Saturday, June 1, 2024


Usually with the June ceremony for a new member to join the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, I usually go with the Gemini theme of twins, duos, two of a kind….  You could lose your mind!

But it’s different this year.  Including my Birthday Honors List, there will be three memorial inductions in a row.  And all three are for characters who were involved in crime detection.  We normally induct a detective in July, but with this first memorial ceremony, it fits in with another induction ceremony this month… kind of.  And the Birthday Honors one fits my usual theme for that day – it’s sort of weird.

Anyhoo… for the June inductee into the TVXOHOF….


From Wikipedia & the NCIS Wiki:
Dr. Donald Horatio "Ducky" Mallard, D.H.L. (hon.) (David McCallum) was the chief medical examiner at NCIS and an old friend of Gibbs. He retired from his position as chief medical examiner and became an NCIS historian in season 16. The NCIS team addresses him by his nickname "Ducky," a play on his last name Mallard; when he was younger he went by "Donnie." Mallard is Scottish-born; his cell phone's ringtone features bagpipes playing "Scotland the Brave."

 Mallard is a kind but eccentric character who often talks to the deceased ("their bodies tell me a great deal; it helps to reciprocate") and rambles to the living with long personal remembrances or historical accounts. In "Truth or Consequences," DiNozzo says that "sometimes his head is connected directly to his mouth." He calls coworkers by their full first names or by their surnames with an honorific ("Abigail" for Abby Sciuto, "Mr. Palmer" for his assistant Jimmy Palmer, etc.) and Jenny Shepard and Leon Vance by their job title, "Director". He has revealed that he is not a religious person.

Mallard attended Eton College and the University of Edinburgh Medical School and served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, mustering out with the rank of Captain. While in the RAMC, he served in the Vietnam War while on an officer-exchange program with the United States military. He served in Bosnia during the Yugoslav Wars and in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion.

While in Afghanistan, Ducky stumbled on a CIA interrogation program in the Jalozai refugee camp on the Pakistani border, run by Marcin Jerek, aka Mr. Pain, which tortured Afghan refugees for intelligence purposes. When Ducky found out about the program through Javid, a young man being tortured by Mr. Pain, he gave Javid and a number of other prisoners a lethal injection of morphine to save them from a slow and painful death. When Javid's sister attacked Ducky at a crime scene, the story resurfaced and Ducky was to be investigated by the Afghan government for war crimes. However, he was found innocent when he confronted Mr. Pain at the Afghan embassy. It was revealed that Mr. Pain knew that Javid was innocent and that the only reason he was torturing him was to break Ducky to stop him giving prisoners morphine injections. Pain was then arrested and turned over to the Afghan government for trial. However, Ducky claimed that he would not be forgiven for the act by others or by himself.

He joined NCIS in December 1992. Ducky and Gibbs have worked together for many years and Ducky is Gibbs' closest friend. Although most of his time is spent in autopsy and attending crime scenes, he is sent on an important undercover mission in "Blowback". Ducky has a "second talent", as Gibbs calls it, to be able to read people, which he expands in season four by studying psychology. In cases without actual bodies, he assists by using his psychological training to decipher the clues left by the perpetrators and establish modus operandi and motive.

Until season six, Ducky lived with his aging mother Victoria and her corgis. Nina Foch, who played Victoria, died in 2008. In "Broken Bird," Ducky reveals that his mother has moved out and has Alzheimer's disease. In "Double Identity," it is revealed that Ducky's mother has died. The rest of the team only learns of Victoria's death when Abby follows Ducky to her grave. Later, Gibbs pays him a condolence call in the autopsy room, but Ducky seems relieved at her death (probably as she was no longer suffering from Alzheimer's), grateful to have been her son and proud that she almost lived to the age of 100. In season nine, "Playing with Fire," it is revealed that Ducky has inherited a lot of money from his mother's estate. Gibbs is the first person he reveals this to. In the episode "Spinning Wheel," Ducky is revealed to have a half-brother, Nicholas, who is 20 years his junior; his father Joseph and his ex-stepmother, Lorraine, are also introduced in that episode.  (In the episode "Hung Out to Dry," it is revealed that he has a nephew, though no further information follows.)

Ducky owns a Morgan that he restored himself. There is a running gag in which Ducky and his assistant (first Gerald and then Jimmy) frequently get lost or meet a mishap when driving to the crime scene. In the Halloween episode "Witch Hunt," he and Jimmy are late after their van is pelted with eggs by youths in ninja costumes. According to Jimmy, Ducky chased the teens for several blocks and apprehended them and made them clean its windshield. He asks Gibbs to be the executor of his will.

In the season 8 episode "False Witness", Ducky decides to open a Facebook account to keep up with the times, and the interests he tries to list in his profile include etymology, archeology, sociology, fluviomorphology, hymenopterology, and ornithology. In the season 9 episode "Thirst", he dates a woman he met online, but it ends badly.

While walking on a beach, Ducky suffers a heart attack in the season nine finale, "Till Death Do Us Part," after hearing about the bomb blast at NCIS headquarters and then is seen lying motionless. In the season ten premiere "Extreme Prejudice," it is shown that he had survived the condition and receiving treatment after being found on the beach. Under reduced workload, he returns to work alongside the team. From this he is seen to push Jimmy into being more confident and to be ready to take his place.

In "Twofer," Ducky learns that his alma mater, the University of Edinburgh, wants to present him with an honorary doctor of Humane Letters, which he receives in "Exit Strategy."

In season 15, Ducky takes a sabbatical from NCIS to teach at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, leaving Dr. Palmer in charge in his absence. His visiting professorship ends in early season 16 and he proceeds to embark on a book tour after publishing a book about the various cases he had worked on over his long career as a medical examiner (both at and prior to NCIS). Ducky announces his official retirement from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in "Bears and Cubs." In "Silent Service," he accepts an offer from Gibbs and Vance of a part-time position as NCIS historian, since it will allow him to come and go as he pleases and still assist the team's investigations.

When Special Agent Caitlin Todd asked Gibbs "What did Ducky look like when he was younger?" he replied, "Illya Kuryakin"—the Russian U.N.C.L.E. agent played by McCallum in the 1960s television show ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’

O'Bservation - The mention of Illya Kuryakin was not a Zonk; there was no discrepancy.  By the time of the TV reunion movie, “The 15 Years Later”, Illya had become a fashion designer; I’m assuming with some modicum of fame.  There was no mention of the old TV series, no mention of Kuryakin’s life of spy (which Gibbs shouldn’t have known about.)  But Illya being a fashion designer could have crossed Gibbs’ radar, whether he was interested or not.

Until season 15, David McCallum had appeared in every episode of NCIS except "Legend Part II."

David McCallum died on September 25, 2023, at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, six days after his 90th birthday. McCallum's death eventually led to Ducky dying in his sleep in the second episode of Season 21, dedicated to McCallum/Ducky "The Stories We Leave Behind". Despite this, McCallum remains in the opening credits in the first two Season 21 episodes.

Here are the appearances which qualified Ducky for membership in the Hall:

2 episodes

458 episodes

2 episodes

You were always a lock for membership, Doctor Mallard.  I should have inducted you sooner (not that David McCallum would ever have learned of it), but maybe subconsciously it was a way to defy Fate – as long as you weren’t memorialized, there was always the possibility you might pop up again on our screens. 

Welcome to the Hall, Ducky!