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The Transformation Of Sasha Alexander From Childhood To NCIS

Sasha Alexander, whose real name is Suzana Drobnjakovic, was born in 1973 (via Turner Classic Movies). Alexander has had a varied career up to this point, appearing in several roles before getting her first big break on "Dawson's Creek," which catapulted the actor into the spotlight. Her major role as Kate Todd on "NCIS" lasted for two seasons, in which she appeared in a total of 49 episodes. Her character had a huge impact on fans of the popular show, who were devastated to lose such a beloved character.

Alexander's Kate character studies law before dropping out and becoming a secret service agent. However, a romantic entanglement puts that position into jeopardy, but she's quickly recruited into the Naval Criminal Investigative Service by Agent Gibbs (Mark Harmon). Todd is originally surprised at how willing the unit is when it comes to bending the rules, but she eventually relents and begins to utilize the vary same means she chastises the team for. Before and after "NCIS," Alexander has had an interesting repertoire of roles, so how did the actor get started, and where is she headed?

Alexander appeared in several TV shows

Sasha Alexander's first television appearance is on "Wasteland." Airing in late 1999, "Wasteland" is a young adult drama series that follows the exploits of friends and their relationships and sexuality. Another early role was "Presidio Med," created by "ER" showrunners Lydia Woodward and John Wells. The show is a standard issue medical procedural drama and only ran for 14 episodes. Unfortunately, both shows were quickly canceled, and "Presidio Med" currently holds an abysmal 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, while "Wasteland" has an even worse 6% rating.

Of course, the show that helped put Alexander on the map was the ever popular "Dawson's Creek." She played the role of Gretchen Witter, sister of Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson), who eventually dates the titular Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek). Appearing in Season 4, the actor said in a 2001 interview with IGN, "They weren't sure about my role in the beginning, but then the chemistry kind of worked and then they really loved the storyline and began to go with it."

The actor also had supporting roles in several movies

Sasha Alexander has also appeared in several prominent movies from 2001 to 2009, including "All Over the Guy" in 2001, "Lucky 13" in 2005, "Yes Man" and "The Last Lullaby" in 2008, and "He's Just Not That Into You" in 2009 (via IMDb). "All Over the Guy" is a romantic comedy starring Dan Bucatinsky, Richard Ruccolo, Adam Goldberg, and of course, Alexander herself. The role sees Alexander attempt to hook two friends up on a blind date, but things don't go exactly as plan. Continuing with the romantic comedy vibes, "Lucky 13" is about a young man who reflects on all of his past relationships in order to gain the courage and insight to propose to a lifelong interest. The movie stars Alexander, Lauren Graham, Kaley Cuoco, Brad Hunt, and Harland Williams.

"The Last Lullaby" represents a change of pace for Alexander, and the small independent film involves a retired assassin (Tom Sizemore) who takes one more job to kill a librarian, played by Alexander, but ends up falling in love instead. The movie received favorable reviews, and it currently has a 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. Perhaps the biggest hit of these movies is the comedy "Yes Man," which stars the immediately recognizable Jim Carrey alongside Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, and Alexander. The premise of the plot is that Carrey's character can no longer say "no" to people, often to hilarious outcomes.

Alexander became a household name with NCIS

Appearing in several more movies throughout her career, Sasha Alexander found another hit role on the small screen in "NCIS." She plays Special Agent Caitlin "Kate" Todd from 2003 to 2005, although the character has appeared in later episodes through flashbacks using archival footage. Tough as nails, a stickler for rules, and originally intensely private, Todd was a big hit with fans. 

Although Alexander had a contract for six seasons with "NCIS," the actor found the scheduling grueling and decided to leave after two seasons. In an interview with TV Guide, Alexander stated of her experience, "People don't realize that on a network show, you make 24 episodes a year — that's 10½ months a year, 17 hours a day. It's hard core. Plus, people really loved the character, and the way they [killed Kate] was really shocking... it was a bullet to the head, you know?"

The fan response was visceral with the way in which the character was written off the show, and series creator Donald P. Bellisario commented to the Chicago Tribune, "Any time you kill a regular character on a show after it's gone at least two full seasons and people have come to love the character, it's bound to have a ripple effect."

Alexander made her mark with Rizzoli and Isles

Following her ascent with "NCIS," Sasha Alexander followed it up with a lead role on the hit television show "Rizzoli and Isles." Starring Alexander as Maura Isles alongside costar Angie Harmon as Jane Rizzoli, "Rizzoli and Isles" is inspired by the books from Tess Gerritsen, and the plot follows the titular characters' efforts while working for the Boston Police Department. Rizzoli is headstrong and impulsive, while Isles is the exact opposite. The dynamic between the two characters is what drives the show, and fans love every moment of it, with the show holding an 86% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The show aired on TNT and ran for seven seasons between 2010 and 2016. Speaking of her time on "Rizzoli and Isles," Alexander said (via The Atlanta Journal Constitution), "I have really enjoyed playing Dr. Maura Isles. I really can say in seven years, I never had a boring day playing her. It was never tedious for me to play her. She's a sunny personality and curious and interested and funny ... I will miss playing her. We've had seven seasons to explore so many things and creatively I'm ready to move on."

Alexander has continued to work in show business with smaller but still significant roles, appearing on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Shameless," "Deathstroke: Knights and Dragons," and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," but has also taken on the role of director in the recent Netflix series "You," having directed Episode 9 of Season 3 titled "Red Flag" (via IMDb). Ultimately, Alexander is still having a prosperous career, but she will always be remembered for her roles on "NCIS" and "Rizzoli and Isles."