"NCIS": Where Ducky's wisdom never retires - The Ultimate Ducky Episode
Dr. Donald Mallard, better known by his nickname, Ducky (David McCallum), has been a consistent presence on the military cop drama "NCIS". Ducky starts out helping younger Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) with his medical examiner duties. After retiring from his long-standing medical profession, Ducky takes on the role of team historian for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in an episode that first aired in 2019. As a result of his new position, Ducky's screen time on "NCIS" has significantly decreased. However, McCallum is one of the few original cast members who is still working on the show.
As might be expected from a character who has been around for as long as Ducky has, he plays a pivotal role in more than his share of memorable scenes in "NCIS." Many viewers believe that the episode from Season 10 in which Ducky uses a tactical autopsy on a corpse to evade kidnappers is one of his craziest plots. However, there is one episode that has been repeatedly praised as Ducky's finest hour.
Ducky's verbal comeback has been widely praised by fans
In "NCIS" Season 10 Episode 12, "Shiva," deputy director of Mossad Ilan Bodnar (Oded Fehr) pays a visit to the NCIS team as they investigate a series of murders with ties to Mossad that have affected several of the team members directly.
When Ilan arrives at the team headquarters, he demands answers out from Ducky, who responds by telling him to get in line, so to speak. Ilan angrily asks, "Excuse me. And whose grandfather would you be?" to which Ducky replies "Well that depends. Who's your grandmother?"
Even while this conversation isn't particularly controversial by itself, many viewers have focused on it since it shows the normally reserved Ducky standing up to a jovial secret service agent. In 2015, for instance, a Reddit user launched a thread about the exchange, calling Ducky's response "the best line ever." A second Reddit user launched a similar post devoted solely to this conversation a few years later. Yet, another Reddit user launched a topic in October 2020, over seven years after "Shiva" had aired, for no other reason than they liked Ducky's banter.
In light of the fact that this episode sparked so much debate over a character who is usually consigned to the show's secondary or tertiary plotlines, "Shiva" is a strong contender for the title of best Ducky episode in the history of "NCIS."