‘NCIS’: How Long Will Ducky Stay on Show With Mark Harmon Taking Lesser Role?

by Matthew Wilson

On the hit series “NCIS,” there aren’t many of the original cast members left. The old guard is looking fewer and thinner these days. Even series lead Mark Harmon seems poised for the door, rumored to make a limited appearance in the upcoming Season 19.

But what about actor David McCallum and his character Ducky? Ducky Mallard was one of the original characters that first appeared on the show all the way back in 2003. For years, fans have cherished the interactions between McCallum and Harmon. As a good-hearted character, Ducky quickly became a fan favorite.

In recent years, Ducky Mallard has become more of a recurring character. McCallum decided to step away from the series on a regular basis back in Season 16. The actor stayed on “NCIS,” but Ducky only has had occasional appearances over the past few seasons. It’s an agreement that McCallum seems happy with, keeping the character in the show while having more time with his family.

“I am delighted to say that I have reached an agreement with CBS for Dr. Donald Mallard to stay with NCIS for Season 16,” McCallum wrote. “Once again it will be a limited schedule. That arrangement will allow me to spend time with Katherine, our children, six grandsons and Nickie.”

Ducky Mallard On ‘NCIS’

Over the years, Ducky Mallard has had some close calls on “NCIS.” For instance, fans thought they might lose the character when he experienced a heart attack. Viewers had to wait during a nail-biting off-season for the character’s ultimate fate. Fortunately, “NCIS” decided to keep Mallard and McCallum around. In fact, Ducky got to semi-ride into the sunset.

Ducky chose to resign from the NCIS team, giving his papers to Director Leon Vance. But the character then had a bit of a crisis. He didn’t know what to do with his life without the NCIS in it. Fortunately, the organization had a part-time historian role, perfect for Mallard. So, that’s the role that Ducky still fills on the show. It gives McCallum the opportunity to pop up whenever he feels like it on the show.

But you have to wonder when McCallum might hang up his Ducky role for good. After all, those occasional guest stops might not feel quite like a homecoming when all of his co-stars are gone. Mark Harmon certainly seems to be on his way out. Additionally, fans worried back in Season 18 when the NCIS team gathered for a funeral.

In promos, fans didn’t see McCallum on the set. Some thought “NCIS” chose to kill off the character off-screen. But Ducky Mallard lived to see another day despite worries. Ultimately, it’s not known when McCallum might step away from “NCIS” for good. But fans certainly enjoy seeing him on the show.