“NCIS” is a series that aims to ground itself in reality. Admittedly, it doesn’t always hit the mark, such as when it gives a false impression of how crime scene investigations actually work. But for the most part, the series takes steps to not stray too far from how an NCIS team operates, thanks in part to its use of real-life agents as technical advisors. Additionally, some of the show’s cast members have done extra work by doing their research. And that was definitely the case for David McCallum. While speaking to Buzzy Mag, the actor noted that he was constantly researching the medical terms and procedures his character Ducky would say and perform on “NCIS.”
However, since Ducky often deals with the realm of death on the show, McCallum’s extensive research has yielded countless notes on the grisly subject, the actor said in the interview. And as a result, McCallum’s family came up with a unique nickname. “I am accused by my family – they now call me Dr. Death,” McCallum told Buzzy Mag. “I have yards and yards of death books. When we started this show, I didn’t know anything about pathology, and I didn’t know anything about it [the real] NCIS I learned the performance obligations of all these special agents, and then we brought that to what we all do as a team.” While it drew some teasing from loved ones, McCallum’s deep dive into the medical field was effective. as it has helped Ducky feel authentic about his duties on NCIS.