‘NCIS’: David McCallum Revealed His Process for When Show Wanted to Do Something He Didn’t Like

by Anna Dunn

“Ducky” actor David McCallum had a lot of positive experiences on NCIS, but that didn’t mean there weren’t times he wished things were different. Sometimes, the show would go in a direction he didn’t particularly agree with, or they wouldn’t work with his character in a way that he liked.

He once revealed how he used his voice when the show went in a direction he didn’t like. In 2013, while he was still on the show, he talked about just what it’s like to be an NCIS actor.

“I like the job, and what I like about it is, if there was anything about it that I didn’t like, we would sit down and talk about what we could do to improve Ducky or take him down another angle, and I wouldn’t suggest anything, because the writers have such wonderful minds, they come up with great stories for everybody and they would take care of it,” he told Buzzymag.

Many actors are infamous for trying to speak over writers, but McCallum remained mindful while voicing his concerns. For him, working on NCIS was more of a team effort than anything else. He also said that he loves working with the cast and crew.

“I just love the family,” he said. “I couldn’t be luckier.”

David McCallum and Harmon Got to Star Alongside Jamie Lee Curtis in a Special NCIS Episode

McCallum didn’t just get to act alongside his family. He also got to act alongside famous guest stars. For instance, Jamie Lee Curtis made a guest appearance on NCIS in 2012. Jethro Gibbs actor Mark Harmon called it a “gift.” Curtis played Dr. Samantha Ryan on a season 9 episode, and Harmon loved having her on.

“I’ve known Jamie a long time. She’s a treat to have on set. The rest of the cast loves her and Gary Glasberg has created a role for her that made her want to come and play in the first place, which is rare. But she’s had a great time there and I think she’d tell you that as well,” he said in a 2012 TV Equals interview.

McCallum, Harmon, and the rest of the cast got to act alongside some exciting co-stars and bond during their time on set, but now, things may be coming to an end. McCallum took a reduced role in 2019. Harmon seems to be eyeing the same, which spells trouble for the future of the show. Without many of the characters that the show started out with, NCIS may be in its final years.

Thankfully, there are still 18 seasons worth of ratings-dominating episodes and counting, and the NCIS world isn’t going anywhere. NCIS: Los Angeles is still going strong and NCIS: Hawai’i will air its first season this fall. Hopefully, the actors will learn to approach disagreements with the grace and courtesy of David McCallum