If you were to look up the definition of "underused" in the Big Dictionary of Hollywood, you'd find a picture there‘«Űa stone-faced Latino with black, penetrating eyes and a poorly concealed air of danger. That would be Raymond Cruz, and as his long-lasting TV cop-show "The Closer" ends, and the program itself transforms into a spin-off called "Major Crimes" it's worth taking a look at this tremendously powerful actor. Along with a host of other quietly brilliant long-time stalwarts like G.W. Bailey, Anthony Dennison, and J.K. Simmons, Cruz has kept this show rock-solid and effective no matter how whacky things got with Kyra Sedgwick at the Chief.
Raymond was born and raised in East L.A. He grew up in a tough neighborhood, and found performance was his way out. Now, having just celebrated his 50th birthday in July, he's heading towards twenty-five years as a successful actor. His film roles include work in "A Clear and Present Danger," "Alien: Resurrection" and "Training Day." He's done a host of decent nighttime dramas, from "24" to "Nip/Tuck" to "CSI" and "CSI: Miami." And his work the crafty, lethal, and ultimately batshit crazy Tuco Salamanca in the '07‘«Ű'08 season of AMC's "Breaking Bad" was just‘«™just amazing. (And it was a tough role. Click here to read AMCtv.com's Q&A about how hard it was, and why Cruz himself asked to have the character killed off.) And while it was going on, and after it was done, he was back on TNT, back in the LAPD, working for Major Crimes.
His work hasn't gone entirely unnoticed, of course. Cruz has won a couple of Imagen Awards for his "Closer" work. He's been part of the "Closer" ensemble's nomination for a SAG Award, four years in a row (though they've yet to win). And he's extremely well-respected in the industry; he was a welcome and important part of the cast for "Los Americans," Dennis Leoni's warm family drama that's still available online and (in part) in MTA busses all over L.A.