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Why Gaff From Breaking Bad Looks So Familiar

Despite reaching its conclusion back in 2013, "Breaking Bad" is still regarded as one of the best TV shows of all time, with an average audience rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. It honestly had it all: family drama, criminal intrigue, and action-packed sequences, but above all, it was an immaculately written character drama. Walter White's dark evolution from an underachieving high school chemistry teacher into a ruthless, murderous meth kingpin will go down in history as one of the most captivating antihero stories, right alongside Tony Soprano's journey of self-discovery or power-hungry Frank Underwood's ascent to the Office of the President of the United States. 

At the time of the series finale release, "Breaking Bad's" popularity led to the creation of "Better Call Saul," one of the few TV spin-offs that managed to retain the original's quality level while developing its unique personality. Even when it was still airing, the show's high profile attracted plenty of recognizable celebrities to take up minor roles. This was the case with comedian Bill Burr, who admitted to being a massive "Breaking Bad" fan (via GQ). Another actor you might recognize from other roles is Maurice Compte, who appeared in just four episodes of "Breaking Bad" as Gaff, one of the cartel's gunmen. Before "Breaking Bad," he was cast in several popular films and series, and the show's popularity allowed him to take up significant roles in the years after Walter White's story ended. 

He appeared in a few episodes of 24 as Cole

Although Maurice Compte has acted in several movies and TV series before, his appearance in "24" was the one that introduced him to a larger audience. The part of Cole in Season 2 of Fox's action-packed show was also the first role that Compte reprised for more than one episode. In it, he played a distressed Los Angeles resident who was part of a group that led the racist backlash against the Arab American community after the detonation of a nuclear bomb towards the end of Season 2. 

During the time of its airing, "24" frequently received criticism for its frequent stereotypical portrayal of Muslims as terrorists. During the airing of Season 4, Fox even resorted to screening commercials portraying Muslims in a more positive light in an attempt to counter Islamophobia that might arise as a result of the show's contents (via The Guardian). The Season 2 plotline, with Compte at the center as Cole, was one of the few instances where the show addressed this issue. His performance as a guest cast member of "24" introduced the actor to a broader audience, thus helping him secure different roles in police procedural and crime series.

Compte was a regular guest star in a number of police procedural shows

After his brief stint on "24" and before getting cast as Gaff in "Breaking Bad," Maurice Compte frequently appeared in a variety of popular crime and police procedural series, including "CSI: Miami," "CSI: NY," and part of the "NCIS" universe, "NCIS: Los Angeles." In each of these shows, his roles were limited to minor characters who either carried little relevance to the plot of the episode or died within minutes of appearing on-screen. 

The one exception to this was his portrayal of Officer Rodrigo Morales in Season 3 of "Southland," where Compte had more of a substantial role as the love interest of Detective Lydia Adams, played by Regina King. The relationship was particularly complicated since Officer Morales turned out to be Detective Adams' partner's (played by Jenny Gago) son. King stated that she looked forward to exploring how her affair with Compte's character affected the detective duo's dynamic (via DigitalSpy). However, that subplot played out with Compte out of the picture, as he only appeared in the two final episodes of Season 3. 

He played Horacio Carrillo on Narcos

Shortly after appearing on "Breaking Bad," Maurice Compte landed his first significant TV role, playing Colonel Horacio Carrillo on "Narcos." The Colonel was one of the most important Colombian police officers who led the Pablo Escobar hunt. The actor played him for 12 episodes, starting with Season 1, Episode 1, until Carrillo's death in Season 2, Episode 4. It was one of the few instances where Compte played a character with a clear moral compass rather than a thug or a crooked cop. As his first big acting gig, the performance in "Narcos" elevated Compte's career to new heights. 

When reflecting on his role in "Narcos," Compte appreciated Carrillo's character and impeccable dedication to sticking to the rules. "In most American movies ... the character with all the integrity is American. So it's kind of a jump to show a character with the same amount of integrity and love for his country being portrayed by a person from a different country," he said in a 2015 interview with Latino Rebels

Compte took on the role of a DEA agent on Mayans M.C.

His portrayal of Horacio Carillo proved that Maurice Compte has a knack for playing tough-as-nails law enforcement officials. Not long after he departed from the hit Netflix series, the actor landed the role of Kevin Jimenez on "Mayans M.C.," the long-awaited spin-off of the award-winning "Sons of Anarchy." Jimenez was an obsessive agent, hell-bent on taking down the Galindo Cartel, a criminal organization central to the Season 1 plot of the show. Compte played Kevin Jimenez in 10 episodes of "Mayans M.C.," with his final appearance in the Season 1 finale, where the character met his demise at the hands of Angel Reyes, a leading member of the titular club. 

Around the time of "Mayans M.C." release, the show was picking up some criticism about its alleged perpetuation of negative Latino stereotypes, considering that it had a majority Latino cast and revolved around organized crime. In an interview with Remezcla, Compte rebuked the critics, offering his perspective on the issue: "There's negative stereotypes in every race ... I think we're out to show the diversity that exists, which is no different than any other culture. Nobody would've asked that question about the Sons of Anarchy themselves." 

He played Benny 'Borracho' Magalon in Den of Thieves

In 2018, the same year that "Mayans M.C." premiered on FX, Maurice Compte appeared alongside stars like Gerard Butler and 50 Cent in "Den of Thieves," a heist movie that aimed to emulate some of the past genre classics. It fell short of its aspirations — the film hasn't impressed critics, while audiences appreciated its action sequences, cast, and twist ending. (via Rotten Tomatoes). 

In "Den of Thieves," Compte played Benny "Borracho" Magalon, a Major Crimes Unit detective at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, one of the policemen tasked with capturing the titular thieves. Compte loved the fact that "Den of Thieves" operated within a gray moral area: "I think this film paints an amazing picture and shows that there are no good guys or bad guys. There are just choices and perspectives on things" (via Remezcla). As an actor who spent the majority of his career switching between playing cops and criminals, it seems only fitting for "Den of Thieves" to be Compte's first impactful silver screen role.