NCIS star Brian Dietzen spoke about writing Ducky tribute episode to honor David McCallum ‘in a proper way’

NCIS Second Chance
Brian Dietzen as Dr. Jimmy Palmer and Katrina Law as NCIS Special Agent Jessica Knight on NCIS. Pic credit: CBS

NCIS Season 21 began on Monday night without David McCallum.

David had played Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard for years but passed away during the hiatus for NCIS.

The first episode of the season was used to wrap up a storyline from last year, but now it is time for the Ducky tribute episode.

Brian Dietzen (he plays Dr. Jimmy Palmer) worked closely with David for years. Their characters also shared many NCIS scenes.

Brian has written NCIS episodes in the past, so it made perfect sense for him to help craft the storylines for a Ducky tribute episode.

NCIS will air the episode on Monday, February 19, and it is intended to honor the character and the man who played him for 20 seasons.

Brian Dietzen talks about penning the emotional episode

“I think everyone knows that we want to honor not only the character of Ducky, but also David McCallum, in a proper way, and what was important about it was showing that this is a family — how you come in and take care of your own, how you are there for your loved ones,” Brian told TV Line.

The veteran actor spoke about how it was “important” to show that Ducky was still in Palmer’s life, even though they didn’t work together at the offices any longer.

“I thought that it was really important to show how hard this team is hit, how hard they’re rocked by this loss. And the person that certainly was closest to him was Jimmy,” Brian added.

“Since Jimmy worked so closely with Ducky, for a couple decades, it made sense that a lot of the story would be retold through his eyes and his memories,” Brian later elaborated.

More details about the Ducky tribute episode

Here is a link to footage CBS released for the Ducky tribute episode. It will serve as NCIS Season 21, Episode 2, and it airs for the first time on Monday, February 19.

The night will be emotional for NCIS fans, especially since it means finally saying goodbye to a character who had been on the show for 20 years.

NCIS Season 20, Episode 21, featured David McCallum. Ducky shared his thoughts on the case that led to Agent Nick Torres going undercover.

Previous episodes of NCIS are available for streaming on Paramount+. That includes the classic episodes where David shared the screen with Mark Harmon (Leroy Jethro Gibbs).

CBS also has a new prequel show called NCIS: Origins that debuts next fall. That’s what Mark Harmon has been working on lately.

NCIS airs Monday at 9/8c on CBS.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments