'NCIS' Star Diona Reasonover Teases Ziva's Return This Season: 'The Stakes Just Go Whoosh Up' (Exclusive)

NCIS' Ziva David is coming back in a big way this holiday season! The CBS crime procedural announced Tuesday Cote de Pablo will reprise her role as the beloved former NCIS agent for Season 17's winter finale on Dec.17, and wrap up her return in the winter premiere on Jan. 7, 2020. While plot details are being kept under wraps, series regular Diona Reasonover teased to PopCulture.com her character Kasie Hines and the elusive former agent will finally get some screen time together.

"What can I tease about when it'll happen? (sings) Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells," Reasonover told PopCulture.com in a phone interview Thursday, ahead of the news of Ziva's return airdates. "You might have a little present, a little Israeli fighter under your Christmas tree."

Reasonover revealed she had worked on a scene for the upcoming episodes alongside de Pablo the day before the interview. While Ziva has had emotional reunions with many of her friends before, we can expect a different relationship with the forensic scientist.

"It is going to be, once again, through the case, so you can take a wild guess how much time Kasie spends fanning out, but it's interesting," Reasonover hinted. "We did see her fan out with Abby (Pauley Perrette). I know people are sometimes like, 'Why were you like this with Abby and not with Ziva?' I'm like, well, with Abby, there was kind of a case, but it wasn't like, 'Oh my gosh, someone is absolutely going to be murdered right now.' With Ziva, it's always been kind of life-or-death stakes."

"Cote brings a different energy to the show," she added. "Especially this particular Ziva who's kind of got anxiety, and just everything is life or death. So it just really made the stakes just go whoosh up. That was very cool."

The tension might be at an all-time high for Ziva upon her return, but behind the scenes Reasonover says de Pablo's return to the CBS drama has been a dream.

"Filming with Cote was so fun. She's so sweet," the actress gushed. "I took this really sweet picture of her and Brian Dietzen. We talked about jewelry a ton. She's amazing. Also her hair always smells very good."

Experiencing Ziva and de Pablo's return to the series this season has been surreal for Reasonover, a self-proclaimed fan of the CBS series even before she joined the cast.

"I sat between her and Mark when they did that first scene back in Season 17 for the table read, and I was just like watching a tennis match. My head just swiveling back and forth," she recalled. "I was like, 'This is so cool.' Everybody kept saying, 'Did you know your mouth was open the whole table read?' I was like, 'Oh yeah, I did leave a little pile of drool on the table, didn't I?'

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"It is very nice watching people who clearly love each other very much get to work together again," Reasonover added. "It really makes you feel like you're part of the team, especially when they kind of invite you in, which everyone has done. So it's been very cool. It's like watching a reunion, honestly. I'm like, this is the best high school reunion."

Ready for more Ziva? NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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