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This Is Why 9-1-1: Lone Star's Tommy Vega Looks So Familiar

"9-1-1" is a procedural television series created by brilliant TV mind Ryan Murphy (creator of "Glee," "American Horror Story," and "Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story"). It follows the lives and careers of Los Angeles first responders Athena Grant-Nash (Angela Bassett), an LAPD sergeant, Bobby Nash (Peter Krause), an LAFD captain, and more police, firefighters, EMTs, and dispatch. It also stars Connie Britton and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

After three seasons of "9-1-1," Murphy and company created a spin-off in Austin, Texas, called "9-1-1: Lone Star." The new series premiered in 2020 and follows the lives of Owen Strand (Rob Lowe) and his son, TK (Ronen Rubinstein), as they relocate from Manhattan to Austin to keep TK clean from his opioid addiction. Also appearing in the series are Liv Tyler ("Armageddon," "Lord of the Rings") and Jim Parrack ("True Blood," "Suicide Squad").

Tommy Vega is one of the strongest and most compelling characters in the Texas-based spin-off. She is a capable mother of two who returns to work as an EMT captain in Station 126 after her husband's restaurant is forced to close due to COVID. In her search for a new EMT at the station, she recruits TK, giving him a fresh start. The character is the heart of the EMT team and remains the rock, even in the face of her husband's death. She is played by an actress that is no stranger to strong females. If you think you have seen her before, it is because she has been portraying capable women on screen for nearly thirty years. Here is where you have seen her before.

Gina Torres played Nebula in Hercules The Legendary Journey

The mid-90s saw the emergence of two of the most popular cult shows of the decade when "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," starring Kevin Sorbo, and its spin-off "Xena: Warrior Princess," starring Lucy Lawless, took viewers back to the times of Ancient Greece, gods, and monsters. Every week, the two series showcased their titular heroes battling as they saved rustic villagers who couldn't protect themselves.

Gina Torres appears in both series, most prominently for nine episodes in "Hercules" as Nebula, a pirate queen. She first meets the Greek demigod when she and her crew go to a deserted island to bury their treasure, only to meet a half-woman, half-spider creature that kills her entire crew. She eventually falls for Iolaus (Michael Hurst), who sacrifices himself for her, sparking her to travel to the underworld to restore him to the living. While there, she is turned into a zombie briefly before returning to health, sitting as the queen of Sumeria and fighting for women's rights. Torres also appeared on "Xena" as Cleopatra in one episode.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Torres talks about the convenient happenstance that got her on both shows. "'Hercules' and 'Xena' came along at a perfect time in my life," she says. "Travel is something I love to do, so the opportunity to get on a plane and travel halfway around the world to this beautiful country, New Zealand, and explore that culture." She goes on to talk about shooting both shows. "When I got the call that I got cast to be Nebula, they were also writing a script on 'Xena' for Cleopatra. The producers felt 'she is already in town, she may as well do both.'"

Gina Torres played Cas in The Matrix sequels

"The Matrix" changed the world when it was released in 1999, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburn, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Hugo Weaving. The special effects development of "bullet time" (slowing down the bullet's travel so characters could dodge them) is a scene that has been spoofed and built upon for the last two decades. In addition to the time-bending movements of bullet-dodging were the gravity-defying stunts and wire-assisted kung fu that made the sci-fi film a runaway hit and sparked three feature sequels, an animated short, and video games. Even today, the phrase "red-pilled" refers to the film's meaning of learning the truth when Neo (Reeves) chooses the red pill to exit the matrix into the real world.

Gina Torres appears in the two immediate sequels as Cas, the widow of Dozer. Dozer was the pilot of The Nebuchadnezzar, the ship that carries Neo, Trinity (Moss), and Morpheus (Fishburn). She was born in the real world and still lives in the human city of Zion, where she raises the children left behind by her late husband. In an interview with the YouTube channel NeoMatrixology, Torres talks about missing out on one role before landing the role of Cas.

"I didn't audition as Cas. I auditioned for the role of Nairobi. There was a moment when it was down to Jada and I, and we all know how that turned out. They were impressed enough with me at the time that they wanted to put me in the movie, so I became Cas." She goes on to reveal that she did get to portray Nairobi later in a tie-in PC game chronicling the adventures of the impetuous captain.

She was Malcolm Reynolds' number 2 in Firefly

There are some series that don't land when airing that pickup life after cancelation. The unfortunate category of being canceled too soon is never one a series wants to be in. One series that only had one season that, to this day, is still beloved by its fans twenty years later is "Firefly." The story follows a ragtag group of misfits as they hurtle through space and do odd jobs (maybe they're pirates or good guys, depending on perspective).

