‘NCIS’: How Much Can Fans Expect To See David McCallum in Season 20?

by Joe Rutland

Devoted NCIS fans have been watching David McCallum as Donald “Ducky” Mallard for too many seasons to count. Well, it’s been ever since the show first appeared on CBS. Yep, he’s been around since the beginning. That’s quite a track record for McCallum. Lately, though, his appearances on the show have diminished for different reasons. This brings us to the big question: How much will he be on during Season 20?

“I think it’ll be probably about the same, possibly more,” executive producer Steven D. Binder said in an interview with TV Insider. “One of the things that was difficult last season was it wasn’t a regular season. It opened up with all of our energies devoted to, how do we get Gibbs off the show? How do we give him the exit, for now at least? And that takes a lot of energy and it takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of oxygen. Then we were cast with integrating two new characters into the show — [played by] Katrina Law (as Jessica Knight) and Gary Cole (as Alden Parker). And that also takes a lot of energy and a lot of oxygen.”

‘NCIS’ Executive Producer Sheds Light On McCallum’s Future On Show

But Binder also admits that the show did not have too many NCIS episodes devoted to singular characters. He did mention the Diona Reasonover episode where Kasie, her character, was involved in a situation with Jimmy Palmer, played by Brian Dietzen. Still, even Binder admitted that there was no space for one with Law’s Knight character, too. What about Ducky and McCallum?

“And David McCallum, I say to him all the time, ‘you are this magical pixie dust, wherever we put you, you’re just this magical being who elevates every scene he’s in with that David McCallum gravitas,'” Binder said. “So we would love to have more. We’ll have a little more head space. At a bare minimum, you’ll see him the same amount and hopefully, we’ll be able to, when we do see him, use him in a way that’s more effective, much like Mark Harmon.

“The fans can probably tell when we put him in things and he’s just another star on the show versus when we actually devote our energies to making a story more about him, and those are always fantastic,” Binder said. “He’s never let us down in 20 years.” McCallum is one of the longest-tenured cast members on the show. There are many fans who still remember him from his days opposite Robert Vaughn in the 1960s TV show The Man From U.N.C.L.E. We’ll be watching to see how many episodes McCallum does pop up on the CBS show.