Dr. Donald "Ducky" MallardThis is a featured page

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Donald "Ducky" Mallard is played by David McCallum

Occupation/Title: Chief Medical Examiner/ Forensic Psychologist

Personality type:

Signature look: dapper, with a large collection of bow ties.

Endearing trait(s): Gentlemanly, grandad figure, always pleasant

Annoying trait(s): Tends to digress easily

Blog Entry Links:

Ducky's Song
Dr. Donald Mallard


Family members:
  • Known to have at least one sibling who has had children. Sex of sibling unknown at this stage. In Episode 1.02 Hung Out To Dry - Ducky is heard to comment to Tony "The last time I was up this high was to hang a pinata at my nephew's birthday."
  • Aged mother, Victoria Mallard.
  • Great Uncle William, who used to apologize for sitting naked at the dinner table even though he wasn't and Aunt Gertrude, who did sit naked at the dinner table. (2.07 Call of Silence)

  • Dr Jordan Hampton.
  • Sophie (real estate agent who sold his mother's house).
  • Mary Courtney - 9.06 Thirst. Unfortunately she was psychotic, killing people in an unusual way solely for the purpose of giving Ducky something interesting to study.
  • He and Gibbs are close pals. He has a story about everything, and he's not afraid to tell them. Even when he's carving into a body.


Character Backstory:

Season 1:
  • His parents divorced, in an era when that would have been unacceptable. Ducky served in the British military, and saw service in Vietnam (although that might have been with a different military flag as the Brits were not a big part of that war). His education was at Eton (rich, posh) and Edinburgh (famed for medicine, a very old school). He has a network of friends around the USA and the world in coroners and medical examiners. He likes ballet such as Giselle and operas such as La Forza del Destino (The Force of Destiny), history and psychology. He regrets not having children and is unwaveringly dutiful to his mother's care. His mother was 95 two seasons ago at least. He aspired to academia but then thought that it would be awful to be droning on all day telling stories. He is fit and nimble, able to get to a body no matter how inconveniently located and is a have-a-go hero when dealing with recalcitrant youth. He still has an eye for the ladies.
  • Was held as a hostage in his own autopsy room by Ari. He exhibited a great desire to kill Ari, even then. (I want that terrorist on my slab, Jethro.) His assistant, Gerald, wears earphones whilst working so that he doesn't have to listen to the stories.
  • Ducky is afraid that he bores people: to which Kate, Tony and Gibbs give a resounding, untruthful "no". He lacks self-awareness.
  • Ducky habitually talks to his "guests", sometimes reassuring them, sometimes asking questions of them and allowing their bodies to provide the answers. He is deeply aware that the bodies he must examine had been living humans and that the autopsy process is very invasive. Talking with them is his way of expressing respect.
Season 2:

  • We learn that Ducky has only had one Jane Doe, and he kept her ashes for 10 years in hope of finding out who she was. Still lives with his 96 year old mother. Studied medicine in Scotland at same university as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Edinburgh University medical school.
  • He attended Eton, a boys school where the uniform is the type of suit that men usually only wear to weddings (morning coats with tails, waistcoats, wing collars with bow ties). It is for the seriously rich and many aristocrats send their sons there. Ducky played cricket (although he was 12th man (the reserve batsman)).
  • Ducky drinks tea, made properly with loose leaves in a teapot. He maintains traditions. He likes bow ties (old Etonian).
  • He also keeps a bottle of scotch hidden in a desk drawer.

Season 3:
  • Ducky refuses to let anyone else do Kate's autopsy and he is mindful of her modesty by keeping her covered. He mourns the fact that she didn't kill Ari when she had the chance. Ducky becomes worried by Gibbs' obsession over Ari. Ducky keeps an eye on Gibbs' mental health.
  • Ducky studies for a master's degree in forensic psychology so that he can opine on the mental condition of killers and victims. Palmer helps him study for the exams. Palmer proves to be an excellent apprentice to Ducky, being serious about his scientific and medical studies and happy to listen to Ducky's stories, finding in them a rich vein of knowledge instead of a shortcut to boredom. Palmer is intelligent enough to get the point of the stories and the knowledge, but doesn't understand why Ducky is compelled to tell the stories even when his audience has gone.

Season 4:

  • Ducky is angry over Gibbs' departure and frosty on his return. It is a side of his character that the others do not understand. He does not admit that he is doing anything wrong. Gibbs ignores the snubs but drops remarks that show he is, at some level, hurt by Ducky's actions and puzzled by them.
  • Ducky is fascinated by Ziva and when she displays her knowledge of killing methods, he is invites her for dinner rather than display revulsion. Ducky is tougher minded than his demeanour would indicate. He has seen active service. He has had to break the news of the death of loved ones twice to the families: and prefers combat to such duties. Ducky is not quick on the uptake about the activities of Mr Palmer with Agent Lee: perhaps he cannot imagine anyone wanting to have sex on autopsy tables or, more bizarrely, under them on the storage shelf used for catching the body fluids.
  • Ducky now has a degree in Forensic psychology and he can now do a psychological autopsy as well as cutting open the bodies.
  • In 4.14 Blowback, Ducky goes undercover as the dead CIA guy to sell a radar to La Grenouille, the arms dealer that Jenny is trying to take down.

