Pilot Season Updates: A lot of Latinos in a lot of roles

We’re always a little reluctant to get too excited about pilots. Though it’s an important giant step to get a show this far down the development road, the sad fact is most pilots never make the next and last leap and become an actual TV series. Still, it’s encouraging to see Latinos being cast regularly and frequently in greenlighted pilots up and down the dial. We’ve already covered the wide assortment of Latinas who are part of Mark Cherry’s new pilot, Devious Maids, Jay Hernandez on the CBS drama Trooper, and JoAnna Garcia joining a CBS romcom/sitcom pilot, now–charmingly–titles, Oh, F—, It’s You. But there’s more. For instance…

Rick Gonzalez is a young Latino character actor who’s been on the radar since his role as a tough street kid in the 2005 feature Coach Carter; he made another impression just months later when the Tom Cruise version of War of the Worlds hit the screen. Since then he’s made horror and adventure films (Pulse, In the Valley of Elah, Flying Lessons), made the rounds of a widerange of hour-long episodics, from Castle to Cold Case to The Closer to Bones, and showed his comedic skills in the underappreciated CW series Reaper. He even portrayed Jesus in a recent Lady Gaga video. Now the Dominican/Puerto Rican actor is joining the pilot called Bad Girls, the American version of a popular British series, playing a ‘popular’ prison guard. But not your normal prison guard–your tattoo’d ex-gang-banger prison guard who seems to be the, ah, focus, of many of the eponymous “bad girls”–the inmates (and staff) of an infamous woman’s prison. Sounds like tough duty for Rick.

Meanwhile, Alana de la Garza, who played an attorney on Law & Order and then again on Law & Order: LA (and who did a quick arc on CSI: Miami), is turning in her power suit for a white coat. Glimpsed just a few weeks ago in what looked like a backdoor pilot in NCIS: Los Angeles, playing a brilliant neurosurgeon in Do No Harm, a medical-thriller series starring Rescue Me’s Steven Pasquale. (Steven’s character seems to have a little problem to deal with: a murderous split personality.)

John Leguizamo, who clearly isn’t busy enough with his current tour of Ghetto Klown and an active movie career, is making a pilot, too: Only Fools and Horses, about two streetwise brothers and their aging grandfather as they concoct outrageous, morally questionable get-rich-quick schemes in their quest to become millionaires. ABC has asked for the pilot.

Tough girl Natalie Martinez has already jumped from the apparently doomed show Detroit 1-8-7, even before it’s premiered, to co-star in another CBS project, The Widow Detective, a kind of half-cop drama/half family drama.

The lovely young Latina Rosa Salazar, from American Horror Story and Parenthood, is slated to co-star in Little Brother, the John Stamos sitcom about a man that finds out that he has a half-brother he never knew about, who also happens to be an ex-con.

Monica Raymund, from Lie to Me to Blue Bloods to The Good Wife, has proven herself to be a talented young actress. Now she’s part of a Universal TV pilot called Chicago Fire, a drama about–no surprise–the Chicago Fire Department. Fox was the net that ordered it up.

One of our favorite Latina actresses, Aimee Garcia (Go For It, Off the Map, and the most recent season of Dexter) is part of County, an hour-long drama pilot for NBC that follows the lives of doctors and nurses at an under-funded, morally challenged county hospital in Los Angeles. (Hey, isn’t that kind of a West Coast version of St. Elsewhere?)

…and there are still many roles in many pilots that have yet to be cast, so watch this space for even more. Still, good to see so much Latino involvement in front of the camera, even this early in the pilot season.