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Sasha Alexander
Sasha Alexander 2012.jpg
Alexander in 2012
Born
Suzana Drobnjakovic

(1973-05-17) May 17, 1973 (age 49)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma mater University of Southern California
Occupation Actress
Years active 1997–present
Known for Caitlin Todd in NCIS
Maura Isles in Rizzoli & Isles
Spouse(s)
Luka Pecel
(m. 1999; ann. 2003)

(m. 2007)
Children 2
Relatives Carlo Ponti (father-in-law)
Sophia Loren (mother-in-law)

Sasha Alexander (born Suzana Drobnjakovic Serbian Cyrillic: Сузана Дробњаковић on May 17, 1973 in Los Angeles, California, U.S.), is an American actress and TV director. She played Gretchen Witter on Dawson's Creek and has acted in films including Yes Man (2008) and He's Just Not That Into You (2009). Alexander played Caitlin Todd for the first two seasons of NCIS (2003–2005). From July 2010 through September 2016, Alexander starred as Maura Isles in the TNT series Rizzoli & Isles and was a regular on Season 5 and 6 of Shameless in 2015-2016.

Early life

Alexander, who is of Serbian descent, was born Suzana Drobnjakovic in Los Angeles, California. She began acting in school productions in the seventh grade. She was also an ice skater, but stopped due to a knee injury. She continued acting through high school and college, then moved to New York City to act in summer stock and Shakespeare festivals. She graduated from the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television, where she was a member of the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta.

Career

Alexander got her acting start on two short-lived series: the medical drama Presidio Med and ABC's twenty-something drama Wasteland. She achieved widespread media attention and critical praise when she appeared in the fourth season of Dawson's Creek as Gretchen Witter, the sister of Pacey Witter, and dated the title character. Alexander was also in an episode of the short-lived Fox comedy series Greg the Bunny, in which she played the role of a lesbian TV Guide reporter and shared an onscreen kiss with Sarah Silverman.

Alexander appeared in the films Lucky 13 and All Over the Guy, as well as He's Just Not That Into You (in the role of Catherine), the independent movie The Last Lullaby, and Yes Man (as Lucy) starring Jim Carrey. She appeared as District Attorney Robin Childs in the CSI episode "Alter Boys", and she appeared in an episode of Friends ("The One with Joey's Interview"), playing a Soap Opera Digest reporter who interviewed Joey.

Alexander joined NCIS as Secret Service/NCIS Special Agent Caitlin "Kate" Todd in 2003. Her character replaced Vivian Blackadder, played by Robyn Lively, who had appeared in the backdoor pilot episodes "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown" on JAG. The official pilot episode "Yankee White" aired September 23, 2003, on CBS. Alexander's two year tenure on the show ended in May 2005 when her character, Kate, is killed by a terrorist who shoots her in the head during the last few seconds of the season-two finale, "Twilight".

The official explanation for the her departure was that "she asked to be let out of her contract to pursue other opportunities". In statements made by Alexander since her departure from NCIS, she has made clear that her problem with the show was that she felt the workload was too physically demanding for her.

In subsequent television series work, episode counts were considerably smaller, and her character portrayals required less physical effort than her role on NCIS. In her final appearances in the two-part episode "Kill Ari", Alexander was credited as a special guest star. Her character Caitlin Todd reappeared in a "what if" scenario with Anthony DiNozzo for the NCIS 200th episode "Life Before His Eyes" in 2012, however, Alexander did not return to film new footage for the episode; rather footage from the second season episode "SWAK" was recut to incorporate her into the new episode.

She also had a small role in 2006's Mission: Impossible III. She joined the cast of The Nine in the role of Nick's ex-wife.

From 2010 to 2016, Alexander played Dr. Maura Isles for seven seasons on the TNT series Rizzoli & Isles – the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Chief Medical Examiner, who works with the Boston Police Department. Alexander costarred with Angie Harmon, who played Boston Homicide Detective Jane Rizzoli, Isles's best friend on the show.

