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What Lou Diamond Phillips Has Been Up To Since Longmire

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Unusual and gripping, "Longmire" gave viewers six strong seasons of Wyoming crime drama. With a Western-style sense of place and characters we loved to check in with every week, "Longmire" was a treat. The show wrapped in 2017, scattering a great cast to the winds. Where did they all go afterwards?

We've answered that question before, following up on the post-"Longmire" careers of actors like Bailey Chase and Cassidy Freeman. But we have a particular favorite we've never covered until now: Lou Diamond Phillips, who played Henry Standing Bear, Walt's best friend — and a complex, multifaceted character in his own right. Henry will probably always be one of Phillips' signature roles, but that doesn't mean his work after "Longmire" doesn't have its own highlights — even if it may take "Longmire" fans a moment to get used to hearing Phillips use contractions.

If you lost track of Phillips after "Longmire" ended, we've tallied up some of the best ways to catch up with him. And we'll add one more: Phillips said in a UPI interview that he's still interested in appearing in any prospective "Longmire" revival movies. He even points out that Craig Johnson's original book series has plenty of plots that the show never used. We hope a network takes him up on this.

Lou Diamond Phillips is still one of TV's favorite guest stars

Even when Lou Diamond Phillips didn't have a regular TV series, he was still a familiar face on TV, turning up regularly in prominent guest star spots in about every genre we can think of. That hasn't changed since "Longmire" wrapped. Phillips has turned up on crime procedurals like "Criminal Minds," "NCIS: New Orleans," "Blindspot," and "Blue Bloods," with the "Blue Bloods" part standing out as a juicy recurring role.

And, notably, it's only a recurring role because of Phillips: He was too good for the show to let him go after only one episode. As "Blue Bloods" star Donnie Wahlberg explained in an interview with Pop Culture, Phillips' character Louis Delgado was originally slated to die in his first episode. But Wahlberg — and everyone else on set — loved working with Phillips too much for that to happen. He told Pop Culture, "It's just rare you get to work with somebody you click with so well and they're amazing at what they do. I feel like he makes me a better actor and he makes our show a better show."

Phillips' part on "Blue Bloods" was accordingly expanded, and his character wound up having a rich, complex connection with Wahlberg's Danny Reagan.

He's been doing more voice work than ever

Lou Diamond Phillips has a distinctive voice, and lately he's been putting it to good use. Since the "Longmire" finale in 2017, Phillips has more than doubled the amount of voice acting on his resume. On Disney's "The Lion Guard," a "Lion King" spinoff series, he provided the voice for Surak; he also had a recurring role on the children's show "Elena of Avalor" and did a guest spot on "Family Guy."

This is an intriguing new direction for Phillips, and it's one that makes a lot of sense: He's always worked hard to make sure his career was as multifaceted as possible. In an interview with UPI, he said, "I literally trace [this versatility] back to my theater days, which started in high school and then with my degree from the University of Texas in Arlington. I did everything."

Notably, voice acting is also an easy way for him to make appearances on children's shows like "Elena of Avalor." He told Yahoo Finance that, as a father, he really appreciates the effort to provide more diverse children's programming. Pitching in doesn't just give him a good job — it gives him a chance to contribute to a cause he respects.

He was a series regular on 'Prodigal Son'

After "Longmire," if you wanted your regular Lou Diamond Phillips fix, your best bet was the 2019-2020 crime show "Prodigal Son," where he played NYPD Lieutenant Gil Arroyo. Warm and level-headed, Arroyo is a kind of natural successor to Henry Standing Bear. Phillips told UPI, "The integrity and the moral compass of Gil Arroyo is very much like that of Henry ... but one is a very rural guy, a Native American, and the other one is an urban Filipino, so it's nice to have that latitude." The role is similar enough that "Longmire" fans should check the show out, but still different enough to be a change of pace for Phillips. He likes to keep things fresh.

"Prodigal Son" is a dark, "bonkers" (to use Phillips' own word for it) crime drama about an investigator whose own father was a serial killer. The cases of the week can delve into some extreme territory, but cast chemistry and sympathetic characters keep it grounded. While the show was unfortunately canceled after its second season, two seasons of Gil Arroyo are definitely better than none.

He's done some work behind the camera

While Lou Diamond Phillips actually did a little directing before "Longmire" — he helmed the indie movie "Tao of Surfing" and an episode of the 2002 "Twilight Zone" reboot, among others — "Longmire" opened the door for him to do even more. When he directed Season 6's "Fever," he clearly caught the directing bug.

It's not that unusual for actors to get the chance to direct an episode on their own shows, but Phillips really took the ball and ran with it. He didn't just take the reins on "Longmire" and "Prodigal Son," where he was a series regular — he also directed an episode of "Fear the Walking Dead" and one of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." It's probably easier, he admitted in an interview with Nerds and Beyond, to keep his directing and acting separate: "I've often gotten so caught up in watching my other actors during a scene that I forget my own lines. That's why we have multiple takes!"

We can look forward to seeing more of this side of Phillips' career, as he told Nerds and Beyond, "I absolutely love directing and consider it to be simply yet another branch of my creative tree. ... I truly enjoy working with the other artists (cinematographers, production designers, stunt coordinators, every crew member really) to take great ideas and actualize them." Thus far, the results have been impressive, and we're eager to stay tuned.

He wrote a highly praised sci-fi novel

"Longmire" fans who miss Lou Diamond Phillips can also look for him in a surprising place: the bookstore. In October 2020, he published the young adult science fiction novel "The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira."

Phillips told Nerds and Beyond that the story stemmed from the manga-style concept art his wife had done for a prospective graphic novel, one that would started with Hans Christian Andersen's "The Tinderbox" and "shifted [it] from the original European setting of the story to a more Japanese feudal feel, [evoking] a real post-apocalyptic, almost otherworldly scenario." Phillips started the project off as a screenplay and "reverse-engineered" the story into a novel, a project that took 10 years. He told UPI that 2020 lockdowns for COVID-19 gave him the time he needed to buckle down and finish.

And the results are impressive. The Nerd Daily said, "Phillips has skillfully woven together a fantastical story with realistic touchstones .... The plot is driving, the characters are memorable, and the writing is satisfying. Enhanced by the striking drawings, Phillips has built a world here which readers will undoubtedly wish to visit again." They might be in luck: Phillips confirmed with UPI that a second book is already in the works. With some novel-writing experience now under his belt, we're betting readers won't have to wait 10 years for this next one.