‘NCIS’ David McCallum ‘Ducky’ Tribute Includes OG Star’s Cameo

NCIS Pictured: David McCallum as Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard. Photo: Michael Yarish/CBS ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

NCIS Season 21, Episode 2 “The Stories We Leave Behind” tribute to the late David McCallum included a surprise cameo from an OG member of the CBS military procedural drama.

Who was there for the Donald “Ducky” Mallard tribute? Did Mark Harmon return? Or Pauley Perrette? What about Michael Weatherly or Cote de Pablo? These are all fan favorites that had a connection with Ducky. Therefore, who showed up? Moreover, how did they keep this a secret?

Here are all the details including why the opening of the series will never be the same again.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The NCISverse (@ncisverse)

NCIS Ducky Tribute Features Surprise Cameo

On Monday, CBS aired the NCIS Ducky tribute. This episode honoring the late David McCallum was entitled “The Stories We Leave Behind.” This episode, co-written by Brian Dietzen was filled with flashbacks, as the team worked together to solve a case that Ducky wanted to solve.

Just as it was time to get ready for the funeral, in comes Tony DiNozzo! Yes, Michael Weatherly came in to be there for Jimmy. He then proceeded to tie a bow tie à la Ducky.

Weatherly left in 2016 to star in Bull and has not returned for eight years. Therefore, his return was a big deal.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The NCISverse (@ncisverse)

How Did They Keep This Secret?

Bringing Michael Weatherly for a secret Tony DiNozzo cameo must have been the biggest NCIS secret since Cote de Pablo returned. How did they make this happen?

According to TV Insider who spoke to Brian Dietzen, bringing Weatherly to the set was a covert operation. “Getting [Michael] out here and doing all this stuff under the cover of secrecy and the dead of night sort of thing was really cool.” Most of all, they managed to keep this a secret despite a lot of speculation. But, why Tony?

Dietzen revealed that there were several people they thought of bringing back, but DiNozzo made the most sense. “We ended up deciding on having the character of Tony come back. It all made a lot of sense. This character, in addition to being close with Ducky, was Jimmy’s good friend, so when he comes to visit, it is to help the person who’s left behind. It’s really to be there for his friend.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The NCISverse (@ncisverse)

Why NCIS Opening Credits Will Never Be The Same Again

In this recent episode, the NCIS opening credits were slower  due to the emotional nature of this episode. In a separate piece, TV Insider discovered that these opening credits will no longer be the same. This was the final episode with David McCallum’s name. Therefore, this was a real goodbye.

NCIS fans, what did you think of this tribute to Ducky?

Georgia Makitalo

One Comment

  1. I think it was a beautiful tribute to David McCallum. I have loved him since the original Mission Impossible. He was a true gentleman! They broke the mold with this wonderful man! RIP Ducky!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *