Cuban American actor Carlos Gomez. (Photo/Getty Images)

“The Glades” star Carlos Gomez: the season’s big reveal, and playing positive Latino roles

Fans of the crime drama “The Glades” know that there’s always much more to a crime scene then meets the eye. And crime solving just happens to be the task that Carlos Gomez – who plays Dr. Carlos Sanchez – tackles in every episode, albeit with a hefty dose of sarcasm and jokes that reflect the way the show’s cast members feel about each other off-camera.

“The best part about being on the show is that I get to go to work every day with friends and laugh,” says Gomez, who grew up in Miami, Florida where the show is filmed. “It’s been like that from day one. We’ve all meshed and that sense of family, of tight-knit relationships you see on the show is real – on the weekends I take everyone around, we go salsa dancing, eat Cuban food. It’s amazing.”

Gomez – whose character is BFFs with series lead and cop Jim Longworth, played by Matt Passmore – says that although the series may center on fighting crime in South Florida, season 4 of the show will reveal more about the personal relationships of its central characters than ever before.

“The show will continue to become more interesting when it comes to the cases, a little quirkier and really funny when it comes to the scenarios that play out,” reveals Gomez of the show, which is one of the highest-rated among viewers on A&E. “You’ll also see more of my character’s wife and daughter. And even though the show will have even more of what fans love, the writers have really become creative when it comes to getting personal about each of the characters.”

Actor Carlos Gomez (l) in character as Dr.  Carlos Sanchez, examining materials at a crime scene.

Actor Carlos Gomez (l) in character as Dr. Carlos Sanchez, examining materials at a crime scene. (Photo/Courtesy A&E)

And does that include any dramatic follow-up regarding Jim’s big proposal to romantic interest Callie (Kiele Sanchez) last season?

“Things evolve at the end of the season – you’ll just have to tune in,” teases Gomez, who calls Los Angeles home base. “And there’s a rumored wedding; not this season, but next season.”

“The Glades” family – weekend salsa outings and on-camera weddings included – are all part of what has kept Gomez, just like fans, wanting more.

“In real life, Matt is actually funnier than his character Jim,” says Gomez, who began his career in entertainment more than 20 years ago as a dancer on Broadway. “He has such a great attitude, which has a way of trickling down to the crew and his fellow actors – which is really important when it’s over 90 degrees outside in Miami when we’re filming!”

And then there’s Jaime Reynoso, the show’s director of photography who joined the series during season 2. Reynoso is responsible for the stylized aspect of the show – which features the beauty of the Florida Everglades throughout every episode – and is “the most, amazing, talented guy,” says Gomez.

“He’s Mexican and I’m Cuban, so we just crack jokes on each other all day,” laughs Gomez. “Having people behind the scenes like him makes the final product of the show that much better.”

“Having two Latinos on  a set like “The Glades” is a “big deal,” says Gomez, who has appeared on numerous televisions shows including “NYPD Blue,” “NCIS,” “Criminal Minds” and “Friends.”

“I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and it’s great to see how, little by little, the industry has opened up to Latino writers and producers; we’re now on camera as doctors and police officers,” notes Gomez, a talented vocalist who played the part of Kevin Rosario in “In The Heights”on Broadway. “We’re an integrated part of society and now that’s being reflected in Hollywood as well.”

For Gomez – whose character on “The Glades” is a medical physician and examiner – the increase of positive roles for Latinos came at a time when he decided he would no longer play the “stereotypical Latino bad guy.”

“About four years ago I made the decision that I wouldn’t take those parts anymore,” says Gomez. “I told myself that I would wait for roles that would portray Latinos in a better light. And as soon as I made that decision, the universe gave me that work. I’ve played a mayor, a medical examiner and the head of the FBI. It’s taken awhile, but I’ve made it a point to get those parts because in the long run, that matters.”

And Gomez says that towards that end, he’s made a promise to himself to venture behind the camera as well. He’ll be directing an episode of the “Glades” next season and has begun writing “ideas for television.” There’s not much more he can do to make his Cuban mother more proud of him, but the 51-year-old actor says he’ll try.

“My thing is, if I can keep being creative, singing, dancing, doing theater, writing and eventually producing and directing, I’ll be successful,” says Gomez, who says he loves rice and beans just as much his beloved In-N-Out burgers.

“Things are getting better for Latinos, but we need to continue working to incorporate ourselves and show who we really are – and I try to work towards that.”

“The Glades” airs Mondays at 9/8c on A&E.

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