‘Alias’ Ended 15 Years Ago: 10 Standout Disguises From the Spy Show
Before Sydney Bristow headed into semi-retirement in Alias’ season finale—which aired 15 years ago this May 22—she must have blown through the CIA’s wig and wardrobe budget.
During her undercover missions, Jennifer Garner‘s character was a clandestine chameleon, donning at least one disguise per episode—often more!
You can get a fast-paced tour of Syd’s aliases in the Season 4 opening titles, which featured a montage of more than four dozen of her looks by that point. But we’d also direct your attention to the costumes below, some of our favorites from the 2000s-era ABC drama.
Season 1, Episode 1: Seeing Red
In the pilot episode, Sydney has a Run Lola Run moment when she dyes her hair bright red to go incognito on a trip to Taiwan. (Producer Sarah Caplan said she saw that cherry-red hair color on a UCLA student while scouting for locations and paid the young woman $39 for a clipping.)
Season 1, Episode 2: A Little Latex
On a mission to Moscow, Sydney shimmies into a skin-tight latex micro-dress that somehow still allowed her to take down a bad guy with a roundhouse kick. And check this out, Alias fans: Pieces of the dress are still on sale.
Season 1, Episode 21: Cabaret Chanteuse
For Sydney’s Parisian nightclub number in “Rendezvous” (fun fact: Garner did her own singing!) costume designer Laura Goldsmith decked out the super-spy in a black Emporio Armani tuxedo pant and jacket, an Agent Provocateur corset, and a thousand-strand black beaded choker, as she told TVLine in 2016.
Season 1, Episode 22: Rhapsody in Blue
Syd heads back to Taiwan in the Season 1 finale, “Almost 30 Years,” and wears a turquoise wig, a mesh top, and PVC pants to blend in at a dance club. Vaughn (Michael Vartan), meanwhile, gets away with a leather jacket and some hair gel.
Season 2, Episode 4: Medal-Worthy in Moscow
On a Moscow mission in “Dead Drop,” Syd infiltrates a FAPSI library by posing as a military officer, with spy tools hidden in her alter-ego’s medals. (And da, Sydney speaks fluent Russian to help sell the illusion.)
Season 2, Episode 12: Punk in Purple
In “The Getaway,” Sydney made a “Hella Good” interception at a security checkpoint in an airport in Nice, France—sporting a spiky purple wig, red fishnets, and a thick New York accent for her final SD-6 outing.
Season 2, Episode 13: Back in Black
“Phase One” was a pivotal episode for the show, and not just because Syd kicked off the episode in lingerie for a fashion show at 36,000 feet. (It’s probably no coincidence that this episode aired after the Super Bowl.) The male gaze is literal here, but our spy extraordinaire ends her modeling gig with the perfect one-liner about her mark’s lasciviousness.
Season 2, Episode 21: Sydney Bristow, Dominatrix
As Sydney and Vaughn search for the second subject of the Project Helix doppelgänger program in “Second Double,” they track down the chief scientist to a Berlin sex club, and Sydney goes into full BDSM mode to get the guy alone and vulnerable.
Season 4, Episode 20: Heiress With an Attitude
In “The Descent,” as Sydney catches up to a billionaire Rambaldi devotee in Cannes, France, she assumes the alias of a nouveau-riche jewelry store customer—and brushes off an employee’s offer to take her coat. “Don’t touch the fur,” she tells the guy. “All right, you may touch the fur. Once.”
Season 5, Episode 13: Sydney, Meet Sydney
The Helix Protocol struck again in Season 5 as recurring antagonist Anna Espinosa—previously played by Gina Torres—used the technology to morph to become Sydney’s clone, as you can see in this clip from “I See Dead People.” (And it wasn’t the first time a villain stole Syd’s identity.)