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Diona Reasonover Admits Replacing Pauley Perrette On NCIS Was 'Daunting' – Exclusive

Pauley Perrette was one of the most recognizable faces on "NCIS" for the 15 seasons she starred on the show as forensic scientist Abby Sciuto. Known for her jet-black pigtails and Gothic style of dress, Abby was energetic and outgoing despite her eerie appearance.

When Perrette exited the series, which is now in its 20th season on CBS, Diona Reasonover stepped in as Kasie Hines to take her place as forensic specialist for the NCIS. It's a task Reasonover admitted was "daunting" during an exclusive interview with Looper.

Still, five years later, Reasonover has made the role her own, leaning into the legacy left by Perrette by putting her own colorful twist on Kasie's wardrobe and by being just as smart, charming, and friendly as Abby. Reasonover spoke to Looper about what it was like picking up where Perrette left off and revealed whether she and Perrette have remained friends.

Reasonover relied heavily on the legacy Perrette left behind

The idea of replacing Perrette on "NCIS" was so overwhelming to Reasonover that she had to convince herself that that wasn't what was going on. "I had to reframe that for myself as not replacing — because truly, how can you replace someone who has been vital to a show for 15 years?" says Reasonover. "That's a pretty daunting task. I had to hope for the best and trust that the legacy that she left, and that so many people had built, was going to be preserved. And it was. I was really fortunate. I came in, and the fans were supportive, and the crew and the cast were supportive."

While Reasonover's behind-the-scenes entrance onto the series was a little unusual, she says Perrette and the rest of the cast were nothing but welcoming.

"I had just gotten knee surgery," she says. "By the time I finally made it to set, my leg was still messed up, and I had no idea what the script was going to be. I didn't know if they were going to want me to jump over a car or something. Instead, everyone — including Pauley, Mark [Harmon], up and down the board — was so nice, so sweet, bringing me ice packs all the time. It was the most wonderful, supportive environment. I knew right away. I was like, 'This is where I want to be.'"

As for her relationship with Perrette, who she briefly overlapped on the show, Reasonover can't remember if the veteran "NCIS" actor left her any sage advice, but they are still friends in real life.

"She was always absolutely lovely and supportive," says Reasonover. "I don't know that she gave me any particular words [of advice] that I can remember right now, only because it's been five years, but we still talk. We still do stuff together ... I'll have to ask her, 'Hey, now five years in, do you have any advice for the second five years?'"

Season 20 of "NCIS" airs Mondays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.