In 2015, Alexander began a recurring role on Showtime's Shameless portraying Helene Runyon, one of Lip Gallagher's college professors. Her character Helene maintains an open relationship with her husband Theo (played by Michael Reilly Burke) which allows her to sleep with Lip. The relationship between Helene and Lip is both romantic and one which provides him with guidance in his college career, but the affair blows-up in season six (2016).

Alexander was cast opposite Ludacris in the 2018 drama film The Ride. In 2018, Alexander guest-starred in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode, "Caretaker" (season 20, episode 8), as villainess Anna Mill. Alexander played Detective Chesler in the 2020 Netflix film, Dangerous Lies.

Since 2020, she has voiced Addie in the animated web-series Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons, based on DC Comics.

In 2021, Alexander directed the 9th episode "Red flags" of season 3 of the Netflix show You.

Personal life

On September 18, 1999, Alexander married Luka Pecel, but this marriage later ended by summary dissolution in California.

Alexander is married to director Edoardo Ponti (the younger son of actress Sophia Loren and film producer Carlo Ponti). They have two children, a daughter Lucia and a son Leonardo. Jessica Capshaw is godmother to Lucia. Alexander speaks English, Serbian, Italian, and some French.

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1997 Visceral Matter Karen Chambers
Battle of the Sexes Short film
1999 Twin Falls Idaho Miss America
2001 All Over the Guy Jackie Samantha Gold
2005 Lucky 13 Susie
2006 Mission: Impossible III Melissa Meade
2007 NCIS: Ducky's World Special Agent Caitlin Todd Video short
2008 Last Lullaby, TheThe Last Lullaby Sarah
Yes Man Lucy Burns
Tenure Margaret
2009 He's Just Not That Into You Catherine
Love Happens Jessica (photographer)
Play Dead Carolanne Video
2011 Coming & Going Alex Michaels
2013 The Girl from Nagasaki Adelaide
2017 Bernard and Huey Roz
2018 Amanda McKay Marianne
2018 The Ride Marianna Buultjens
2020 Dangerous Lies Detective Chesler

Television

As Actress

Year Title Role Notes
1999 Wasteland Jesse Presser Main role (Season 1)
2000–2001 Dawson's Creek Gretchen Witter Recurring role (season 4)
2001 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation District Attorney Robin Childs Episode: "Alter Boys"
Ball & Chain Chloe Jones TV movie
2002 Friends Shelley Episode: "The One with Joey's Interview"
Greg the Bunny Laura Carlson Episode: "Surprise!"
Presidio Med Dr. Jackie Collette Main role (Season 1)
2003 Expert Witness TV movie
  • 2003–2005;
  • 2012;
  • 2015
NCIS Special Agent Caitlin Todd Main role (Seasons 1–2)
Guest role (Seasons 3, 9 & 12)
Voice (Season 8)
2006 E-Ring Allyson Merrill Episode: "War Crimes"
The Nine Juliana Episode: "Outsiders"
2009 Dark Blue DEA Agent Julia Harris Episode: "A Shot in the Dark"
The Karenskys Emily Atwood TV movie
2010 House Nora Episode: "The Down Low"
2010–2016 Rizzoli & Isles Dr. Maura Isles Main role (Seasons 1–7)
2015–2016 Shameless Helene Runyon Recurring role (Seasons 5–7)
2016 Dinner at Tiffani's Herself Episode: "Ladies Who Lunch"
Celebrity Name Game Herself Episode 121
2018 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Anna Mill Episode: "Caretaker"
2019 FBI Valerie Caldwell Episode: "American Idol"
2020 Curb Your Enthusiasm Michelle 1 episode
Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons Adeline "Addie" Kane (voice) Main role
Amazing Stories Paula Porter Episode: "The Cellar"

As Director

Year Title Notes
2016 Rizzoli & Isles Season 7 Episode 10

"For Richer or Poorer"

2021 You Season 3 Episode 9

"Red Flag"

2022 Bull Season 6 Episode 19

“Opening Up”

As Producer

Year Title Notes
2005 Lucky 13 Co-producer

Accolades

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
2016 People's Choice Awards Favorite Cable TV Actress Rizzoli & Isles Won
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