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Donald Horatio "Ducky" Mallard, D.H.L. (hon.) was a retired Doctor and also the former official Medical Examiner for the NCIS Major Case Response Team led by NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

In addition to performing autopsies on the victims, Ducky composed a psychological profile on any potential suspects or criminals that the team encounter, having graduated after taking a forensic psychology course.

In March 2019, Ducky retired from his position as NCIS's Chief Medical Examiner with his former Assistant, Dr. James Palmer succeeding him. Following his retirement, he assumed the newfound position of NCIS Historian.

He was the son of Victoria Mallard and Joseph Mallard, and the older half-brother of Nicholas Mallard.

Ducky died in his sleep in May 2023, at the beginning of "The Stories We Leave Behind".

Biography

Pre-Series

Born in Scotland to Victoria Mallard and Joseph Mallard, presumably in September 1933, Ducky grew up in Scotland.

His parents later divorced with Joseph remarrying a woman named Lorraine with that marriage producing a son, Nicholas Mallard who is Ducky's half-brother.

He was educated at Eton College, and subsequently graduated from University of Edinburgh's Medical School.

He also attended King's College, Cambridge for a year before leaving to go to medical school. He started to study English Language and History.

Ducky also worked with several other organizations including the British police and also served in the military during the Vietnam War although whether he served in the American military is unknown. Ducky also served as a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), a unit in the British Army.

In 1980, Ducky worked in a refugee camp in Afghanistan and while there, he became acquainted with Polish born CIA interrogator, Marcin Jerek who was known locally as "Mr. Pain."

As a result of this acquaintance Ducky was later mistakenly charged with war crimes for violating Article Four of the 1949 Geneva Conventions by the government of Afghanistan.

Jerek tortured an innocent man who would then be sent to Ducky for medical care.

Under stress, Ducky eventually made the decision to end the young man's suffering by giving him an overdose of morphine which apparently caused his death, a decision which would haunt Ducky for years.

After his time in Afghanistan, Ducky presumably headed to the United States in 1980, and eventually ended up having a car accident severe enough that he had his arm in a sling afterward due to unfamiliarity with the different driving customs between America and the United Kingdom. He also unintentionally saved an abducted Marine, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, in the same accident, due to the NIS investigating the crash due to the driver, Vito Zucudo of the Zucudo crime family, being involved in laundering money from the Navy and their discovering him in the trunk. It was from this event that they became friends. However, he and Gibbs eventually ended up abducted by the head of the Zucudos, Pete, as well as his right hand man Francis in order to track down the laundered Navy money due to Vito leaving him out of the cut, and attempted to torture Gibbs, although Ducky, mostly because he didn't wish to see Gibbs tortured further or killed, divulged everything he knew about what had transpired. Suspecting a mole within NIS, he eventually deduced that the mole was in fact one of the carpenters working on the then-under renovation bullpen, "Freckles", and told Dr. Walter Magnus this much when meeting him under the pretense of a potential job interview. It was presumably around this time that Mallard joined NIS.

While there, he worked a series of cases under the guidance of the Medical Examiner, Dr. Walter Magnus.

Once Magnus retired in December 1992 (Broken Bird), Ducky became his successor.


JAG Season 8

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Ducky at the crime scene. From the JAG Season 8/NCIS backdoor pilot episode, "Ice Queen".

Ducky made his debut appearance in the JAG Season 8/NCIS backdoor pilot episode, Ice Queen where he was first seen examining the body of a woman that had been found in a tree at Potomac Park.


NCIS Season 1

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In the premiere of the season he had suffered a heart attack after learning the news of the bombing of the NCIS building while he was attending Palmer's wedding. Although he was physically weakened from the ordeal, Ducky fortunately pulled through and recovered, leaving Palmer in charge of autopsy duties while he regained his strength.

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    Ducky in the NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 premiere episode, "Musician Heal Thyself".

    Ducky appeared in the NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 premiere episode, Musician Heal Thyself (episode) where Jefferson Parish Coroner Loretta Wade contacted him in regards to the death of a Navy Petty Officer Second Class whose right arm showed a tattoo that was rapidly fading over.

    SilentServiceNCISHistORIAN

    The plaque on the door to Ducky's new office in his new position as NCIS Historian.

    Ducky died in his sleep at his home in May 2023.

    Family

    Victoria Mallard

    Victoria Mallard was Ducky's mother. She was mentioned in many episodes and present in a few. She lived a long life, and her years on the show was filled with illness. She seemed to have dementia or perhaps Alzheimer's. Ducky loved her very much. In season 7 in Double Identity (episode) it is revealed that she had died a little while back.

    Joseph Mallard

    Nicholas Mallard

    Nicholas is Ducky's half-brother and about 20 years his junior (born in 1965). They share the same father, but Nicholas' mother is Joseph's second wife Lorraine Mallard.

    The two brothers were very close despite the large age difference. However, Lorraine filed for divorce during Christmas in 1973 when Nicholas was eight and had announced she would take him to Albania with her. Not wanting to be apart from his brother, Ducky did everything he could to become Nicolas' guardian but, before it could be made official, his stepmother took Nicolas and left without notice. Ducky lost all contact with him after that and believed for decades that his brother and former stepmother had been killed in a car crash in Prague around 1980.