The cast sees a young and up-and-coming Nathan Fillion destined to anchor series like "Castle" and "The Rookie." Malcolm Reynolds comes across as a light-hearted Han Solo in a space western (it was "The Mandalorian" before "The Mandalorian" was "The Mandalorian"). Also appearing in the series is Alan Tudyk ("Rogue One," "I, Robot"), Morena Baccarin ("Deadpool," "Gotham"), Adam Baldwin ("Chuck," "Independence Day"), and Summer Glau ("Arrow," "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"). Gina Torres appeared as the other half of the command on the ship. While Malcolm Reynolds was light-hearted and mischievous, Torres' Zoe was the strong, grounded second in command. She always kept everyone in line and on task, including the flighty captain.

Torres spoke about her time on the series in an interview with Collider. She talks about how the cast remains close like a family and how the show continued with fans. "You never imagine that once you get canceled, it will have a life beyond that. And we did," she said. "We just keep cheating father time."

She was a murderous wife in 24

"24" was one of the most popular shows of the new century when it premiered in 2001. Kiefer Sutherland led a cast portraying a unit within the CIA that worked daily to stop all terrorist threats in and around Los Angeles. Throughout the nine-season run, the Counter Terrorist Unit, sometimes led by and other times subverted by Jack Bauer (Sutherland), saw a multitude of threats ranging from assassinating politicians, nuclear bombs, nerve gases, and viruses. Luckily for Tinsel Town, Jack Bauer never failed in his mission to keep the city safe.

The series wasn't all action-packed anti-terrorist bullets and bombs; woven into the storylines were character studies of those who would stop at nothing to gain power. Politics and private life scandals became the norm for every season. By Day 3 (Season 3), Gina Torres landed a role as Julia Milliken. If you think that fighting terrorism and leading a team of operatives is right up Torres' alley, you would be correct, but her role in "24" showed that she had more depth than her usual alpha female roles. Julia was the wife of a mogul who held sway over President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert). And when he discovered his wife was sleeping with the President's brother, he demanded he be fired.

In a desperate moment, Julia is convinced by Sherry Palmer (Penny Johnson Jerald), ex-wife to the President and secondary villain in the first three seasons, not to assist her husband when he has a heart attack. After he dies, Sherry leaves Julia to take the blame, and in an emotional moment, Julia ends both Sherry's life and her own. She was only in a few episodes of the series, but she changed the face of the show forever.

She was an ill-wife in Hannibal

When you list the most dastardly villains, those that can scare you just by hearing their name, somewhere near the top is Hannibal Lecter. Appearing in the Oscar-winning "Silence of the Lambs" and its sequels, Anthony Hopkins' performance of the cannibalistic serial killer is the stuff of legends. Nobody could ever top it. That is, except for maybe Mads Mikkelsen. He signed on to portray Hannibal the Cannibal in the prequel series, "Hannibal." The series follows Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) as he assists the F.B.I. in finding serial killers. Lecter serves as both psychiatrist and consultant, playing cat and mouse with the law while he conducts his horrors behind the scenes.

Of course, Graham has to have a boss, and the legendary Laurence Fishburne plays that as Jack Crawford. Crawford takes a liking to Lecter and values his ability to keep Graham at an operational level so he can clear cases. Arm in arm with Crawford is his wife, Bella, played by Torres. While Bella only appears in five episodes, her bout with lung cancer added emotion to a series exploring the darkness of humanity. Bella reminded Crawford of the light.

In an interview with Collider, Torres spoke about working with her real-life husband, Fishburne. "It was a great experience. It was wonderful. We work very well together, and we enjoyed each other's company. We have a nice, healthy, wonderful working relationship, and then we get to go home and talk about it a little bit. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I love my husband. I think he's brilliant and a genius. As an actress, to work with that caliber of actor is always a thrill. It can only make you better."

She kept Harvey Specter in line in Suits

There are TV series about courtroom law on virtually every channel and streaming service you can think of, from "Boston Legal" to "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law." One of the most popular in the last decade is the USA series, "Suits." The series follows Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a genius underachiever who takes LSATs for money. When he stumbles into an interview for a big corporate law firm in New York, he pretends to be an attorney and lands a job. Under the tutelage of Harvey Spector (Gabriel Macht), he finds an aspiration he never knew he had; if only he could keep his secret.

Gina Torres appears in the series as Jessica Pearson, the firm's managing partner. While Harvey is the firm's big hitter and always gets the job done, Jessica is the powerhouse. She taught Harvey all he knows and is virtually the only person in the entire series that can shut Harvey's mouth and humble him, which she often needs to do. Torres plays the character exactly as she is supposed to be; a black woman running the most powerful law firm in the city has nothing but enemies, but Torres seems to be the only one tough enough to take them on.

She reprised the role in a spin-off, "Pearson," and spoke to Collider about the experience and the character. "Jessica really is a shark, in that sense of the word. She's gotta keep moving. She's gotta cut through the water and see what's out there. I think that excites her and keeps her going. That keeps her energized. She loves a challenge, and she excels at finding her way out from behind the eight ball. She might not always like it, but she gets there."