Natalie Martinez Natalie Martinez

She plays Rough-and-tumble Det. Ariana Sanchez, the only female detective in a testosterone-heavy station house on Detroit 1-8-7. "Sanchez is an all-balls kind of girl," laughs Martinez. "She's really tough, from Detroit and doesn't show a lot of emotion." But that will be changing shortly. "We're going to see her go through something shocking," she teases.

Where you've seen her As the face of Jennifer Lopez's clothing line, a gig she landed after J.Lo handpicked her from 5,000 hopefuls. "If it wasn't for her, I'd have probably been a nurse," Martinez says. As it turned out, her first TV role was on Fashion House, the serial about warring designers starring Morgan Fairchild. "I learned a lot from Morgan."

Why we love her Because whether faced with a nasty homicide or the awkward flirtations of Fitch (Michael Imperioli), Martinez never lets us see Sanchez sweat. "It comes with the territory. You just have to be a strong person," she says. "I met with a lot of detectives and found it interesting how they go home to their families and have to forget the day."

A future with Fitch? "There's always the possibility," Martinez says, tossing her partner Det. Stone (D.J. Cotrona) — who receives a visit from a mystery woman tonight — into the mix as well. "All the time, it's either Fitch and Sanchez or Stone and Sanchez. There's always that little flirtation between them."

Detroit 1-8-7 airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on ABC.

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