‘NCIS’ Star David McCallum Once Explained Why Mark Harmon Never Plays Practical Jokes on Him

by John Jamison

‘NCIS’ Star David McCallum has been playing Donald “Ducky” Mallard on the crime drama since it began in 2003. However, those 414 episodes over the course of 18 seasons are far from the extent of his TV acting career. “The Man from U.N.C.L.E” star has been acting professionally since the 1950s. It’s safe to say he is one of the most esteemed cast members on the set of “NCIS.” And that comes with certain privileges.

In 2015, the Ducky Mallard actor was generous enough to do an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit. “NCIS” fans from all over the world had the opportunity to ask their favorite doctor-turned-historian about his time on the show.

Among other fun bits of background that fans would otherwise never get, one of the revelations was how McCallum dealt with Mark Harmon’s tendency to play pranks on his fellow cast members. One time the Leroy Gibbs actor hung a dead lizard he found, complete with a little noose and farewell note, in longtime “NCIS” star Cote de Pablo’s trailer. Creepy as it is, the Ziva David actress appreciated the gesture and left it up there.

That’s the type of practical joke one can expect from Mark Harmon. But David McCallum? One doesn’t casually play a prank on the accomplished David McCallum. And Harmon knows it. At least, that’s what the Ducky actor claimed during his Reddit AMA.

The “NCIS” star was asked, “Has Mark Harmon ever played a practical joke on you?. Since I have heard he is a major jokster.”

His response? “Mark Harmon knows I am not the type to be toyed with.”

Fair enough. A near-70 year career has its benefits. With that kind of pedigree, McCallum’s the one who should be messing with Harmon.

David McCallum Once Talked About What Made ‘NCIS’ Work

“NCIS” has enjoyed a level of success as a crime drama which is on par with the likes of “Law & Order.” It’s exceedingly rare that shows last 10 seasons, let alone push 20. And the 87-year old David McCallum has been around enough of them to know what works and what doesn’t.

According to an interview he did in 2016, all of the credit goes to Don Bellisario, the show’s creator.

“Oh my god. I think it all starts with Don Bellisario when he created the ship that we sail in. And it was such a great idea. I remember they did the FBI stories way back and that put the FBI on the map. And now the NCIS is on the map as a result of the television show,” McCallum said.

Don Bellisario in part, but there’s a bit of humility in McCallum’s answer. Most “NCIS” fans would tell you that people like him and Mark Harmon make the show worth watching.