‘NCIS’ fans know that the show is all about inviting other actors to guest star in the series. Zac Efron, Lily Tomlin, Abigail Breslin, and Bob Newhart are just a few of the celebrities to appear on the show. Certainly, Newhart is known for his comedy chops. But his time with “NCIS” showed a more serious side of the actor. During his appearance, Newhart played Dr. Walter Magnus, the former NCIS chief medical examiner who was replaced by Donald Mallard. During the season eight episode, Magnus comes way out of retirement to help with a case. Unfortunately, at the end of the episode, Magnus discovers that he’s suffering from Alzheimer’s. Certainly, that was an incredible performance. But was it the best guest appearance ever on “NCIS?
“NCIS” fans debated who the best guest star is in a recent Reddit thread.
“I know that I’m not caught all the way up yet, but Christopher Lloyd has got to be the best guest star they’ve ever had. His episode was amazing and so was he.”
Another fan agreed that Christopher Lloyd topped the list of guest stars. But they added another actor as well.
“Dunno. I’m still partial towards Billy Dee.”
Why ‘NCIS’ Creators Wrote AaPart for Christopher Lloyd on the Show
Undoubtedly, Christopher Lloyd is an iconic actor. He can always be counted on to make a scene more interesting. So, it’s not a surprise that “NCIS” writers decided to write a part specifically for Lloyd.
During the episode titled, “The Arizona”, Lloyd plays former Navy man, Joe Smith. After some health issues, Smith decides that he wants to be interred at the Pearl Harbour memorial. However, Joe struggles to prove that he is who he claims to be. So, he turns to the NCIS team for a DNA test. Eventually, Joe offers a heartwrenching and honest account of his experiences aboard the USS Arizona when it was attacked. The scene required a level of vulnerability that Mark Harmon’s Gibbs had not yet shown on the show.
During an interview in 2020, “NCIS” Executive Producers Frank Cardea and Gina Lucita Monreal talked about how the role of Joe was written with Lloyd in mind. They said that they wanted Gibbs to display vulnerability and they knew that Lloyd would be just the actor to help bring it out of him.
“His name had come up about a month earlier for another episode — a small part,” said Cardea. “But, Gina will tell you, she wrote this with him in mind.”
“His voice was in my head the entire time,” said Monreal. “He was my number one wish and it’s so rare that as a writer, that person actually ends up playing the role. It was such a huge thrill and to have that beautiful performance that he delivered.”