'NCIS' Star Returning to the CBS Series for Season 16

NCIS is losing one veteran cast member, but retaining the final two that remain. David McCallum has signed a deal to return to the long-running procedural next fall for its recently ordered 16th season.

With Pauley Perrette's departure from the CBS series at the end of its 15th season, McCallum and star Mark Harmon are now the only remaining original cast members. Both are set to return next season, and all other NCIS cast members, except for Perrette, are expected to continue as well.

Fans of the show will know that McCallum had an alleviated work load during season 15, with his character, NCIS Chief Medical Examiner Donald "Ducky" Mallard, appearing in about half the episodes; the same will go for the 85-year-old actor for season 16.

"I am delighted to say that I have reached an agreement with CBS for Dr. Donald Mallard to stay with NCIS for Season 16. Once again it will be a limited schedule. That arrangement will allow me to spend time with Katherine, our children, six grandsons and Nickie, pictured below!" McCallum wrote in the caption of a photo of his cat, Nickie.

The news of McCallum's return might help alleviate the pain many NCIS fans are feeling upon the departure of Perrette. To make matters worse, the show teased a grim fate for her character, Abby Sciuto, in a cliffhanger ending Tuesday night.

In the last scene of Tuesday's episode, Abby is shown leaving a restaurant with Reeves. An unknown man approaches them and pulls a gun on them in an apparent mugging. Abby then tries to talk the shooter down, there is a momentary struggle and a shot rings out. The screen cuts to black before we see who was shot and what exactly happened.

Apparently Abby was struck by the bullet because the preview shows medical professionals rushing to treat Abby at a hospital.

She is then shown unconscious in a hospital room as the NCIS team visits her.

"How could this happen?" Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) says. "Can anyone explain that to me?"

Agent Gibbs (Harmon) has the most emotional moment in the teaser as he feels guilt for not being there to protect her.

"I know I let you down, Abs," Gibbs says. "I said that I would always keep you safe."

McGee (Sean Murray) is also seen discussing her condition, saying "The outlook's not so good."

While it is unclear whether or not Abby will die in next week's episode, it appears the creative team is heavily teasing that will be the case.

Fans are heartachingly curious to see how Abby's final episode will pan out, with most preparing for the worst.

"I can tell I'll be sobbing next week!" one fan wrote on Twitter.


"[I'm] gonna need to stock up on the Kleenex for next [week's] episode.. we [are] all gonna miss you Pauley!!" someone else said.

"I may need a lot of Kleenex next week," another fan echoed.