‘NCIS’ Showrunner Hopes To Feature David McCallum’s Ducky More in Season 20

by Caitlin Berard
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Earlier this week, Season 19 of the beloved police procedural NCIS came to a close. As fans have come to expect from the long-running series, Season 19 included both incredible highs and terrible lows.

After the tragic departure of NCIS mainstay Mark Harmon and his fatherly character, Jethro Gibbs, left fans reeling, they were uplifted by a few exciting developments, including a new romance for medical examiner Jimmy Palmer. And to make the end of NCIS Season 19 even sweeter, David McCallum, the actor behind Jimmy’s mentor, Ducky, made an appearance in the final episodes.

A fan-favorite character, Ducky (David McCallum) never fails to brighten any NCIS episode in which he takes part. He only appeared in four episodes in Season 19, however, as the 88-year-old actor opted for a limited schedule from 2017 onward.

The sparse Ducky sightings in Seasons 18 and 19 have fans hoping for more of the cherished medical examiner in Season 20. In an interview with TV Insider following the Season 19 finale, NCIS showrunner Steven D. Binder revealed that he shares their sentiments. There simply wasn’t space for Ducky in Season 19.

“I think it’ll be probably about the same, possibly more,” Binder explained. “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 and Gary Cole,” the EP continued. “And that also takes a lot of energy and a lot of oxygen.”

‘NCIS’ Showrunner Praises David McCallum’s ‘Magical Pixie Dust’

As Season 20 of NCIS will likely be less tumultuous than the previous batch of episodes, showrunner Steven D. Binder hopes to see more of David McCallum’s character. The producer has a great deal of respect for the legendary actor and is well aware of his effect on the show.

“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,” Binder continued. “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.”

David McCallum is a special part of the NCIS team, and Binder feels that his episodes should reflect that rather than feel rushed in any way. “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,” Binder said. “And those are always fantastic. He’s never let us down in 20 years.”

Outsider.com