Why Connie Rubirosa From Law & Order Looks So Familiar

Counting its current revival series on NBC, the network's iconic legal drama "Law & Order" has been on the air for a whopping 21 seasons. It's also served as ground zero for a small-screen franchise that's sent seven additional series to the small screen, one of which ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) is now the longest-running live-action series in history. Legacy aside, during its initial primetime run "Law & Order," and its examination of the justice system from street-level beginnings to courtroom endings, proved one of the most daringly original programs on television. 

Of course, over its initial 20-season run, stars too numerous to count came and went in the "Law & Order" cast. While some of the final season characters have returned for the revival, it seems one we're not likely to see is Assistant District Attorney Connie Rubirosa, who played second-chair to fan-favorite DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) over much of the last four seasons of "Law & Order." The character's 85-episode run made the actor who portrayed Rubirosa the longest-tenured second-chair ADA in series history. And if you feel like you've seen the actor somewhere else when you're watching "Law & Order" reruns, it's because you likely have. Here's why Connie Rubirosa from "Law & Order" looks so familiar.   

Alana de la Garza played a tragic romantic figure on CSI: Miami

Said actor's name is Alana de la Garza, and it should be noted first and foremost that if you do recognize her, it may be because she reprised the role of Connie Rubirosa on both "Law & Order: LA" and "Special Victims Unit." While the role of Rubirosa remains one of the biggest of de la Garza's career, it doesn't quite count as her breakout role. Rather, that came about a year prior to the actor's first appearance on "Law & Order." And it came on another hit procedural in "CSI: Miami." 

De la Garza made her "CSI: Miami" debut during the show's 4th season, doing so as Marisol Delko, the cancer-stricken big sister of the CSI team's Eric Delko (Adam Rodriguez). Over subsequent episodes, Marisol's role would expand as she began a whirlwind romantic relationship with CSI big boss Horatio Caine (David Caruso). Though the pair eventually tied the knot late in the season, de la Garza's "CSI: Miami" tenure was still on the brief side. That's because Marisol was tragically gunned down by a sniper in the season's penultimate episode. Judging by Marisol's surprise appearance in the 2011 "CSI: Miami" series finale, it seems poor Horatio never quite got over the loss. And we're betting "CSI: Miami" fans didn't either. 

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders found de la Garza catching killers all over the globe

Turns out, "Law & Order: LA" and "CSI: Miami" weren't the last time Alana de la Garza turned up in small-screen spinoff series. While the actor's run on the "Criminal Minds" offshoot "Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders" lasted longer than her prior spinoff stints, the series still only managed to air 26 episodes before getting the proverbial ax at CBS. 

Co-starring Gary Sinise, "Beyond Borders" found de la Garza portraying SSA Clara Seager, a member of the FBI's International Response Team, which investigates crimes committed against Americans on foreign soil. After making their debut via a crossover episode with the O.G. "Criminal Minds" crew, the globe-trotting "Beyond Borders" spinoff hit primetime in the fall of 2016. Unfortunately, it was summarily dismissed by both viewers and critics (per Rotten Tomatoes), some of whom — including The A.V. Club's Pilot Viruet — found the series not only unoriginal but inherently xenophobic.

Criticisms aside, "Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders" was an intriguing, if obviously flawed attempt to expand the bleak and bracing, but often thrilling world of FBI profiling divisions the original series first introduced viewers to. And yes, Alana de la Garza was frequently the best part of the show.

De la Garza has become a major player in CBS' FBI universe

After the unfortunate misfire that was "Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders," Alana de la Garza didn't stay down for long. And just a couple of years after that show ended, she landed a key role on another small-screen procedural hit, "FBI." Fittingly, it was de la Garza's old "Law & Order" boss Dick Wolf who helped her get cast on "FBI," which he co-created with Craig Turk. For those unfamiliar with Wolf's latest hit, "FBI" follows Special Agents Maggie Bell (Missy Peregrym) and Omar Adom "OA" Zidan (Zeeko Zaki) as they utilize all the brains and tech the bureau's New York offices can muster to bring down baddies and keep the country safe.

De la Garza joined the cast of "FBI" during its 1st season, making several appearances as Special Agent in Charge Isobel Castille. As Season 2 began, Castille took over operations in the FBI's New York offices and has remained in charge ever since. With "FBI" now well into its 4th season on the air, De La Garza has become a legitimate anchor for the original "FBI" series, and has even made crossover appearances on "FBI: Most Wanted," and "FBI: International." And given the ongoing popularity of the flagship "FBI" series, it's safe to assume she'll continue playing SAC Castille for the foreseeable future