Crime & Punishment: Latinos On Both Sides of the Law

A& E’s highly anticipated series, Breakout Kings (premiering this Sunday March 6th at 10/9C), is a gritty, true-to-life drama about detectives who use convicts currently in jail to catch fugitives on the run. Laz Alonso, who has played the villain in movies like Stomp the Yard and Fast & Furious is the moral center of Breakout Kings, which got us thinking about other Latin stars who have lived on both sides of the law.

Whether they’re behind bars—or reading someone their rights—one thing’s for sure: these Latinos are badass!

1. Crime & Punishment: Laz Alonso

Laz Alonso (Fast & Furious and Breakout Kings)

He may have been the heroin dealer who murdered Michelle Rodriguez’s character in Fast & Furious, but these days Laz is a reformed criminal. As Charlie Duchamp, the moral center of Breakout Kings, Laz uses criminal minds to catch other degenerates. “He’s never been a con,” Alonso told us about Charlie. “He’s a straight cop who is in charge of this group of {convicts} and he has to keep them focused and has to keep them on board. He has to manage tempers and manage emotions while trying to save lives and catch fugitives.”

2. Crime & Punishment: Amaury Nolasco

Amaury Nolasco (Prison Break and Chase)

On the NBC series Chase, Amaury Nolasco plays Marco Martinez, an ambitious, straight-laced detective and role model. “Marco is a stand-up guy,” Nolasco said about his character. “He’s on the right side of the law.” Ironically the role that Nolasco is best known for is Fernando Sucre, the thief who stole a wedding ring and was incarcerated for it on the hit FOX series, Prison Break. Nolasco explained the difference between these two characters to us. ”Marco is completely different from Sucre and I’m glad. He is a role model,” he said. “Not that Sucre was a bad guy—but I don’t think Sucre could be a role model.”

3. Crime & Punishment: Jimmy Smits

Jimmy Smits (L.A. Law and Dexter)

He was on the right side of the law as iconic attorney Victor Sifuentes on the long-running 1980s legal drama, L.A. Law (for which he won an Emmy) and most recently, as a former U.S. Supreme Court justice Cyrus Garza in NBC’s Outlaw, but as Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado on Showtime’s hit serial killer drama, Dexter—Smits was a calculating, manipulative, vicious and merciless monster, who used his authority to mask his true identity and let his friends take the fall for his crimes.

4. Crime & Punishment: Benjamin Bratt

Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order and The Cleaner)

Few characters on television are as moral and straight-laced as Detective Rey Curtis, the character that Benjamin Bratt played on Law & Order. Rey was a conservative, devout Catholic who was strictly by the book when it came to his job, as well as his personal life. That’s quite a departure from William Banks, the reformed drug-addict that Bratt played on the drug-intervention drama, The Cleaner. Bonus: In Leon Ichaso’ Piñero, he portrayed real-life Puerto Rican junkie poet and playwright Miguel Piñero, arguably the most memorable role of his acting career.

5. Crime & Punishment: Michelle Rodriguez

Michelle Rodriguez (Fast & Furious and Lost)

Michelle Rodriguez has played street racer/fuel tank hijacker Letty and girlfriend to Vin Diesel’s character in four of the Fast movies, but the actress—who is known for playing tough women on screen—also had a stint on the other side of the law as the assertive and street-smart cop Ana Lucia Cortez on ABC’s Lost

6. Crime & Punishment: Related Links