‘NCIS’ Season 20: Is Ducky Returning in a Bigger Role?

NCIS fans know all about Donald “Ducky” Mallard. The medical examiner, played by David McCallum, has been a part of the CBS series since the beginning — but fans have noticed that McCallum has taken on a reduced role over the last few seasons. Now, in NCIS Season 20 Episode 3, it looks like fans will see plenty of Ducky. Does this mean the character’s returning to take on a bigger role?

David McCallum has a reduced role as Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard in ‘NCIS’ Season 20

Donald 'Ducky' Mallard in 'NCIS' Season 20 Episode 3
Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard in ‘NCIS’ Season 20 Episode 3 | Sonja Flemming/CBS

NCIS fans know Donald “Ducky” Mallard as the beloved medical examiner who worked with the team for decades. Sadly, fans have seen less of David McCallum’s character over the years after he stepped down as the medical examiner and into the role of historian. Many feared he would leave the show completely.

So, why has McCallum taken a step back from his role as Ducky? According to Express, McCallum felt the role of Ducky as the medical examiner felt “redundant.”

“Now he’s retired, I sort of realized the character was becoming a little redundant,” he said. “I sort of decided to leave the show, and they said, ‘No, we’d like to make you the historian so you’re still a part of the show.'”

Will Ducky be back on ‘NCIS’ in a bigger role moving forward?

While Ducky has taken on a reduced role, fans can expect to see him in NCIS Season 20 Episode 3. The promo for the episode shows a dead body full of stones. “When a dead body is found at an ancient burial site that is thought to be cursed, the team tries to determine the motive and the symbolism behind the crime; as Torres continues therapy with Dr. Grace, he discovers that their lives are in danger,” the episode synopsis reads.

Ducky’s appearance in the new episode may have fans wondering if he’ll take on a bigger role in the show moving forward. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like David McCallum has any plans to return to NCIS seriously. Before season 16 aired, he posted to Facebook about how he will enjoy his new “arrangement” with CBS, as it allows him to have more time with his wife, family, and cat.

“I am delighted to say that I have reached an agreement with CBS for Dr. Donald Mallard to stay with NCIS for Season 16,” he posted, according to Screen Rant. “Once again it will be a limited schedule. That arrangement will allow me to spend time with Katherine, our children, six grandsons, and Nickie.”

McCallum could’ve changed his mind by season 20, of course. But at 89 years old, we doubt he’s looking to bring back Ducky in a full-time role.

Many fans miss the character and hope he returns

Kasie Hines and Donald 'Ducky' Mallard in 'NCIS' Season 20 Episode 3
Kasie Hines and Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard | Sonja Flemming/CBS

While David McCollum likely won’t return in full force as Ducky in NCIS Season 20, fans certainly hope they’ll see more of him moving forward.

“Of course I miss him,” a fan on Reddit wrote. “David is 88 years old, so I understand him working less.”

“I miss him too!” another fan wrote. “I kinda like how he pops in from time to time, but we are definitely in a Ducky drought. Maybe just with how old he is, he chose to be seen less on the show until things continue to get better? I wouldn’t be surprised if the next time we see him he’s with Gibbs.”

“It is nice to see Ducky from time to time now, and I hope/wish that someday, while he is (hopefully) still able, they give Ducky one more episode or minor arc,” yet another fan noted.

NCIS Season 20 airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

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