Jennifer Aniston’s Career Could Have Looked Much Different If ‘Friends’ Ended a Bit Earlier

Following Friends, Jennifer Aniston went on to star in several major blockbuster movies. From Bruce Almighty to The Break-Up, Along Came Polly, The Good Girl, Marley & Me, and many more, she has maintained A-list status since the ‘90s (when everyone was copying her hairdo). 

Jennifer Aniston
Actress Jennifer Aniston | Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Though Aniston has since portrayed several characters, she will always be known as Rachel Green among Friends enthusiasts. However, if Friends finished filming a bit earlier, Aniston’s career may have gone down a much different road. Rumor has it that Aniston was interested in playing a lead character in one of the world’s most popular crime procedurals. 

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Jennifer Aniston, Agent Kate Todd, and the beginning of ‘NCIS’ 

According to reports, when NCIS was a new show — a mere Jag spinoff with a potential for success presumed to be within the limited scope of its predecessor — Aniston was interested in joining the show as Agent Kate Todd. Though Sasha Alexander would go on to land the role, before departing soon after, Aniston was interested in signing the dotted line. So, what went wrong? 

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In short, those behind the show wanted to start filming at an inopportune time for Aniston. They wanted to begin production while Jennifer Aniston was still working on Friends. Thus, if the showrunners were committed to placing Aniston in the leading role, they would have had to wait for Friends to finish up. 

It looks like those behind the series weren’t interested in waiting. If Friends finished a bit earlier, Aniston’s career could have been quite different and NCIS may have come to boast a narrative quite disparate from the famous “Tiva” plotline it’s known for today. 

What would have become of Jennifer Aniston and ‘NCIS’ if the former ‘Friends’ actor played Kate Todd?

Sasha Alexander left NCIS a few seasons in. Reports indicate that the heavy schedule became a bit too much for her. Alexander’s departure led to Cote de Pablo’s entrance and the romantic plotline between Ziva and Tony (Michael Weatherly).

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Jennifer Aniston — someone accustomed to a demanding workflow following years on Friends — may have stuck around. If Aniston stuck around, Alexander’s character may still be on the show today — 17 years later. Or, at least, could have been on the show for more seasons. And, Ziva David may have never joined the series; Cote de Pablo may have landed in a different place. And, Ziva and Tony may have never gone on to boast one of the small screen’s most well-known slow-boiling romances; the two grew quite famous for their palpable chemistry. 

As for Jennifer Aniston, she may have not jumped to cinematic endeavors as quickly; she could have predominantly remained on television, which would have left the actress in a very different place today. It’s interesting to imagine what such a parallel universe — in which Aniston became Kate Todd in NCIS— looks like.