NCIS fans were understandably worried by the end of the latest episode, titled “Exit Strategy.” The show looked like it was setting up an exit storyline for the beloved Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard. After the news that Season 15 would be Pauley Perrette’s final season, fans are worried that they could lose another original character.

Is this the case? Was “Exit Strategy” Ducky’s final episode or are the writers setting up for the characters to leave for good?

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Brian Dietzen Shared Good News on Twitter

As soon as the NCIS episode aired, Brian Dietzen, who plays Dr. Jimmy Palmer, took to Twitter to set some minds at ease. He shared that this definitely wasn’t David McCallum’s last episode, and that the two had actually just filmed a scene together earlier that day. While this doesn’t tell us if Ducky will eventually leave, it does mean that the latest episode definitely isn’t his last.

Other tweets also quickly appeared to share that it wasn’t going to be Ducky’s last episode. There are also no reports of the actor bowing out of the series.

There Was a Point of Mentioning ‘A Semester’

Ducky originally turned down the opportunity to teach in New York. Despite hearing that it was only for a semester, he wasn’t sure that NCIS could cope without him. When he starts to think about taking up the opportunity, he continually mentions to himself and Gibbs that it is only one semester.

This could have been more than just for the story. It’s possible the writers were trying to make a point to fans not to worry about Ducky leaving. The writers wanted fans to know that Ducky’s opportunity was temporary and he would come back.

However, this may be a way to test the waters. NCIS will get an idea of viewer thoughts of the show without the character.

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NCIS Actors Share the News in Advance

If McCallum does walk away from the series, he won’t be the first original character to leave. Fans have already said goodbye to Sasha Alexander’s Caitlin Todd and Michael Weatherly‘s Tony DiNozzo. While fans didn’t get much warning about Alexander’s character departure, there was fair warning about Weatherly walking away from the show.

Similarly, fans have learned now that Perrette is leaving NCIS after Season 15. This is months in advance to make sure fans are aware that her character is definitely stepping away and giving her followers a chance to understand her decision.

With this knowledge, it would be unlikely for the show to have Ducky leave the team with a shock storyline. There were many rumors last season that he would leave due to his health, but nobody ever confirmed them. Fans are loyal to the show because of the characters, so a sudden exit would be unfair and unwise. It could lead to fans leaving the show in droves. For now, there is no news that McCallum is leaving NCIS, so Ducky isn’t going anywhere just yet.

Are you happy about the news? Would NCIS work without Ducky? Share your thoughts below.

NCIS Season 15 continues on Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS. Don’t forget to follow our NCIS Facebook page for more news.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Alexandria Gunn

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Alexandria is a full-time freelance writer and journalist. Alexandria studied Computer Science at Aston University and Criminology at the Open University. She enjoys writing about TV shows and entertainment news. Other than writing, Alexandria loves reading, exploring new countries, and relaxing with her family.