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How NCIS said goodbye to David McCallum


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SPOILER ALERT! This story contains plot points from Monday's episode of NCIS.

NCIS On Monday he paid his final respects to star David McCallum, who died on September 25 at the age of 90.

McCallum, a fan favorite, was the last remaining original cast member on NCISin which he played the eccentric but very efficient investigator Donald “Ducky Mallard” for two decades.

As heavily teased in the promos, the episode called “The Stories We Left Behind” began with Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen, who co-wrote the episode) arriving at Ducky's house to find his mentor, dressed in his monogrammed pajamas, dead in his bed, with his sweet corgi looking helpless in the hallway.

“Dying peacefully in your sleep is not the worst way to die,” says Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) at the NCIS offices, after finishing a call with the Scottish Parliament, which apparently wanted to send “a mountain of thistles” to honor the death of his native son.

“He lived a very long and rewarding life, one that he would like us to celebrate more than anything,” added director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll).

That's exactly what the episode did: show old scenes from past seasons to remind the character who once said “we all die twice; when our bodies give up and again when stories stop being told.”

There was a flashback with Leroy Gibbs (Mark Harmon) with Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva David (Cote de Pablo). Then came a scene with Ducky and Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), followed by one where Ducky and Gibbs talked about how the latter never shared personal stories at work.

But first, there had to be a case of the day: the latest thing Ducky was working on involved a dead soldier named Danny whose name was being smeared by an ambitious councilman named Allan Berger (um, not to be confused with, we suppose, veteran talent agent Alan Berger). The official word was that Danny died in an Afghan brothel, with his body riddled with heroin, but his daughter, Serena, suspected otherwise.

Duckling too. The team does some digging and it turns out that Danny was a former bodyguard of Berger's, who previously worked as a contractor in Afghanistan and received additional money from a local heroin operation. Once Danny threatened to expose the shenanigans, Berger had Danny killed.

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Brian Dietzen as Jimmy Palmer Michael Yarish/CBS

With the case in the bag and Danny's good name restored, the team could move on to Ducky's memorial. But first, a surprise awaited Palmer, who was preparing to deliver a eulogy. Enter DiNozzo, who brought Palmer a special gift: a bow tie similar to the one his mentor used to wear in the lab.

“He had a good friend in you,” DiNozzo tells Palmer. The two then head to the monument, after Palmer turns off the light in Ducky's old workspace.

Weatherly has not appeared on CBS since her drama. Bull ended in 2022. Gone NCIS in 2016.

The episode ended with a title card that read: “In memory of our dear friend and colleague David McCallum. We will miss you.”

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