NCIS’ Kate Actor Explains Why She Really Left After Just 2 Seasons


Sasha Alexander explains why she decided to exit NCIS as Caitlin Todd after two seasons. While Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ team was already established when they first appeared in JAG, the events of the police procedural were kickstarted by the introduction of Kate. Originally working with the Secret Service, she was booted from her job after she came clean about sleeping with a co-worker. This case was recently revisited in the NCIS’ 1000th episode. Despite the tragedy, it led to her joining the Major Case Response Team (MCRT), where she served for just a couple of years.

Alexander’s departure was unexpected, especially since Kate was brutally murdered in the NCIS season 2 finale. The actor opened up about her decision to walk away from the police procedural in her appearance in a new episode of Off Duty: An NCIS Rewatch podcast hosted by Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo.

Yeah, it did. It did [no work/life balance]. I mean I think before NCIS, the shows that I did somehow had more of a balance like they were either true ensembles. But if in this particular case, I mean normally, if you’re like one or two, like Rizolli and Isles, I worked all the time, but there were moments where we could throw the ball back and forth to each other. NCIS, Mark, Michael, and I, and you later were on every single scene.

How Kate’s Death Changed NCIS Forever
The Aftermath Of Her Death Is Still Being Felt

NCIS is used to losing cast members, which is the norm for long-running TV shows. That said, Kate’s death was arguably the most impactful on the show. Aside from being brutal, especially with the way Ari’s assassination played out, it also led to a series of changes that defined NCIS’ next decade. Admittedly, it’s impossible to know how exactly NCIS would be different if Alexander stayed on as Kate. However, the biggest change would be the show now bringing in Cote de Pablo as Ziva David as her replacement.


As Ari’s half-sister, Ziva was initially recruited as a Mossad liaison officer who was supposed to deal with his rogue brother. Ultimately, however, she became an official member of MCRT after she realized the atrocious crimes that he had committed. If Gibbs’ original team hadn’t lost Kate, NCIS wouldn’t have had any reason to introduce a new female agent. Ziva’s non-existence would have resulted in the erasure of perhaps the most prominent love story in the police procedural — something that will be further explored in the upcoming spinoff, NCIS: Tony and Ziva.

Eventually, Alexander went on to star in another procedural, which she mentioned in the podcast. She was the co-headliner of Rizzoli & Isles, but despite being a title character, the actor revealed that the workload was much lighter than NCIS. Because of Kate’s death, it’s quite tricky for Alexander to reprise her role in the CBS franchise, but it isn’t impossible, considering her previous post-mortem appearance. Perhaps, NCIS season 22 can revisit Kate’s death, which could lead to the actor’s return to the long-running series.

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