‘NCIS’ Actor David McCallum Once Appeared in ‘Murder, She Wrote’ Episode That Had Nod to ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’

by Joe Rutland
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Hey Outsiders, remember when “NCIS” star David McCallum was on “Murder, She Wrote” and it gave a tip of the hat to “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”?

No? OK, don’t get in a huff. That’s a lot to unpack right there, yet we can assure you all of it will make a little sense soon. McCallum stars right now as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on “NCIS” and has been on the show since its first season.

Back in 1989, McCallum had a bit role as Cyril Grantham in a “Murder, She Wrote” episode titled “From Russia … with Blood.” It was in the CBS mystery show’s fifth season. Legendary Broadway star Angela Lansbury starred in the show as mystery author/sleuth Jessica Fletcher.

‘NCIS’ Actor Has Character In CBS Mystery Drama Taking Place In Russia

This episode, according to IMDb, is where Jessica Fletcher is detained in Moscow when a spy attempts to smuggle a film out of the Soviet Union in her handbag. Hmm, interesting. So, we’ve got Fletcher in Moscow and “NCIS” star McCallum in the episode.

Obviously, the episode’s title is a spoof of the James Bond movie title “From Russia… with Love.” But what about McCallum, you’re asking. What character did he play on the 1960s NBC hit spy show? Illya Kuryakin, a Russian spy who teamed up with American spy Napoleon Solo [Robert Vaughn]. They fought off enemies in order to keep world peace.

So, there you go. McCallum, ironically, wasn’t even given the role of a Russian agent in the episode. That might have made it stand out too much.

But Outsiders who love their classic TV can spot interesting connections a mile away. McCallum also appeared in a 1990 episode called “Deadly Misunderstanding.” No, there is no Russian connection in that episode.

It should be noted that McCallum became an international superstar because of playing Kuryakin.

McCallum Chose Acting Instead Of Continuing His Musical Career

David McCallum of “NCIS” had a rather successful career in classical music. But he left that world to be an actor. McCallum talked about his decision in a 2016 interview from Stay Thirsty.

When asked if he was happy to pursue acting instead of becoming a classical musician like both of his parents, the “NCIS” star replied thusly.

“I left University College School in London when I was 16 and went to work,” he said. “I have had no other formal education. Consequently, the considerable knowledge I have learned since then is autodidactic.

“A career in music has many demands: great technique, constant practice, mastery of the instrument, and considerable musicianship,” McCallum said. “Acting on the other hand demands that you look the part and learn your lines. And anyway, I was born to be on stage as an actor.”

Outsider.com