‘NCIS’: Why Star David McCallum is Called ‘Dr. Death’ By His Family

by Joe Rutland
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When someone gets called “Dr. Death” from family members, it might not be flattering. ‘NCIS” star David McCallum, though, understands.

McCallum, who plays pathologist Donald “Ducky” Mallard on the long-running CBS drama, said he is always researching about death. His comments are part of a 2013 interview from Buzzy Mag.

“I get accused by my family – they call me Dr. Death now,” McCallum said. “I have yards and yards of books on the subject of death. When we started this show, I didn’t know anything about pathology and I didn’t know anything about [the real] N.C.I.S.”

‘NCIS’ Star Admires Real Agents’ ‘Commitments Of Excellence’

The Scottish-born actor, who was a star before “NCIS” on “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” in the 1960s, started learning about N.C.I.S. agents’ “commitments of excellence.” N.C.I.S. stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

“All of those special agents have [this], and then we brought that to what we all do as a team,” McCallum said. “I love this show because it gives me a chance to do what I was born to do in the best possible way.”

The “NCIS” star also tips his cap toward now-retired Los Angeles County coroner Craig Harvey. McCallum said he also learned a lot from former U.S. Army chief pathologist Craig Mallak, who now serves as Broward County (Fla.) Medical Examiner.

They have “helped me to understand what they do, how they do it,” McCallum said. “And I think they respect the fact that we do it as well as we do.”

The actor, though, admits that he continues to learn. He’ll be a part of “NCIS” when the show enters its 19th season on CBS this upcoming fall. McCallum said gaining this education has been “the most exciting part of the whole show for me.”

Show’s Leading Actor Says He Keeps Learning About His Character

Speaking of education, “NCIS” leading actor Mark Harmon said in a 2012 interview that he keeps learning new things about his character, Jethro Gibbs. He stays in constant contact with the show’s writers which helps expand the knowledge Harmon has about Gibbs.

“[I learn something new] all the time,” Harmon said. “And I think that everyone would say the same thing.

“I’ve never been one to go up to the writer’s office and sit down and say, ‘What are we doing?'” he said. “I much prefer getting a script and reading about what they had in mind.”

The interview with TV Equals was done about a decade ago. “NCIS” remains in the CBS lineup along with two spinoff series, “NCIS: Los Angeles” and the new fall edition, “NCIS: Hawai’i.”

Outsider.com