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The stuntman never got to perform, despite being called to the set.

CBS’ long-running police procedural NCIS has cultivated strong bonds among its characters and lead actors over the years. The show features several romantically involved couples and groups of friends that formed well after their initial work together, and the real-life actors aren’t exceptions to these connections.

Brian Dietzen, who has portrayed Chief Medical Examiner Jimmy Palmer since NCIS’ season 1, grew especially close to his late co-star David McCallum, who played Dr. Mallard, Jimmy’s superior and friend. Remembering McCallum, who passed away last year, Dietzen fondly recalled their time together on set and how McCallum once convinced him to do something very noble.

Returning as Jimmy Palmer in NCIS’ upcoming season 22, Dietzen appeared on his former co-stars Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo’s podcast, “Off Duty: An NCIS Rewatch,” where he shared a memorable story. During a scene in season 3’s episode titled “Switch,” Jimmy is seen running down a hill, only to tumble and sprain his ankle. Dietzen was ready to perform the risky stunt himself until McCallum stepped in, advising him to hire a stuntman.

“McCallum grabbed my arm and seriously said, ‘If you ask for a stuntman, a man who was otherwise unemployed will have a job for the day. Ask for the damn stuntman,’” Dietzen recounted.

Following McCallum’s advice, Dietzen hired a stuntman, but ultimately performed the stunt himself. Despite this, the stuntman was paid for his time on set.

Dietzen’s story highlights McCallum’s kind soul, showing his concern for ensuring that stuntmen were compensated for their time, even if they didn’t end up performing the stunts. McCallum had faith in Dietzen’s ability to handle the scene but wanted to support the stunt community nonetheless.

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