NCIS plot hole: Ducky committed major error in key army corporal scene

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David McCallum has remained a faithful member of the NCIS team as meticulous medical examiner Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard since the show’s first season on CBS. Fans have recently uncovered an embarrassing error Ducky made back in season four that most viewers missed the first time round.

Star of the retro serial The Man From U.N.C.L.E. David McCallum stepped into yet another iconic role in 2003 when he took on the part of Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard.

Ducky fast became one of NCIS’ most popular characters and has stuck around for the show’s last 17 seasons.

Although Ducky retired from his position as Chief Medical Examiner, with his assistant Dr James Palmer (Brian Dietzen) taking the job, McCallum remains a crucial member of the main cast.

The former medical doctor has now assumed the role of NCIS Historian, and is expecting to return to screens for the 18th season.


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Unfortunately, production has been stalled amid the continuing uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic in the States.

Season 17’s final episodes will roll onto the beginning of NCIS’ next instalment, but the cast and crew are still unsure when filming can restart.

In the meantime, devoted NCIS fans have been returning to some old favourites on the popular streaming service, CBS All Access.

Despite being renowned for his autopsy skills and specialist medical training, an observant fan picked up on an embarrassing blunder on Ducky’s part in season four.

During the 18th episode, Iceman, the team investigate the peculiar case of Marine Corporal Liam O’Neill (Jeremy A. Roberts), whose apparently dead body was found facedown in a snowdrift.

Things take a dramatic turn when O’Neill wakes up from his comatose state to find himself on Ducky’s operating table.

He later dies of his previously discovered injuries, revealing to the team this was no accident and the Corporal was actually attacked.

Sadly, the tension of this classic NCIS case was slightly undercut for some fans when they noticed Ducky had made an egregious error during O’Neill’s examination.

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One particularly eagle-eyed fan took to online discussion forums when they spotted something funny going on with Ducky’s note-taking.

They said: “We see Cpl O’Neill’s name on the plasma at the start.

“However when looking at Ducky’s notes it’s spelt O’Nell. Not a mistake Ducky would make.”

Perhaps Ducky was in a rush to take notes, but there weren’t exactly any time restrictions on the Medical Examiner’s analysis during this scene.


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Plus, the doctor is well-known as one of the smartest members of the NCIS crew so really shouldn’t have been making these kinds of spelling mistakes.

Of course, David McCallum probably wasn’t responsible for taking the notes behind-the-scenes.

Production blunders like this are usually picked up during filming, but this avoidable spelling mistake was unfortunately missed in the editing room.

NCIS seasons 1-17 are available to stream on CBS All Access.

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