Homesick. It was the season’s Christmas episode as Carol helped figure out a mysterious illness contracted by children of soldiers. Her first episode was in 2009. And it also was Christmas-themed. Her 2011 episode was dubbed Devil’s Triangle.

McCallum left the show as a full-time cast member in 2019. Stick with Outsider for more details. We’ll let you know when Ducky returns.