'NCIS' actor Diona Reasonover loves playing a character who inspires people: 'I hope this encourages more representation'
According to Diona Reasonover, "people have really responded" well to her playing a young, black woman scientist on a popular show like NCIS
In 'NCIS' Season 17 Episode 6 titled 'Institutionalized', we see Kasie Hines' personal life clashing with her professional one when her friend, Dante, gets "caught up in the legal system".
In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), Diona Reasonover says her character, Kasie, will try to save him. "We’ll really watch her wrestle with 'should I trust my friend? Should I trust my team?' I think this will be a side of Kasie we haven't seen before."
When asked about other personal storylines she would like to explore on the show, Reasonover said: "I'd love to see Kasie's mom come to the lab for a tour. Maybe they can use my real mom! She's a great actress, where do you think I get it from?"
Up until now, her favorite NCIS scene featuring herself is Scott Williams' Christmas episode last year. "There was a beautifully written scene between Jimmy [Palmer] and Kasie. And I was NERVOUS. I thought Scott had done something really special with the words in that one, and I just wanted to honor that."
"I thought it came out really well. Brian Dietzen [who plays Jimmy] is such a generous scene partner, and Michael Zinberg is such an intuitive director. I was in very good hands," she added.
Having joined the cast of the popular show in Season 16, Reasonover loves playing Kasie, a forensic scientist. "I love having a chance to play someone so smart and focused. I love getting to play with incredible actors and joining a show with such a loyal fan base."
As someone with a background in comedy, Reasonover leans into the lighter side of her character. "The writers write Kasie with a bit of a comedic edge to her, so it's fun to tap into that."
"I really loved the scene in Gina Monreal's script when Torres and Gibbs assume Kasie's job is really easy, and she's just evil-eye-staring like, 'seriously, you two?'," she added.
However, portraying the character also means mugging up a whole lot of scientific jargon and spewing it out like she knows what she is talking about. "We've got a GREAT script supervisor, Suzanne McRobert, who is absolutely on top of it on set with the pronunciation and the terms."
"She’s such a baller, makes me sound a lot smarter than I am!" shared Reasonover when it came to how she coped with her science-related dialogue.
Playing a young black woman scientist has meant she has become a huge role model and inspiration. "People have really responded, from actual scientists to teachers to people, who just enjoyed studying and learning science."
"They say that I inspire them. It's really touching. I hope this encourages even more representation across the board both onscreen and in the STEM fields," she shared.
The last big moment on the show was Ziva David's (Cote de Pablo) return which gave Reasonover a chance to interact with an old fan favorite who she had never worked with before.
"Cote's wonderful. She’s a very 'trust your instincts, you’ve got this' type of actor. Getting a chance to watch her work was really something special. To watch someone slip into a character they know so well is a rare opportunity," the actor pointed out.
Even though Reasonover is queer, married to Patricia Villetto since March 2018, she has "never really played a queer character on-screen" and would like to.
Speaking about queer representation, she said: "Give us more. Give us storylines that aren’t about coming out. Give us trans characters that don’t die or have some horrible violence befall them."
"Give us a bi character that doesn’t describe their sexuality as likening 'tacos and burritos' or that isn’t 'lying' cause their bi. More queer POC! More older lesbians! More queer people that are just people," she added.
'NCIS' Season 17 airs on Tuesday at 8 pm only on CBS.