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Why Lisa Rand From NCIS: Los Angeles Looks So Familiar

"NCIS: Los Angeles" doesn't shy away from gruesome moments or captivating storylines. Though the CBS action procedural has a pretty robust cast of main characters, it also has a roster of recurring faces that pop up every once in a while. FBI Senior Special Agent Lisa Rand is a great example of the way the show's universe-at-large keeps moving even when it comes to characters the show doesn't actively focus on. Rand first appears in Season 2 of the show, and has put in a handful of very, very occasional appearances since then — doing her own thing at her own job, yet working with the team when the situation so requires. Last seen in Season 9 episode "The Monster" in 2018, the good agent makes her long overdue return in Season 14's "The Body Stitchers," along with the titular, grimly artistic group of killers. 

Lisa Rand from "NCIS: Los Angeles" might look familiar because the same actor has also portrayed Lieutenant Commander Faith Coleman in the original "NCIS." However, there's a chance that you're also quite familiar with some of her other key roles. Here's where you might have seen Alicia Coppola before.

Alicia Coppola channeled her inner pain as Lorna in Another World

Alicia Coppola's first screen role was an uncredited appearance in a 1988 episode of "Saturday Night Live," but she started truly making waves in the early 1990s. From 1991 to 1993, she starred as Lorna Devon in the NBC soap opera "Another World." Coppola was the first actor to portray the character, and in 1993, she won a Soap Opera Digest Award for her performance (via IMDb). When she left the show after 128 episodes, Robin Christopher took over the role.

Lorna is a conflicted and troubled character, and in a 2016 interview with Michael Fairman TV, Coppola noted that her father had passed away shortly before her audition, which caused plenty of emotional turmoil for the young actor — something she was able to channel in her performance. "Lorna was the perfect storm," she said. "I honestly believe my father gave me that role so I could get out all that I was feeling." 

In 2016, Coppola revisited her soap opera roots with a 30-episode role as prison doctor Meredith Gates in "The Young and the Restless."

Alicia Coppola plays Mimi Clark in Jericho

Few shows can match CBS' post-apocalyptic drama "Jericho" when it comes to intense and controversial premises. A large-scale nuclear attack on the U.S. soil leaves the town of Jericho, Kansas scraping to understand the situation — and, more importantly, to survive. Alicia Coppola plays IRS agent Mimi Clark, who's in town for an auditing assignment when the bombs go off. The dramatically altered situation forces the formerly Washington D.C.-based Mimi to build a new life as a Jericho resident ... and also significantly alters her initially strained relationship with Stanley Richmond (Brad Beyer), the subject or her audit.  

Though beloved by its fans, "Jericho" was canceled after its first season, as the show's universe was on the brink of a civil war. The cancellation, however, was a pretty peculiar one, as a major fan campaign managed to un-cancel the show for a short Season 2 that wrapped up some of the storylines. In a 2008 interview with IGN, Coppola talked about how much she loved the show, and described the despair she felt when she learned of the initial cancellation. However, she revealed that disappointed as she was, she couldn't shake a strange sense of lucidity. 

"I just feel like there's something in the air. I don't know what. There's just something," she remembered saying to to her manager at the time. A few hours later, fellow "Jericho" star Skeet Ulrich (Jake Green in the show) called her. "He says, 'We're back!' I said, 'What do you mean we're back? Back from where? Where did we go?' He says, 'No, you dummy. 'Jericho!' It's back!'" Coppola described the confusing, but no doubt incredibly rewarding phone call between the two actors. 

She played Ian's coworker Sue in Shameless

The centerpiece of Showtime's Emmy-winning (via IMDb) comedy-drama "Shameless" is William H. Macy's deadbeat dad extraordinaire, Frank Gallagher. However, the rest of the show's main cast is also full of fantastic characters, as is the stellar recurring cast. Alicia Coppola's recurring character in the show is Sue, Ian Gallagher's (Dominic Monaghan) colleague during the latter's career as an EMT. In an interview with Chilled Magazine, the actor expressed enthusiasm about the character, and she revealed that Sue hit quite close to home — and as a result, was incredibly fun to play. 

"[The character's] not one I have had the great fortune to have played before, but funny enough, it is very close to who I am," she said. "I am having the best time!"

In another interview with The Huffington Post, Coppola elaborated on what she liked about the role of Sue, and how she approached the character.

"She sees exactly who he is, even though he tries to hide — she sees him," the actor described Sue's dynamic with Ian. "And I think that makes him uncomfortable, but it also makes him feel cared for. I've tried to make her be maternal, but also make her still be one of the boys."

She threatened the Lyon empire as Meghan Conway in Empire

Empire Entertainment's inner struggles and attempts to ward off external challenges form the entertaining backbone of "Empire's" six seasons. Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) and the various members of their extended family face a cast of increasingly challenging adversaries as the series progresses ... which should give an idea of how dangerous Alicia Coppola's District Attorney Meghan Conway is when she arrives near the end of Season 5. An ambitious, shrewd political operator who's after Lucious — or, she suggests, Damon Cross (Wood Harris) — to advance her career, and will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

Coppola's Conway gets to trade barbs with some of the best in the game — her back-and-forth with Cookie, in particular, is highly entertaining. The experience was clearly great for the actor herself, as well. "It's one hell of a ride," she wrote on Instagram ahead of her character's first appearance.