Jennifer Aniston & Harrison Ford Nearly Played These ‘NCIS’ Lead Characters

Jennifer Aniston is widely known for portraying Rachel Green in the cultural phenomenon Friends. However, since starring in Friends, Aniston has appeared in Marley and Me, Along Came Polly, The Good Girl, Dumplin’, He’s Just Not That Into You, and more. As for Harrison Ford, his portfolio doesn’t need much introduction; he’s a living legend. The man is Indiana Jones and Hans Solo! Despite different pasts — often flocking to different filmic genres — Aniston and Ford have one thing in common: NCIS was an almost.

NCIS
NCIS | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

Though largely making her name in the comedic space, Aniston hasn’t shied away from more dramatic roles, as she currently stars as Alex Levy in the hit drama The Morning Show. She also previously portrayed a woman suffering from chronic pain in Cake, which snagged her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. Though Jennifer Aniston has experienced a prosperous career since the debut of her hit sitcom, she nearly went from one hit show to another. Harrison Ford, on the other hand, experiencing a little bit of a dry spell, nearly jumped from the big screen to the small one.

Though you could likely picture Harrison Ford wearing a badge and carrying a gun (not much of a stretch from his previous work), could you imagine Jennifer Aniston taking down the baddies, and putting the puzzle pieces together to solve the next big crime? Following Murder Mystery, she may just have what it takes! Aniston nearly portrayed one of the most famous characters from the show’s early years. 

Jennifer Aniston was reportedly interested in playing Kate Todd in ‘NCIS’

According to Collider, Jennifer Aniston was in the running for Kate Todd before Sasha Alexander landed the lead role.  While Aniston was interested in the part (as most sources have since reported), she was not done filming the final season of Friends. Waiting for Aniston to finish filming Friends would have greatly delayed production on NCIS (by at least a year). 

Considering NCIS is a Jag spinoff, the timing was important, as a great delay between a semi-successful show and its spinoff series isn’t necessarily the winning recipe for success. 

Considering Sasha Alexander left the show soon after joining, which led to the introduction of Ziva David (a beloved fan-favorite who has recently returned), it seems that everything worked out in the end. However, it would have been fascinating to see where NCIS could have gone had Kate Todd stuck around and, if Aniston chose to stick with the part, the character may have had the prolonged role viewers always wished she would have. However, Aniston went on to enjoy a successful career, and NCIS has been doing just fine without Rachel Green.

Those behind ‘NCIS’ wanted Harrison Ford for Agent Gibbs 

Collider goes on to note that Harrison Ford was in the running for Agent Gibbs. At the time, Ford’s career was slowing down a bit and his agents thought it would be wise for him to accept such a show — likely due to the guaranteed schedule and continued presence in the public eye (albeit via the small screen instead of the silver one). 

The pilot episode even references Air Force One, which Collider notes as an inside joke, alluding to the fact that Harrison Ford was nearly the man in Mark Harmon’s shoes. From Jennifer Aniston to Harrison Ford, NCIS almost looked a lot different/ Would we have known any better if these two were our leads? How would the show have changed?