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Why Captain Derek Elwood From Blue Bloods Looks So Familiar

Considering that the character only appeared in two episodes, Captain Derek Elwood proved to be a memorable nemesis on "Blue Bloods." After all, he came very close to putting Detective Daniel Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. In the world of police shows, if there's one archetype scarier than a crooked cop, it's a crooked cop in charge of Internal Affairs. Luckily, Elwood is found out in the third-season episode "Framed" as having attempted to frame Danny in an effort to cover up his gambling problem. Instead of Danny, it's Elwood who is sent to prison. 

For sure, there have been plenty of memorable small parts on "Blue Bloods," and this crooked captain is among them. It's not just the circumstances and story that make him memorable; it's the performance. Captain Derek Elwood is played by Nestor Serrano, a veteran TV and movie actor with a 40-year career and more than 100 credits to his name (via IMDb). So if he looks familiar to you, here's why.

From The Money Pit to Lethal Weapon 2

Trained at the prestigious Lee Strasberg Institute (via NestorSerrano.com), Nestor Serrano got his start in the 1980s like most other actors: taking the parts he could get, building momentum and connections over time. His first film role came in the 1986 comedy film "The Money Pit," starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. Serrano played Julio, one of the many colorful characters hired out by the couple to renovate their hopelessly dilapidated home.

From there, Serrano took on several small parts in various primetime television episodes. But in 1989, Serrano landed the part of Detective Eddie Estaban in Richard Donner's buddy cop action sequel "Lethal Weapon 2." In his very first scene, Detective Estaban can be seen in the small crowd of LAPD sergeants and detectives who have gathered in the station to see if the unpredictable Detective Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) can, in fact, release himself from a straightjacket. After Riggs manages to free himself by painfully dislocating his own shoulder, Estaban is seen throwing his money down on the table, having clearly lost the bet. 

"Lethal Weapon 2" sees many of that station's cops killed in a series of assassinations by the apartheid South African villains; luckily, Estaban isn't one of them. Nonetheless, he doesn't appear in any of the other "Lethal Weapon" films.

Playing a cop suits Nestor Serrano

Police stories seem to suit Nestor Serrano. In 1989, he played main character Geno Toffenelli in the short-lived NBC show "True Blue," though it was canceled after 12 episodes. Similarly, the CBS crime drama "The Hat Squad" only lasted for 13 episodes. On "The Hat Squad," Serrano played Rafael, one of the three main police detective brothers that the show was based around.

He also played a supporting character in CBS' "Moloney," portraying Lieutenant Matty Navarro. "Moloney" only ran for one season, ending in 1997. Serrano also recorded brief appearances in "The Commish," "New York Undercover," "Promised Land," and other police shows.

Serrano has also taken his experience playing a policeman to the big screen. In 1995, he played Detective Sanchez in "Bad Boys." He also appeared at the very beginning of 1996's suspense-drama "City Hall," which starred Al Pacino, John Cusack, and Bridget Fonda. Serrano's character, Detective Eddie Santos, is gunned down in the film's opening scene, but it's his death that sets the events of the whole film in motion.

The 21st century saw Serrano continuing to appear in a wide array of crime shows and police procedurals, including a 2006 episode of "Criminal Minds," two episodes on "CSI," two episodes of "Bosch" in 2016, and a 2009 episode of "Cold Case." He also has appeared in four different series in the "Law & Order" franchise, including twice in the original "Law & Order," twice in "Special Victims Unit," and an appearance each in "Trial By Jury" and "Criminal Intent."

He played Dr. Hazmat in Bringing Out the Dead

In 1999, Nestor Serrano played a supporting role in Martin Scorsese's jarring and intense "Bringing Out the Dead." The cast starred Nicolas Cage as burnt-out and depressed EMT Frank Pierce. The film also sported a supporting cast that included Patricia Arquette, Ving Rhames, and John Goodman. Though "Bringing Out the Dead" flopped at the box office, it has, like many of Scorsese's films, been reappraised in more recent years, and deemed by cinephiles as a profound and effective examination of death, addiction, and redemption (via Cinephilia Beyond).

"Bringing Out the Dead" is an often disorienting film, full of smash cuts and shaky camera work that sometimes feels like a bad trip. And of course, Nicolas Cage chews the scenery in a way only he can do at his most unhinged. It makes sense then that Nicolas Cage has called it one of his best performances. You have to watch closely to pick up Nestor Serrano's Dr. Hazmat, but he's most definitely there, setting up Cage's Frank for one of the movie's best lines.

Dr. Hazmat: "You told me he was dead, flatlined!" Frank: "He got better."

He was in The Day After Tomorrow and 24

Nestor Serrano took on another ensemble role in 2004's climate disaster thriller "The Day After Tomorrow." In it, he appeared as Tom Gomez, an administrator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and one of the many weather trackers monitoring the increasingly harsh and destructive weather patterns emerging.

The next year, Serrano took on a very different kind of role, appearing as Navi Araz in Season 4 of Fox's smash series "24." This season is seen by many as one of the best in the show's run; Ethan Cross at CBR.com ranks it only behind Season 5 in terms of quality.

Serrano's Araz is a member of a terrorist cell that, as always, is being tracked by the seemingly indestructible Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland). Bauer is chasing down Araz's group before they can wreak havoc on the United States and the world. However, his extremely controlling attitude toward the rest of the cell — particularly his own son, Behrooz (Jonathan Ahdout) — leads to his son shooting and killing him.

Dexter's final revenge

Nestor Serrano appeared in the final two episodes of Season 7 of "Dexter." Interestingly his character — the cruel drug cartel kingpin Hector Estrada — had been mentioned several times throughout the series before his first appearance. However, it was only in Season 7 that Estrada finally made an appearance, having just been released from prison. As it turns out, it was Estrada who ordered the death of the biological mother of Dexter (Michael C. Hall). That action set in motion the series of events that would lead to Dexter's adoption by Harry Morgan (James Remar), and Dexter's subsequent formation into the avenging angel serial killer that fans know and love.

After Estrada's release, Dexter finally has the opportunity to get revenge for his mother. It takes him a couple of episodes, with Estrada proving a crafty adversary, but Dexter ends up stabbing him in the chest. And with that, Dexter killed the last of his mother's murderers. Nonetheless, given that Dexter also comes within a hair's breadth of getting caught, the episode also left viewers on a cliffhanger, wondering if he really got away with it all (via The Hollywood Reporter).