Back in the early 2000s, if you wanted undercover drama, butt-kicking action sequences and swoon-worthy romance, you got your weekly fix with “Alias.”
Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) never seemed to run out of nuclear warheads to disarm, genetic doubles to track down and double agent quandaries to solve. On top of all the hooplah, the show had some seriously outstanding writing and performances to back it up. If it hadn’t been up against “The West Wing” every freaking year, it would have run away with the Emmys.
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To celebrate the anniversary of what was probably the greatest spy-show of our generation, we’ve decided to take a look at where a few actors from “Alias” ended up 15 years later.
Victor Garber, everyone’s favorite spy-daddy, Jack Bristow, spends his time hanging with superheroes on “Legends of Tomorrow,” while Ron Rifkin, who played the nefarious villain Arvin Sloane has been hopping around “Law & Order: SVU,” “Gotham” and “Limitless” the past few years.
The show’s star, Jennifer Garner, has obviously stayed in the public eye with romantic comedies and feel good movies, but we kind of wish she’d head back to TV where she could snag juicier roles.
Michael Vartan has faded from the spotlight a bit since “Alias” was cancelled back in 2006, but he’s snagged roles in “Bates Motel” and “Satisfaction.” Similarly, Merrin Dungey has kept busy with smaller guest roles on various shows, but we’re most excited to see her new ABC legal drama, “Conviction.”
David Anders, who played the devilishly handsome Julian Sark has done well for himself with recurring roles on popular shows like “24,” “Heroes,” “The Vampire Diaries,” and “Once Upon a Time.” Now, he takes up permanent residence on The CW as a not so nice zombie named Blaine.
The most unexpected breakout star of “Alias,” however, has got to be Bradley Cooper.
He may be a household name these days, but back then Cooper got his first major role as Will Tippin, Sydney Bristow’s lovelorn best friend.
As a clueless reporter, helplessly in love with a CIA double-agent who doesn’t feel the same, Will was not what we’d call breakout star material. He just as easily could have faded into the background and been written out of the show entirely like Francie eventually was (RIP Francie).
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Cooper’s raw talent and obvious chemistry with Garner kept him alive and well though, and he even found his way into the CIA after a kidnapping, rescue and fake drug habit.
Not to get weepy about it, but Will was really the unsung hero of “Alias” in a lot of ways. When the entire cast is filled out with spies who have spent years mastering how to navigate the world of intelligence, it’s hard to find a relatable outsider that the audience can connect with.
Will provided that in spades, digging into Sydney’s secrets and getting just as confused as the audience at the various twists and turns he encountered trying to make sense of SD-6 and all its secrets.
Secretly, we always kind of wondered whether Will and Sydney were headed for romance too. Obviously her forbidden romance with Vaughn was much more appealing to a general audience, but we still held a little hope in our hearts for Will.
“Alias” couldn’t keep his talent all to themselves for long, unfortunately, and by Season 3, Cooper had reduced his role to minor appearances in order to pursue other TV series and a film career. He struck gold with “Wedding Crashers” in 2005, but “The Hangover” in 2009 was what rocketed him to stardom.
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We wish we could see Cooper back on our screens every week — and if they ever do an “Alias” revival, we’ll demand his participation — but he’s just too busy starring opposite Jennifer Lawrence in endless Oscar-nominated films.
But, wherever his career takes him, we’re sure he still has a fond place in his heart for Will Tippin and the role that started it all.