NCIS season 16 episode 17 review: Is Ducky now an NCIS historian?

David McCallum

Tonight, NCIS season 16 episode 17 is airing and throughout “Silent Service,” you’re going to have many questions. Take, for example, what happened to Petty Officer White on what should have been a routine dive. Or, whether or not David McCallum is actually leaving the show and his role as Ducky. We’re going to have some more updates on this subject throughout this episode, so be sure to check back throughout for more!

Early on in this episode, it was Jimmy Palmer who noted that it was Ducky’s last day at work — because of that, the obvious fear is that this could be McCallum’s final turn as the character. We just have a hard time imagining that we’re going to see him gone for good — Dr. Mallard is such a part of the franchise history! He could still find a way to turn up … but let’s get into this episode first and see just what happens.

As the case unfolded, it was clear that everyone was preparing for Ducky to say goodbye to the NCIS team by the end of the day. He himself was preparing for what his future would hold — meanwhile, this led to everyone else talking about his retirement. As it turns out, Torres was loaded! He had a ton of retirement income because of all the time he was undercover and wasn’t actually having to spend his own money.

Let’s get back to the case now, as Bishop and Gibbs found themselves tonight in the thick of a crisis amidst an investigation at sea. They were on board a submarine to figure out what happened to the diver, but along the way, it sank further and further into the water. Because the ship went over, Gibbs and Bishop were cut off from the rest of NCIS (who weren’t aware that this was going to be happening in advance), and with that, forced to deal with a crew that wasn’t entirely cooperative with him. It took a long time to even get some information from the crew. Someone decided to go against orders and typical NCIS protocol and that raises ALL sorts of questions for life on that ship.

Was there a conspiracy aboard that ship? The longer that Gibbs and Bishop were below water, the more they started to feel like something was awry and they had to get to the bottom of it. Let’s put it this way: There was an obvious coincidence between the murder and the sinking of the submarine. The more that the two characters dug, and the more they were met with resistance. Nobody wanted to really discuss some of what White was doing prior to his death.

One other interesting side effect of the case

Bishop struggled under the water, mostly because of what transpired with her over the course of the episode “She” from earlier this season. This was a nice way for the show to call back to what happened then, and it’s certainly something that she could struggle with for a rather long time.

Oh, and then there’s this…

It turns out that someone in Walter Miller connected a transmitter to the USS Memphis, and it was his own orders that were putting it in danger — so much so that the government may need to destroy it before it comes into contact with the Russian fleet. McGee and Torres were tasked with tracking down Miller and when they did, they found the mechanism that he was using to send out orders.

While Gibbs and Bishop didn’t have a whole lot of knowledge of Walter Miller or the Russians, they were able to figure out enough information to get closer to resolving the murder. Once they did, they made it back up to the bridge and from there, things went from bad to worse as they identified weapons officer Hardy as the suspect — and that led to a showdown at gunpoint between Gibbs and the commanding officers.

Luckily, right before the bullets were fired McGee was able to use a simulator to replicate an order and because of that, the submarine got the correct order and Hardy was arrested. Everything was resolved!

Ducky’s farewell … or was it?

At the end of the episode, Ducky was congratulated for his work with the team, and Vance wanted to escort him away from the office. As it turns out, he doesn’t have to retire — instead, he is getting a new gig as an NCIS historian! He will be sticking around but in a new gig outside of the lab. It’ll allow him to be part-time and have the change that he’s looking for.

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What did you think about tonight’s NCIS season 16 episode 17? Be sure to share right now in the comments. (Photo: CBS.)

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