Raymond Cruz by Andrew Eccles/TNT
Cheers to The Closer for giving Raymond Cruz a shot. The versatile actor ( My Name is Earl, Training Day), who's often overshadowed by the showier members of the TNT drama's ensemble, stepped into the spotlight with an episode in which his character, Det. Julio Sanchez, lost his brother in a drive-by shooting. The story line was a cliché - Deputy Chief Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) warned him not to investigate because he was too close to the case, but Sanchez wouldn't listen - yet Cruz impressively ran a gamut of emotions from panic to shock to rage to grief. Perhaps it's no coincidence the episode was directed by another skilled actor, Kevin Bacon (Sedgwick's husband). He brought out the best in Cruz.

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