Season 5:

  • Ducky solves the mystery over the body in Tony's car...it's not Tony! He realises this by noting that the deceased has good lungs whereas Tony's must be scarred from plague-induced pneumonia. Claims Tony's Mighty Mouse stapler when they think Tony is dead and bashfully returns it to the "dear fellow" when he turns up alive.
  • He is trusted with Jenny's secret that she is terminally ill. He cannot keep the secret from Gibbs. He dislikes the cover-up required to hide what happened to Jenny, what Gibbs did, what Franks did, and what Tony and Ziva didn't do....

Season 6:

  • In 6.13 Broken Bird, Ducky is stabbed by a woman at a crime scene, who then formally accuses Ducky of war crimes during his time in Afghanistan in the '80s. Ducky was serving as a doctor in a prisoner of war camp when the camp CIA operative attempted to break Ducky's optimism by repeatedly torturing a young man and returning him to Ducky for healing. Ducky finally overdosed the prisoner with medication, causing his death, to break the cycle. The episode haunts Ducky to this day.
Season 7:

Season 8:

  • In 8.10 False Witness, Ducky decides to enter the world of social networking by joining Facebook and explains to Gibbs what Facebook is.
Season 9:

  • In 9.22 Playing with Fire, Ducky decides to draw up his will. He's chosen Gibbs to be the executor of his estate, and the primary beneficiary will be the Marine Corps Scholarship Fund.
  • Ducky suffers a serious heart attack in the closing moments of Season 9 (9.24 Till Death Do Us Part)
Season 10:
  • While recovering from his heart attack, Ducky is medically unfit for duty for a few episodes and Jimmy Palmer assumes the role of Medical Examiner for the team. Gibbs allows Ducky to consult from time to time (including an opportunity to lead an investigation in 10.03 Phoenix). Both Ducky and Jimmy are relieved when Ducky is finally cleared to return to work.



  • "Reminds me of this one time..."
  • Gibbs: "You pushed him off a cliff"
    Ducky: "There was water below it"
    Gibbs: "It was 60ft down"
  • Jimmy: "Dr Mallard gave chase and caught them."
    Ducky: "Come, come, Mr Palmer. It's not as if they were real ninjas".
  • Ducky: "Sorry we're late, Jethro. Gerald got lost again."
    Gerald: "Doctor, you had the map!".
    Ducky: "You gave it to me."
  • Gibbs (regarding Ducky's interest in women which surprises Kate): "He is older, Kate, not dead."

  • Ducky: "Yes, but I am alive. And until I am embalmed and buried there will be stories to tell. And I look forward to telling them."


  • When Kate has to 'babysit' Ducky and his mother at their house, when an ex-con (whom Ducky helped convict) starts killing off the key players in that conviction, Kate asks Gibbs what Ducky looked like when he was young. Gibbs pauses and answers "Illya Kuryakin".

  • In another episode, Kate, Tony and Gibbs meet a fake colonel who is trying to prevent the team from investigating the deaths of two marines who were on undercover intelligence operations in South America. When they realise the colonel was an impostor, they try to tell Abby the details of what he looked like, so that she can make a composite photo on her computer. Kate and Tony disagree so much that Kate volunteers to do paperwork instead. She goes away and actually sketches the man they are looking for. Meanwhile, Gibbs and Abby continue with the attempt to do it on computer. By the time Kate returns, we hear Gibbs and Tony saying "Yeah, that looks like him!". We are surprised, thinking that they have made a picture of the villain. When the computer screen is turned around, it is a picture of Ducky, as a young Illya Kuryakin, and Gibbs is saying "Yeah, that's Ducky".

  • When Gibbs retires, Ducky regards it as a betrayal of his duty. Ducky considers that Gibbs has quit. When Gibbs returns, he gets a frosty reception from Ducky: they indicate this by scrupulous politeness with each other and very formal modes of address. But eventually Ducky approaches Gibbs at the end of a long day that has brought back memories of old times. Ducky admits that there is something that he should have told Gibbs long ago, and that is "Welcome back". He holds out his hand to shake hands. Gibbs rises and comes around the desk, saying "You know how I feel about apologies", to which Ducky replies "They're a sign of weakness". And for once Gibbs says "Not between friends. I am sorry Ducky. I should have told you (about his dead wife and child)." and they shake hands which becomes a hug. And Gibbs whispers "Thank you". It is the closest we ever see Gibbs to social convention with a man. Which is indicative of how close the friendship between Ducky and Gibbs really is. One would go so far as to say they are probably best friends.

