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Why Tom From NCIS: Hawai'i Season 2, Episode 5 Looks So Familiar

A spin-off of Donald P. Bellisario's "JAG," "NCIS" premiered in 2003 as a hybrid of a military drama and crime procedural. The combination was so successful that "NCIS" has been on television in some form or another for nearly 20 years, spawning "NCIS: Los Angeles" in 2009 and "NCIS: New Orleans" in 2014. In 2021, the long-running franchise released its latest spin-off, "NCIS: Hawai'i."

Like its forebears, "NCIS: Hawai'i" focuses on a branch of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, albeit in a more tropical locale. Now in its second season, the series stars Vanessa Lachey as Special Agent-in-Charge Jane Tennant. In Season 2, Episode 5, titled "Sudden Death," Agents Kai Holman (Alex Tarrant) and Lucy Tara (Yasmine Al-Bustami) visit a construction site to investigate the murder of Petty Officer Ben Ione. There, the site's intimidating foreman, Tom, strongly suggests that they leave. Here's where you might recognize the actor who plays the foreman.

Gabriel G-Rod Rodriguez had early roles in Burn Notice and Ballers

Born in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, Gabriel "G-Rod" Rodriguez's family relocated to the United States when he was 6 years old. After spending some time in Maine and Central Florida, the family moved to a Venezuelan-American enclave in Southern Florida. "I arrived in South Florida when I was 13 years old," the actor told WSVN. "I love South Florida. This will always be a part of me, and I'll always call it home."

Rodriguez settled down in Florida, where he got married, had three kids, and secured a corporate job. But Rodriguez felt unfulfilled. "I decided to start shaving my head," he told VoyageATL. "I swapped the dorky glasses for contact lenses and started working out harder and more consistently. I started feeling like a different person." The physical transformation incited a change in his career, too, and Rodriguez began to take acting classes at night. After auditioning for "Burn Notice" several times, he booked his first role, credited in a 2013 episode as "Grizzled Operative." 

More jobs followed, including appearances in "The Walking Dead," "Orange is the New Black," and "Power." In 2016, Rodriguez played Rob Corddry's chummy drug dealer in a Season 1 episode of HBO's "Ballers."

Rodriguez had a recurring role in Ozark

Gabriel "G-Rod" Rodriguez credits two individuals with helping him get his foot in the door: award-winning casting director Lori Wyman, and her husband, actor Marc Macaulay. "He coached me one-on-one for several years and truly helped me master the art of stillness and intensity," Rodriguez told VoyageATL. "I wouldn't be the actor I am today without his guidance."

With their help, Rodriguez was able to continue booking the types of action roles with which he is associated. He had a recurring role in the British series "Bounty Hunters" starring Rosie Perez and Jack Whitehall, and also played a doorman in two episodes of "The Purge."

Starting in 2018, Rodriguez began playing the role of Tomas, a menacing figure in the Mexican drug cartel, on three episodes of "Ozark." The actor has a sense of humor about his dark part on the show. In a behind-the-scenes Instagram post, Rodriguez wrote, "Real homies let you waterboard them and strike a pose after." The photo was accompanied, naturally, with a crying-laughing emoji and a fitting hashtag: #DontTryThisAtHome.

Rodriguez fought Johnny Lawrence on Cobra Kai

Gabriel "G-Rod" Rodriguez's credits include a healthy balance of action-packed procedurals and prestige TV. In 2020 alone, the actor appeared in "Chicago Fire" and "Better Call Saul." At the end of the day, most of his on-camera work is linked by his predilection toward action. "I'm an action actor," Rodriguez told WSVN. "That has a true appeal for me, a true gratifying nature for me...I think in this day and age, we've come to appreciate the action in films a whole lot more because [those sequences are] so well shot."

To that end, Rodriguez employed his action chops in two episodes of "The Equalizer" in 2021, where he went toe to toe with series star Queen Latifah. "Physically, she brought it," Rodriguez said of the combat scenes. "She brought it." However, Rodriguez seems to have enjoyed the fight scenes on "Cobra Kai" even more. 

On that latter show, Rodriguez appeared as Juan, a barfly who gets in a fight with Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). Said Rodriguez of the experience, "I'm getting the opportunity to beat down on the bully from 'The Karate Kid' days."

Rodriguez's resume is replete with those kinds of action sequences, both in his work as an actor and a stuntman. His stunt credits include "Stranger Things," "Barry," and "The Suicide Squad."