    He became a U.S. citizen in 1987. Nicholas was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, presumably while in his 40's, and when Ducky finally found him in 2015 he was living in a nursing home outside Philadelphia. (Spinning Wheel).

    Other Relatives

    In season 1's Hung Out to Dry he mentions that the last time he was high up on a ladder it was to hang a piñata for his nephew’s birthday party. He was mentioned again in season 9's Playing with Fire when Ducky had finished redrafting his last will and testament, and told Gibbs that he had given his nephew in Scotland several bequeaths.

    In Call of Silence he mentions that he had a great-uncle William in Bristol, and an aunt Gertrude.

    In Hiatus Part 1, while sitting beside Gibbs' hospital bed, he starts talking about how he and his mother visited her brother Carkin in the little town of Clagolaky. Apparently, Carkin worked at the cooperage where they made all the casks for the various distilleries.

    In Season 13's Déjà Vu, Ducky mentions an uncle Duncan who gave him a warm and comfortable watch cap with ear flaps Duncan had worn to a mapping expedition to the Antarctic in 1933.

    Personality

    He is both soft and sweet, but also direct and serious. He is described by Tony to be "An essential element of the investigative process". He is also described as having an encyclopedic mind that never stops working and that his mind is directly connected to his mouth ad he do tend to talk a lot and mention random facts. He is shown to have a lot of emphathy and always treats the bodies in authopsy with respect. Ducky is also a great friend to the rest of the team and cares greatly for them. He is also funny and have a tendency to be sarcastic.

    Physical Appearance

    Ducky is a man of medium height in his eighties with short brown/greying hair and blue eyes.

    Abilities

    As NCIS's Medical Examiner, Ducky is skilled at performing autopsies on the many victims that he examines with his findings often determining if the victim died of natural causes or if they were murdered.

    Ducky also has a Psychological degree, enabling him to perform and create psychological profiles to determine the mindset of the suspects that the NCIS team are currently after which has often come in handy.

    Autopsies

    Ducky's specialty is performing autopsies with his results often helping the NCIS team pursue other lines of investigation with Ducky himself often determining if the death of a United States Marine Corps or Navy officer was natural or murder.

    Psychological Profiling

    Having earned a Masters Degree in psychological profiling, Ducky is now capable of creating profiles in which will describe the suspect that the main NCIS team are searching for, which often aids the team to get inside the suspects heads, giving them leads.

    Medical Training

    Despite being a Medical Examiner, Ducky's medical skills as a Doctor have often been a huge advantage to members of the NCIS team as he has often treated injuries that the NCIS team have often received in the field.

    Relationships with NCIS Colleagues

    Leroy Jethro Gibbs

    Gibbs is the only one who is allowed to call him "Duck". In return, Ducky is among the few people who call him "Jethro". They have a close and long standing friendship.

    Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo

    Vivian "Viv" Blackadder

    Abigail "Abby" Sciuto

    Caitlin "Kate" Todd

    Ziva David

    Gerald Jackson

    James "Jimmy" Palmer

    Jennifer "Jenny" Shepard

    Leon Vance

    Eleanor "Ellie" Bishop

    Timothy "Tim" McGee

    Nicholas "Nick" Torres

    Jessica "Jess" Knight

    Trivia

    • When performing autopsies on murder victims, Ducky often talks to them and tells stories about his life.
    • He rarely calls anyone by their nickname, calling Abby "Abigail", Ellie "Eleanor", and Kate "Caitlin.”
    • He, Timothy McGee, Jimmy Palmer and Leroy Jethro Gibbs are the only main characters to have met every other main character in the mothership.
    • The British Army's culture places heavy emphasis on the pride and traditions of its constituent regiments, featuring marches, nicknames, flags and emblems- all unique. Regimental nicknames are not shared, so the fact that Ducky was in a British Army unit nicknamed "The Regiment" strongly implies he passed selection for and served in the Special Air Service.
    • In Season 2, Episode 13 (Meat Puzzle) Agent Kate Todd asks Gibbs what Ducky looked like when he was younger. Gibbs says "Illya Kuryakin". This is a reference to David McCallum's role as Illya Kuryakin in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. television series.
    • Starting in Season 15, Ducky has appeared less in the series, with Season 17 having him only appear in 6 episodes and Season 18 having him only appear in 3.
    • Starting with Season 19, David McCallum is billed as "with David McCallum", being credited before Rocky Carroll, opposed to the usual "and David McCallum" and being credited after Rocky.
    • His nickname is Ducky because his last name, Mallard, is a kind of duck. It might also be a reference to the cartoon duck, Donald Duck.

    Appearances

    For a more detailed list, see Donald Mallard/List of Appearances.

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    Total 373
    1. Due to David McCallum passing away on September 25, 2023; Deceased as of "The Stories We Leave Behind".
    2. The team celebrated his birthday at the end of the episode Unearth. The episode aired on October third. Which would presumably place his birthday on the same date, or at least in early October.
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