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Why Detective Reyes From Law & Order: Organized Crime Looks So Familiar

"Law & Order" is a sprawling franchise, with numerous shows following the justice system in New York City. One of the newest spin-offs of the franchise to hit the screens is "Law & Order: Organized Crime," which changes up the episodic format of its predecessors to instead embrace a more serialized storytelling style. This approach has paid off: the show is in its third season, and since the beginning, it has followed Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) when he returns to the NYPD after the murder of his wife. He is assigned to the organized crime unit, and goes undercover as Eddie Wagner, AKA Eddie Ashes. 

Stabler isn't the only one that goes undercover in the series, however. Season 3 saw the arrival of Detective Bobby Reyes, who earned his place in the unit after working undercover with anti-crime and narcotics. He is a talented and capable undercover officer who becomes a dependable member of the unit. Reyes brings a charm and charisma to his role, with an approachable demeanor that helps him connect with those in less affluent neighborhoods. His genuine likeability owes a lot to the actor who plays him, Rick Gonzalez. Speaking to The Today Show, Gonzalez said, "[Reyes] can be nobody and everybody at the same time, and that's going to be useful for the unit." 

This rugged aura is one that has served the actor well in the past, and if he looks familiar, it is because he has been playing hard-edged characters for decades.

Rick Gonzalez was in Coach Carter

"Coach Carter" falls into the same genre as "We Are Marshall" and "Remember the Titans," sports movies based on actual events. Released in 2005, "Coach Carter" follows the title character (Samuel L. Jackson), who becomes the basketball coach for a troubled high school team and teaches them to be student-athletes. The story culminates in Coach Carter closing the gym and locking out the team until their grades are up, drawing the ire of the community but the respect of the young men.

Rick Gonzalez appeared as Timo Cruz, arguably the most troubled of the group. He gets into a physical altercation with Carter and leaves the team, working his way back on — only to leave again, before begging to come back following a gang shooting. His character arc is by far the most emotional, and did a great job in setting up Gonzalez up for future big roles. As Gonzalez told CBS, "I've had countless people from different parts of life come up and tell me how profoundly Timo impacted them. The characters we portrayed really connected with people. Timo had this huge arc where he was on the team, leaves the team, loses his cousin and comes back on the team before he realizes he has to find a way to get to college."

Rick Gonzalez was embroiled in corruption in Pride and Glory

Movies and television series following New York Police detectives are a dime a dozen in the industry, but some can distinguish themselves through memorable performances, even if the film itself is mired in problematic stereotypes. That is definitely the case for "Pride and Glory," a film that earned poor reviews on Rotten Tomatoes but was packed with talent, including Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, and Noah Emmerich.

The film follows a family of cops searching for corruption in the department, unaware that one of their own is responsible for the death of four of their fellow officers. Rick Gonzalez appears as Eladio Casado, a criminal who pays Jimmy (Ferrell) to kill a rival gang member. While the entire plot unfolds around the family, they are torn between a corrupt cop, a loyal detective, and a supervisor conflicted between the job's duty and his brothers' loyalty.

Much of the film is lost in the aforementioned stereotypes and cliches. Gonzalez, despite his talent, has little screen time. Even still, he does have a big moment that comes when he confronts Jimmy about the money he paid and received no action for. In a film boasting that much star power, Gonzalez continued to show that even in a room of acting royalty, he can still be the most powerful on set.

He was Wild Dog in Arrow

While Marvel (and by extension, Disney) has owned the superhero genre on the big screen for decades, Warner Bros. did own the TV beat for a long time thanks to its long-running Arrowverse on The CW, which began with "Arrow" and spun off into "The Flash," "Legends of Tomorrow," "Batwoman," "Supergirl," and "Superman and Lois." 

"Arrow," until its end, remained the flagship series of this TV universe, focusing on the adventures of the Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) as he goes from lone vigilante to celebrated team player. By the fifth season, his "Team Arrow" needs new blood, and that comes in the form of a few new heroes — those being Curtis Holt aka Mr. Terrific (Echo Kellum), Evelyn Sharp aka Artemis (Madison McLaughlin), and Rick Gonzalez's Rene Ramirez aka Wild Dog. 

While most of the group was excited to work with the then-mayor Oliver Queen, Ramirez was a bit less steady. Back when "Arrow" was still on the air, Gonzalez sat down with CBS to discuss what it meant to him to play the superhero. "Being a part of this show is a dream come true," the actor said. "I'm fulfilling a fantasy, and I always wanted to play a bad a**. Wild Dog is similar to my favorites, Wolverine and Punisher." While Gonzalez had spent the majority of his career cast as angry street kids, gang members, and criminals, this role put him in front of a larger audience of fans who could see him as a hero, even if it is a slightly more nuanced version of the same character type he'd played in the past. 

He was in the wrong place at the right time in The Lost Symbol

Dan Brown has captivated audiences for years with his series of novels about Harvard-trained symbologist Robert Langdon. Most memorably, Langdon served as the main protagonist in the cultural juggernaut, "The Da Vinci Code," but Brown has written five books featuring Langdon over 18 years, three of them being turned into films starring Tom Hanks as the Harvard intellectual. 

The films adapted the first, second, and fourth novels, skipping the third. NBC adapted the overlooked third novel into a series for Peacock, "The Lost Symbol."

The series follows Langdon (Ashley Zuckerman) as he is forced to solve puzzles to save the life of his mentor, Peter Solomon (Eddie Izzard), and the father of his former flame, Katherine Solomon (Valorie Curry). Rick Gonzalez plays a Capitol Police officer who constantly seems to be in the wrong place at the right time throughout the season. He spoke with MuseTV about what it meant to him to play the part. "To me, that was a great challenge and exciting to play," he says. "Also, because they decided to create an Afro-Latino character in this world, and create someone that was contemporary who is going to be the audience perspective going through this journey. I had to jump at that. I think that's something we don't see enough of on television, and I tip my hat off to the showrunners and creators for, just on their own, wanting to create this character." 

While Gonzalez seemed to spend his early years typecast as a tough street kid involved in drugs and gangs, his most recent parts seem to be breaking him out of that, and it'll be exciting to see what sorts of roles he takes in the future.