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Here's How Much NCIS Fans Can Expect To See Ducky In Season 20

Only four characters have appeared in every season of "NCIS" since it debuted in 2003: Donald "Ducky" Mallard (David McCallum), Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), Timothy McGee (Sean Murray), and T.C. Fornell (Joe Spano). Of those four, McCallum has the most call sheet entries with 436, one more than Harmon. But with McCallum approaching his 90s and the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting Hollywood's best-laid plans for the past two and a half years, not all of those credits represent an on-screen appearance.

According to IMDb, Mallard actually appeared in just four episodes in Season 19 and three in Season 18 as part of a gradual reduction in McCallum's workload that began in Season 15. With "NCIS" Season 20 set to kick off on September 19, it would be reasonable to assume that we might see even less of Ducky in the future. McCallum's 65 years as a working actor may be coming to a close, but just how much of Ducky should we expect to see in Season 20 of "NCIS?"

We might see more of Ducky in NCIS Season 20

"NCIS" Executive Producer Steven D. Binder spoke to TV Insider about what viewers could expect to see in Season 20 and had some encouraging news for Ducky fans. When asked directly how often Dr. Mallard would appear in the upcoming season, Binder said, "I think it'll be probably about the same, possibly more." He cited the need to write Mark Harmon's character off the show while introducing Jessica Knight (Katrina Law) and Alden Parker (Gary Cole) as a reason we didn't see much of Ducky in Season 19. "That takes a lot of energy, and it takes a lot of time, and it takes a lot of oxygen," he said.

Binder made it clear he values the veteran actor's presence. "I say to him all the time, 'you are this magical pixie dust, wherever we put you, you're just this magical being who elevates every scene he's in with that David McCallum gravitas.' So we would love to have more. We'll have a little more head space. At a bare minimum, you'll see him the same amount ... He's never let us down in 20 years." Nor has he let fans down since his 1953 debut in the BBC miniseries "The Rose and The Ring," and it looks like we'll get more than a couple of brief glimpses of Ducky this season.