Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The NCIS Character You Likely Forgot Bob Newhart Played

"NCIS" has been a television fixture since 2003, and in that time, it has offered viewers some truly unforgettable characters. As names like Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and Abby Sciuto (oft-forgotten DC star Pauley Perrette) have commanded the spotlight and gone through fascinating arcs, the series simultaneously found time to stick a few celebrity cameo characters into their stories for fun. In fact, the program even managed to land entertainment icon Bob Newhart for a single episode. This installment aired for the first time quite a while ago, so it's understandable if you forgot about his inclusion.

Season 8's "Recruited" sees the "NCIS" team investigate the mysterious demise of United States Navy recruiter Simon Craig (Chad Michael Collins). While they handle this case, Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard is visited by his old mentor and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service's previous chief medical examiner, Dr. Walter Magnus (Newhart). Aside from a flashback in Season 8's "A Man Walks into a Bar," as of publication, this has stood as Newhart's only physical appearance on "NCIS." Although, Dr. Magnus reemerges in "Everything Starts Somewhere" from Season 18, played by Thomas Crawford.

Even though he wasn't on "NCIS" for long, Newhart's Dr. Magnus seemed to leave a lasting impression on fans of the program.

Newhart's Dr. Magnus really connected with some NCIS fans

While it's great to see Bob Newhart on "NCIS," Dr. Magnus' story isn't the most happy one. We learn in "Recruited" that he's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. His memory loss has progressively worsened, and as someone with a medical background, he's tragically well aware of how the disease is impacting his mind. It's sad to watch, yet when he's able to help out the "NCIS" team, even in some small way, it's incredibly uplifting. Newhart certainly does the written material justice, hence why viewers like Redditor u/ptazdba love the Dr. Magnus character so much.

"Bob Newhart so masterfully played the role of the former medical examiner in the throes of [Alzheimer's]. That scene at the end to help him realize he made a difference just made me cry," they wrote in their thread about the character. They add that it means a lot to see someone of the previous generation get one more chance to shine, even though medical science and technology have moved past him. Commenter u/Floralsavannahx found this part particularly strong, agreeing on the importance of remembering those who paved the way.

Perhaps someday Bob Newhart could return for one more appearance as Dr. Magnus on "NCIS," but even if he doesn't, it's safe to say he made the most of his lone appearance on the long-running crime procedural.