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Joe Cruz's Worst Storyline On Chicago Fire

In NBC's "Chicago Fire," Joe Cruz is portrayed by Joe Minoso, who has played the role since the pilot episode debuted back in 2012. His character is one of the many proud, hard-working first responders at Chicago's fictional Firehouse 51. And he's not just one of the show's most beloved characters; he's very active on social media letting his fans know that he loves them right back.

Cruz has been through a lot during his 11 seasons on the show. He's risked his life several times trying to keep his coworkers and the city of Chicago safe. He's been in and out of love more than once. His compassion for others led him to adopt Javi. And he's also pretty good at Zumba! But even the most compelling characters can get caught up in a bad storyline, especially in a show that has been on the air as long as "Chicago Fire" has. In fact, there's one storyline in particular that viewers still have an issue with.

He let a gangster die in a fire (and it didn't sit well with some fans)

Cruz went through a long and emotionally tortured story arc during Season 1 that involved him, his brother Leon (Jeff Lima), and a gangster named Flaco (José Antonio García). Cruz was desperate to free his brother from Flaco and the violent street gang he runs. But Flaco wouldn't let him leave, and even tried to extort Cruz for $10,000 in exchange for his brother's freedom. In a cruel twist of fate, Cruz was called out to a building fire, where he found Flaco alive among the burning wreckage. Instead of saving him, he left him to die, lied to the other firefighters and said the building is all clear once he was outside. Although Flaco's death liberated his brother from the gang, Cruz is racked so hard with guilt that he nearly threw his life away. But his fellow firefighters' compassionate forgiveness inspired him to keep going.

This storyline is one of the main reasons smores33 created a whole Reddit thread asking for feedback from other fans, with many agreeing that they also found his character unlikeable. In a separate thread, a commenter added that they "don't hate Cruz but...can't forget that he's a murderer" and that "Flaco was a disgusting human being but Cruz let him die. We shouldn't forget that." Another Redditor pointed out that yes, what Cruz did in that building could have landed him a 2nd-degree murder charge. For better or worse, though, everything worked out in his favor.