'NCIS': Sasha Alexander happy she opted out when she did

sasha-alexander-fm.jpg Sasha Alexander isn't regretting her "NCIS" exit as she starts a new series.

The actress left in a memorably shocking way as Special Agent Caitlin Todd, who took a terrorist-fired bullet in the head in the second-season finale of the CBS series, which now tops the weekly ratings regularly. As she prepares to team with Angie Harmon in the TNT crime drama "Rizzoli & Isles" starting Monday, July 12, Alexander remains satisfied to have opted out of "NCIS" when she did.

"The show did well from the very beginning," she tells Zap2it. "We were consistent, but for whatever reason, it didn't get press coverage then. I always thought it was a great show. I had just finished doing a couple of other series for CBS and [network president and CEO] Les Moonves, and he said, 'Come do this show.'

"I'm not surprised" at how "NCIS" is doing now, Alexander adds. "It travels really well, no matter what country it's shown in. There's a fun quality to it, and people can relate to that. To me, 'NCIS' has always been a bit of a comic book.

"Do I regret leaving? I absolutely don't, for a million reasons that I've never spoken out about ... for a million reasons that I can't. I had a wonderful time doing it for two years, though."

Soon to be seen as Boston medical examiner Maura Isles opposite Harmon's police detective Jane Rizzoli, creations of best-selling author T ess Gerritsen, Alexander also has a distinctive role in real life.

She's the daughter-in-law of screen legend Sophia Loren, whom Alexander terms "everything people think she is, and more. She is an incredible inspiration to me, and a beautiful mother to my husband ( Edoardo Ponti) and to me as well ... plus, she's a wonderful grandmother to my daughter. I have tremendous admiration for her."

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Photo credit: FilmMagic