15 Best Latino Characters On TV

It's true: Latinos are underrepsented in Hollywood, but that doesn't mean that we're completely absent from the screen or the conversation. In fact, in recent years, a variety of nuanced, interesting, dynamic Latino characters have made their way onto our television screens.

From April Ludgate to Detective Nick Amaro, we're celebrating the best Latino television characters: 

1. April Ludgate from Parks and Recreation

April Ludgate from Parks and Recreation

Portrayed by Aubrey Plaza, April Ludgate defies all stereotypes of Latinas on television. She's fiercely intelligent, endlessly quirky, and abrasively sarcastic. Her deadpan-style comedy and witty one-liners are the best part of the show, and her Puerto Rican background isn’t used as fodder for stereotypical jokes about Latinos. Instead, her heritage adds rich dimension to her personality, and makes her one of the best Latina characters on television today. 

2. Jesus Foster from The Fosters

Jesus Foster from The Fosters

What can we say about Jesus Foster? Jake T. Austin perfectly represents what it’s like to be a teenage boy in Southern California. He’s a laid-back Cali kid with a lot on his plate: an erratic, estranged biological mother, a twin sister suffering through an identity crisis, and, of course, quite a bit of girlfriend drama. He doesn’t always make the right decisions, but remember: he is a teenage boy...and sometimes he acts like it. 

3. Mariana Foster from The Fosters

Mariana Foster from The Fosters

Mariana Foster is the teenage girl we can all relate with. Sometimes, she’s overdramatic. Sometimes, she’s make decisions so terrible you can’t help but be angry with her. But then again, we were perfect as teenagers? Mariana learns from mistakes, and she has enough heart to make up for the bad decisions. You have to applaud Cierra Ramirez for her very real representation of being a pubescent girl. 

4. Santana Lopez from Glee

Santana Lopez from Glee

Santana is a groundbreaking character in more ways than one. Portrayed by Naya Rivera, Santana is a strong Latina, a lesbian, and a teenager grappling with issues of identity and belonging. We watch her grow into herself as the series progresses, and now, she’s the character we absolutely can’t live without. 

5. Dr. Callie Torres from Grey’s Anatomy

Dr. Callie Torres from Grey’s Anatomy

Dr. Callie Torres is an orthopedic whiz who enjoys dancing around her apartment just as much as she loves solving medical mysteries. She’s loved and lost, and she's been through some tough situations. Because of it, she’s one of the most beloved, dynamic characters on television...and a Latina we can truly be proud to call our own. 

6. Marco Ruiz from The Bridge

Marco Ruiz from The Bridge

Marco Ruiz, played by Demian Bechir, is a cop with the Chihuahua State Police who allies with a detective from El Paso to investigate a serial killer menacing both nations. Ruiz is a good cop who genuinely believes he can make a difference...and that’s exactly what puts him (and his family) in danger. He’s a mysterious hombre with some amazing qualities...but just enough imperfections to keep the show interesting.

7. Detective Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Detective Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Oh, how to describe Rosa Diaz? She’s tough. She’s smart. Mostly, she’s terrifying. Played by Stephanie Beatriz, Diaz is the character you end up cheering for, and the mujer you know could kick your ass if you rubbed her the wrong way.

8. Detective Amy Santiago from Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Detective Amy Santiago from Brooklyn Nine-Nine

She’s not as terrifying as Rosa Diaz...but she wishes she could be. Detective Amy Santiago has a chip on her shoulder, and she's fiercely competitive. We're waiting for the day when she discovers she's great the way she is...and doesn't have anything to prove. 

9. Detective Nick Amaro from Law and Order: SVU

Detective Nick Amaro from Law and Order: SVU

Detective Nick Amaro is a real charmer...and he uses it to his advantage when he’s got witnesses in the room. But don’t let his good looks fool you: Amaro, played by Danny Pino, is a tough guy who will go to any lengths to capture the bad guy. 

10. Marisol Suarez from Devious Maids

Marisol Suarez from Devious Maids

Marisol Suarez is, quite simply, a total badass. Played by Ana Ortiz, Suarez is a college professor who works undercover as a maid to help free her son from prison. She’s one smart cookie, and her wit (and friendships!) help her solve Flora’s murder...and set her son free. Her determination, intelligence, and tenacity make her one of the most memorable and admirable Latina characters on TV. 

11. Valentina Diaz from Devious Maids

Valentina Diaz from Devious Maids

Valentine Diaz, played by Edy Ganem, is just a young girl trying to figure out what she wants out of life. She suffers from a bit of teenage rebellion, and, of course, everything her mom does is wrong. In the end, Diaz knows that her mom has her best interests at heart...even if it’s hard for her to understand right now. She’s one of the most captivating Latina characters on screen today, and we’re anxious to see her pursue her ambitions in future seasons.

12. Javier Esposito from Castle

Javier Esposito from Castle

Javier Esposito takes hot cop to a whole new level. Played by Jon Huertas, Esposito is a former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces who joins the NYPD as a homicide detective. The macho tough guy has a super soft interior that we just can’t help but adore. 

13. Dayanara Diaz from Orange Is The New Black

Dayanara Diaz from Orange Is The New Black

Dascha Polanco brings a fresh perspective to the character of a pregnant convict. Whether or not you agree with her decisions, she's got a lot of heart, a lot of talent, and ambitions that far exceed her circumstances. In season one, Daya proved that she's so much more than a criminal behind bars -- and she's one of our favorite Latina characters on TV. 

14. Regina Vasquez from Switched At Birth

Regina Vasquez from Switched At Birth 

Regina Vasquez is one tough mujer. Played by Constance Marie, Vasquez is a single mother who struggles to raise her deaf daughter. When her teenager discovers that she's not her biological daughter, their world is thrown for a loop. Although she deals with medical problems and alcohol abuse, Vasquez manages to stay strong and always do what's best for her children. 

15. Gloria Delgado-Pritchett from Modern Family

Gloria Delgado-Pritchett from Modern Family 

Sofia Vergara has gotten a lot of flack for her portrayal of a Colombian woman named Gloria on Modern Family. Despite her over-the-top personality, Gloria is a lovable character whose outspoken demeanor and constant good humor resonates with audiences. Love her or hate her, Vergara is the highest paid actress on television...and she’s always represented her Latina roots.