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Michael Weatherly returns to NCIS for David McCallum tribute – details

Michael reprised his role as Tony DiNozzo

Michael Weatherly in NCIS
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
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Michael Weatherly reprised his role as Tony DiNozzo in the latest episode of NCIS, which paid tribute to late cast member David McCallum, who portrayed Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard.

Towards the end of the episode, just before the team left HQ for Ducky's funeral, Dr Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dieten) had some time alone in the lab. Seconds later, DiNozzo walked in. 

WATCH: Michael Weatherly returns to NCIS

"Ah, autopsy gremlin!" he said, greeting Jimmy. "Are we here to celebrate a great man or what? I figured Duck man would want a little DiNozzo magic at his party," he continued, before gifting Jimmy a black bowtie he picked up from Heathrow Airport's duty-free. 

Michael Weatherly in NCIS © CBS
Michael Weatherly returned to the show for the tribute episode

He then reassured his former co-worker that when we die, it's not just stories we leave behind but the lives we touch.

When they left for the funeral, Jimmy turned off the lights, prompting the episode to close with the In Memoriam card: "In Memory of Our Dear Friend and Colleague David McCallum — We Will Miss You." 

Fans were overjoyed to see Michael back on their screens and took to social media to praise his moving cameo. 

David McCallum as Medical Examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard in NCIS© CBS Photo Archive
NCIS paid tribute to the late David McCallum on Monday

One person penned: "HE DID COME BACK FOR THE TRIBUTE! Can't stop crying for Ducky but also for Tony's comeback," while another added: "Tony is here. OMG!!! What a surprise."

Others praised the emotional episode, with one person writing: "Tonight's episode was beautifully written. It was a touching tribute to David McCallum... Thank you Brian for writing this episode. I got a little emotional while watching some of the flashbacks with David. He will always be #Ducky."

Following David's sad passing in September last year, fans of the show were hoping that former stars would make a comeback for the tribute episode. 

Paying tribute to his former co-star at the time, Michael shared his memories on social media. "David McCallum made every moment count, in life and on set," he penned on X. "Let's raise a jug and celebrate a funny fantastic authentic man. I've only got 3 autographs. Connery, Tony Bennett and McCallum. I felt the same way as Steve McQueen in this picture from The Great Escape: Wow! It's David McCallum! No one did it better. We were lucky to have him bring us Ducky. Let's send all the love in the world to his beautiful family. Rest In Peace David."

Brian Dietzen as Jimmy Palmer and David McCallum as Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard on NCIS © CBS Photo Archive
Brian Dietzen co-wrote the episode

Ahead of the episode, Michael hinted at his appearance by sharing a promo for the episode on social media. "'Change is the essence of life…' - Donald 'Ducky' Mallard. Looking forward to a special tribute to David," he wrote in the caption. 

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