In the center of the 400th anniversary episode is Special Agent "Leroy Jethro Gibbs" (Mark Harmon) and his longtime friend and colleague, the British forensic specialist Dr. "Donald, Ducky 'Mallard" (David McCallum), says the show's executive producer, Frank Cardea, to TV Insider.

The episode consists of two different stories at different times. On the one hand, the two NCIS colleagues will be working together in 2019, and on the other hand, they keep looking back in time at their beginnings.

"Gibbs" and "Ducky" have known each other for years and have not only solved countless cases together but also helped each other to survive kidnappings or the tragic death of colleagues. Now the pair thinks back to the time in 1980 when they first met.

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Mark Harmon and David McCallum at NCIS 

NCIS: This happens in the anniversary episode

As TV Insider reports, "Ducky" has sworn off medicine in 1980. While serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps in Afghanistan, he volunteered in a refugee camp, but repeatedly had to treat a victim of torture - whom he ultimately killed out of compassion.

"Gibbs", who has only been with the Marines for a few years, tries at the same time to decide whether he should solidify his relationship with his girlfriend "Shannon" (Darby Stanchfield). 

At this time, "Ducky" and "Gibbs" "are at crossroads in their lives. They [will] help each other find their life paths," Cardera explains further.

NCIS: This is how "Gibbs" and "Ducky" met

NCIS executive producer Steven D. Binder (49) says: "In England, they drive on the other side of the road. That confuses Ducky when he's in America." Yet despite their vehicular incompatibility, "They like and are curious about each other," Binder (who wrote the episode) reveals.  

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David McCallum as "Ducky" at NCIS

Soon the men are working together to catch a thief. "Gibbs" is not yet an agent, but is brought to the case via the predecessor of NCIS.

This case also has implications for the future of the two. In the second storyline, which takes place in late 2019, the two have the opportunity to reopen the old case. 

In addition, fans can look forward to special moments and surprises, like short appearances by other popular characters. "Some will be very in-your-face and easy to identify. Some will be quick, so you've got to watch closely. We wanted to gather as much of the show's history as we could and put it in one episode and celebrate it," Cardea reveals.

The 18th season of NCIS will start in November 2020 in the USA after Corona delays.