  • When a Navy commander's head is found in the trunk/boot of a stolen car (3.15 Head Case), Gibbs and Ducky unite in trying to find the rest of the man's body. When they have caught the bad guys, they realise that they have to choose between honouring a promise to the widow (to have the man's ashes returned in time for them to be scattered at sea from his last ship) or to keep the body for evidence, as they ought. Without having to speak, they agree to honour the promise to the widow and Ducky gleefully sneaks out with Gibbs to take the remains to the crematorium.

  • When Ducky is tied down by a dastardly criminal who is going to embalm him alive (2.13 The Meat Puzzle) by exsanguinating him first, it is Gibbs who arrives in time and helps Ducky pull out the needle and holds him up. Ducky's response is "what kept you", which merely causes Gibbs to chuckle at the ingratitude for arriving at all.

  • Ducky's mother, Mrs Mallard, is even more of a character (eccentric) than Ducky. She is senile but chipper. She tells tales of her Donald as if he were still a young man and still hopes for grandchildren. She goes wandering and, when carers do not appear, Ducky has to bring her to work. Ducky is exasperated by her but also very fond of her. He regrets videotaping an episode of a TV show for her once, as she now watches that one episode every day.

  • Ducky's mother keeps corgis. He lives in a lovely house in the classic American style. It would suit Savannah Georgia in its graciousness.

  • When Jen and Gibbs were partners in France, Jen allowed Gibbs to be arrested by the French police, but then helped him and Ducky escape by boat to England.

  • Ducky knows, when he hears of Gibbs' wife and child death, that Gibbs has already killed the murderer. He knows Gibbs well enough to know that he would not let the killer live.

  • Ducky keeps a special eye on Abby. He and she have mutual respect, but Ducky will not tolerate accusations of being wrong: he is too careful in his work. When there is a conflict of evidence, Ducky stands by his science.
  • Ducky's Ditty on realizing “He’s never had the damned plague!” (re 5.01 Bury Your Dead) (Tune: "I could have danced all night" from "My Fair Lady") This body’s lungs are fine (I think it so divine I want to dance and sing for joy) I rush upstairs to tell The team that Tony’s well (The dead man’s not our boy!) I really know I shouldn’t be excited When someone's life has been destroyed: I only know when he Proved to be plague-free I had to sing "he's no-o-o-o-ot our bo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oy!"
  • In the early 1990s, a Dr. Donald Duck was practicing medicine on the Scottish mainland, just south of the Isle of Skye. The brass plate on his surgery was an unofficial tourist attraction in the town. Dr. Ducky Mallard is not as unlikely a name as it first sounds.

3.04 Silver Wars.
Dead Reckoning 6.20

3.04 Silver Wars 6.20 Dead Reckoning
3.04 Silver Wars..pencil drawing.
3.04 Silver Wars
3.04 Silver Wars 3.04 Silver Wars
6.19 Hide and Seek
6.19 Hide and Seek
4.6 Witch Hunt
4.6 Witch Hunt

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Started By Thread Subject Replies Last Post
TrivetteLoverHeather Ducky's Secret (page: 1 2) 27 Jul 10 2012, 4:01 PM EDT by badsurfcrimsen
Thread started: Oct 10 2008, 4:29 AM EDT  Watch
Hi all, Im sure most of you have heard about the "Dark, sorted secret," Duckys character has and will be revealed this season. Anyone have any theories?
My mind immediately jumps to a child or wife. But that wouldnt explain why he was so upset with Gibbs after he hid Shannon/Kelly from him...so...what do you think?
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Keyword tags: ducky
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the3walcks Ducky is not dead. 6 Jun 25 2012, 8:57 AM EDT by 03jawa
Thread started: Jun 2 2012, 4:31 PM EDT  Watch
I am a little behind on watching NCIS and I just finished the last episode and just like everyone I was going to be so mad if they let him die. I googled around and found this article here and here is what it says about Ducky for next season, " On the fate of Ducky (and Palmer): "David [McCallum] and I talked about it for months, and he’s been preparing for it. He was absolutely 100 percent willing to play along, and we wanted to be very secretive about it and keep it under wraps, and it’s really going to give his character a new perspective on life coming back from what he experienced."
"I’m not going to play games with people. People know he signed a new contract and he is coming back, so it’ll be more about the way the character evolves and the fact that he’s got Palmer there to help him."
"As a medical examiner who deals with the dead, and deals with death on a daily basis, to have an experience like that is significant. And we’ll play that throughout the season." Thank goodness because the show would not be the show without him. That would be like taking Gibbs off the show. I am not too fond of Jamie Lee Curtis's character either. Her and Gibbs do not mesh very good at all. Hope this helps everyone who is worried about Ducky :)
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wnight Ducky heart attack 3 May 16 2012, 5:38 AM EDT by Sorgiña
Thread started: May 16 2012, 12:24 AM EDT  Watch
The person who thought up this end for Ducky should be shot. This can not happen. He had better be saved by someone . This is such a demeaning way to die . I do not care what they do where they think up this stuff .But they had better come up with a way to save __Ducky__ . All the characters make the show and to get rid of one of the good ones is a tragedy . Get rid of his assistant ,if they have to cut there budget .
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