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Why Jamie Lovato From CSI: NY Looks So Familiar

When "CSI" hit televisions in 2000, the series set the bar for network procedural crime dramas to follow. Not only did the show prove itself as a solid hit among fans, but its intriguing look into the world of forensic science even affected real-life criminal investigations. "CSI" had an impressive tenure on television with 16 seasons, as well as a rebooted return with "CSI: Vegas." Yet, the success of the "CSI" franchise isn't, of course, just limited to the main series, as "CSI" also spawned memorable spin-offs, including the binge-worthy "CSI: NY."

Trading in Sin City for the Big Apple, "CSI: NY" premiered in 2004. It focuses on the investigations from the NYPD Crime Lab headed by Director Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise). "CSI: NY" has a memorable cast, but one of the standouts is late addition NYPD Detective Jamie Lovato. Introduced in the last season of "CSI: NY," the detective transfers to the homicide division from narcotics after her undercover role in a case is blown. Quickly showing off her wits and how tough she is through her brief appearance in the final season, it doesn't take long for Detective Lovato to make quite an impact on the team. 

Lovato is portrayed by actress Natalie Martinez, who is probably a familiar face to many fans. With notable work that includes roles in music videos, films, and other TV series, let's delve into where else fans may have also seen Martinez.

Martinez started her career in music videos and soaps

Before her start in TV and film, Martinez could be spotted catching the eyes of some of the biggest pop stars in a few music videos. In 2003, she appeared in the music video for Justin Timberlake's song "Señorita." The music video features Timberlake along with Chad Hugo and Pharrell of The Neptunes in a cozy saloon. Timberlake sings in front of a small audience before Martinez walks in and grabs the pop star's attention in one of the early scenes. Martinez then traded in a saloon appearance for getting lost in the desert in the 2005 music video "We Be Burnin'" from artist Sean Paul. In the music video, she and a friend appear distressed as their overheated Hummer strands them in an unknown desert location.

While Martinez showed she could command our attention in music videos, she would get the chance to show off her acting chops thanks to some significant roles in two soap operas. In 2006, she appeared in "Fashion House," a series that places a dramatic lens on corporate greed and betrayal. Costarring Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild, Martinez plays Michelle Miller, a budding designer caught in an extreme web of deceit and love that would probably put "Days Of Our Lives" to shame. For instance, Michelle's life even becomes threatened by a mob boss at one point in the series. The "Fashion House" shooting schedule was also intense, as Martinez noted in an interview with Maxim that the series "shot 65 episodes in 65 days." The following year, Martinez also appeared in the "Romeo and Juliet"-influenced telenovela, "Saints & Sinners." She plays Pilar Martin, the religious sister of the main character, Roman Martin (Scott Bailey).

Martinez navigates in Death Race

After making her debut through music videos and TV, in 2008, Martinez starred in her first major film, "Death Race." The film is a loose remake of the 1975 film "Death Race 2000" and centers on prison inmates forced to compete in an action-packed and massively destructive vehicle race to the finish line. Martinez stars as Case, the navigator for a driver named Frankenstein (Niles York). With the promise of her prison release looming in front of her, Case is forced to sabotage Frankenstein's vehicle. This, in turn, has her join forces with a second driver to take up the Frankenstein moniker named Jensen Garner Ames, who Jason Statham plays.

Martinez successfully makes audiences empathetic to her character, Case, despite her initial betrayal in the film. Fans can't help but rally behind her due to Case's tragic backstory and her essential team up with Jensen. Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, "Death Race" received a mixed critical response, earning a 42% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but it did manage to earn an overall box office draw of approximately $76 million (via Box Office Mojo). The film spawned three sequels, and "Death Race" also includes one of the most paused Statham film moments. It's not every day we get to see a scene where some vehicular monstrosity called the Dreadnought goes up in a glorious crash.

Martinez's first detective role was in Detroit 1-8-7

Martinez's role as a detective in "CSI: NY" comes off as convincing to fans, and that's probably because this particular role isn't her first time with an onscreen badge or dealing with homicide investigations. Before "CSI: NY," in 2010, Martinez starred in one of her first major network TV roles as Detective Ariana Sanchez in ABC's "Detroit 1-8-7." Martinez's character Sanchez is a lifelong resident of Detroit who investigates some grizzly murder cases while working for the Detroit Police Department's homicide division.

When it premiered, "Detroit 1-8-7" showed a lot of promise as a procedural crime drama contender. The series features a solid cast, which includes "The Sopranos" star Michael Imperioli in the lead role as Detective Louis Fitch. Reviews from publications like The New York Times gave the show credit for its throwback feel to other hardboiled detective-focused crime shows like "Dragnet." Unfortunately, the series didn't last beyond its initial season, as ABC canceled it after 18 episodes (via TV By The Numbers). Martinez, of course, followed up the "Detroit 1-8-7" cop role with "CSI: NY," but even after the "CSI" spin-off, the actress still held on to the badge. After "CSI: NY," her next part was Deputy Linda Esquivel in "Under The Dome."

Martinez explores the parallel lives of her character in Ordinary Joe

Martinez kept busy after "CSI: NY," thanks to a string of leading television series roles. In 2015, she appeared as MMA fighter Alicia Mendez in "Kingdom," but she quickly returned to the procedural crime drama world in Fox's "APB" as Chicago Police Detective Theresa Murphy. Still, some of her recent roles see Martinez willing to take more exciting turns. In 2019, she starred in the Netflix sci-fi limited series "The I-Land" alongside Kate Bosworth. In "The I-Land," she portrays Chase, one woman out of a group of 10 with no memory of who they are or how they got to a mysterious island.

In 2021, Martinez probably challenged herself the most, as she expertly acts as three different versions of the same character. She stars in NBC's "Ordinary Joe" as the character Amy Kindelán, the romantic interest of Joe Kimbreau (James Wolk). The series' title disguises its extraordinary premise, as it focuses on looking at three different potential lives of the same characters, concurrently. For instance, Amy is working under a politician in one life, launching her own political career in another, and married to a chef instead of Joe in yet another. 

As Martinez noted in an interview with LRM Online, she tried to focus more on the subtle differences of the three versions, saying, "You know, I hope that I found something in there, because I definitely tried to just create these little nuances in the same sense, where ... [with] certain things she's a little more nervous, somethings she's a little more secure. You know, that kind of stuff is what we play around with."