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NCIS added a fresh face as a full-time member of the team for Season 16 with Diona Reasonover as Kasie Hines. She made her debut in Season 15 as Ducky's new graduate assistant, and she was brought on board for Season 16 after Pauley Perrette made her departure as Abby. Perrette was a key part of NCIS for the entire run of the series up until her final episode in Season 15, and Reasonover was stepping into some big shoes -- or platform boots, in Abby's case -- to take over Perrette. In a recent chat with CinemaBlend about NCIS Season 16, Reasonover revealed this about advice she received from Perrette:
Pauley was like, 'Just be yourself.' And that's the most important thing. She told me to be myself and I really took that to heart and it really made it a smooth transition. It was a really kind thing to say because especially in this industry, it's easy to feel like, 'Oh, I'm not this enough' or 'I'm not that enough,' but her telling me to just be myself was her way of saying, 'You are enough.' And that was really wonderful.
Diona Reasonover was joining an established cast on a show that had already been running for a decade and a half, and taking over for an actress who had been on board NCIS from the very beginning was a significant task for the newcomer. Fortunately, Reasonover made a positive impression on viewers in her first appearances helping out Ducky, and Pauley Perrette shared some very touching words of encouragement. While leaving the show was undoubtedly emotional for Perrette, she was able to give some wonderful advice to the actress who would be filling Abby's role in the new season.
As Kasie Hines, Diona Reasonover is required to deliver humor and scientific jargon while fitting into the ensemble of a drama series. Pauley Perrette confirmed to Reasonover that she is "enough" to deliver what it takes for a smooth transition, and Reasonover appreciated the kind words. Only one episode of Season 16 has aired at this point, but it's already clear that Kasie will be an ideal replacement for Abby. Abby was such a popular character for so many years that it was possible any character who stepped into her position wouldn't fit right off that bat; that's not the case with Kasie and Reasonover.
Given that Abby wasn't killed off when she was written out, perhaps Pauley Perrette could drop by as a guest star and we could see her on screen with Diona Reasonover! Just because NCIS is returning to a focus on the core four definitely doesn't mean we can't cross our fingers for some fun down in the lab. When I asked what kind of pressure she felt when she joined the series as a regular and a character who would fill Abby's position, Reasonover had this to say:
I really was welcomed by the whole cast and by all the crew, so I was really lucky in that I didn't feel a lot of pressure. I just felt welcomed. Even some of the fans were like, 'Oh, you seem really nice! You seem really funny!' So it all really worked out very nicely.
The transition that could have been very difficult for everybody went down without the newcomer feeling a great deal of pressure from the cast, crew, or even the fanbase, which is fiercely loyal after the better part of two decades following NCIS. Diona Reasonover did tease that some characters will struggle with Kasie replacing Abby in their own ways, so NCIS will clearly address the change rather than just going on as if Abby had never been around. Brian Dietzen, who plays Jimmy Palmer on NCIS, also spoke with CinemaBlend recently, and he only had good things to say about Reasonover's addition to the cast, simply stating that changing "the ingredients" of a show will inevitably result in "the whole thing" changing.