A Rundown of The Best of Shondaland’s Latinx Characters
If you’re like the millions of American’s that tune in to ABC on Thursday nights to get your weekly dose of Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, and until recently, Scandal (#RIP), then you’re a Shondaland fan. For the more casual viewers, Shondaland is production company named after it’s superstar founding writer, producer, and showrunner: Shonda Rhimes. Not only are Rhimes’ shows renowned for their great cast of characters, but a Shondaland’s Latinx characters are some of the strongest out of all of them. You could argue that Rhymes’ commitment to diverse casting has pushed the entertainment industry towards valuing representation more than it ever has.
In light of this, we compiled a definitive list of Shondaland’s Latinx characters that always light up the screen. They may not all be honorable or admirable, but they’re always entertaining.
1. Callie Torres – Grey’s AnatomyABC
First and foremost, out of all of Shondaland’s Latinx characters, let’s give credit to the character that started it all: Callie Torres. Significantly, Callie was the first Shondaland Latinx character to appear as a lead actress in Shonda’s crown jewel, Grey’s Anatomy. Not only that, but Callie was also groundbreaking in that she portrayed a queer woman of color in the early 2000s. After marrying George in season three, Callie went on to start a fan-favorite relationship with Dr. Arizona Robbins. She is arguably the best of Shondaland’s Latinx characters, and definitely the most iconic.
2. Huck – ScandalABC
Next up, we have Huck (no last name necessary) played by the ultra-talented Cuban-American actor, Guillermo Diaz. Like most of the characters on Scandal, Huck is a complicated guy at best, a downright psychopath at worst. Generally accepted as one of the most twisted characters on Scandal, Gladiators can’t help but root for a guy who’s oh-so broken but has such a big heart. Although Scandal’s series finale offers some hope for Huck’s rehabilitation, it’s hard to believe a man that’s done such bad things could remain a “White Hat’ forever.
3. Laurel Castillo – HTGAWMABC
Initially one of the most level-headed characters on How to Get Away with Murder, Laurel has morphed into an anti-heroine that would make Annalise Keating proud. Both parts secretive and cunning, Laurel has a tense relationship with her father and tries to distance herself from her rich Mexican family as much as possible. She is portrayed by the successful Mexican actress Karla Souza, which may explain why Laurel’s last name was changed from “Wilding” to “Castillo” after Souza won the role.
4. Dr. Jake Reilly – Private PracticeABC
Once in a while, Shondaland delivers a Prince Charming without any skeletons in his closet or dead bodies in his trunk. In this case, Prince Charming was on Grey’s Anatomy spinoff Private Practice, and his name was Dr. Jake Reilly. Played by the outspoken Peruvian-American actor Benjamin Bratt, Dr. Reilly was exactly the honorable, loving partner that Addison so deserved. It also helped that he was a celebrated endocrinologist and a loving father to his daughter. If you didn’t tear up at Jake and Addison’s fairytale wedding, then it’s possible you don’t have a heart.
5. Andy Herrera – Grey’s Anatomy/ Station 19ABC
In spite of Station 19’s junior status (it’s still on season one), it’s heroine, Andy Herrera has already cemented her status as a standout among Shondaland’s Latinx characters. Andy is a kickass firefighter who was initially introduced in a Grey’s episode and soon got her very own series to showcase her story. Right off the bat, we discover that Andy speaks Spanish fluently, a skill she uses to her advantage in emergency situations–and she encounters a lot of them. Much like the other heroines in the Shondaland universe, Andy is an incredibly talented, flawed, and complex female character. We can count on Shonda to stay away from stereotypes!
6. Francisco Vargas – ScandalABC
Before his untimely demise, Francisco Vargas was the whole package: smart, handsome, capable and driven. Francisco was played by Ricardo Chavira, who you may remember as Eva Longoria’s diabolical husband on Desperate Housewives. Undoubtedly one of the noblest characters on Scandal, President-Elect Vargas was assassinated right before he took the presidential oath. In any other show, it would’ve been the shock of the season, but for Scandal fans, it was just another Thursday night. What can we say? We’ve seen it all on Shondaland.
7. Luna Vargas – ScandalABC
We know what you’re thinking: why would we choose an evil woman like Luna Vargas as one of our favorite Latinx Shondaland characters? Luna Vargas, the widow to the afore-mentioned President-Elect Frankie Vargas, was the type of character viewers loved to hate. In true Scandal fashion, she was diabolical, conniving, and manipulative. After Mellie Grant picked Luna Vargas as her running mate, Olivia realized that it was Luna who was behind Frankie’s assassination. And we have to admit, we were shocked. That woman was cold-blooded…we loved it.
8. Kyle Diaz – Grey’s AnatomyABC
Leave it to Grey’s Anatomy to leave you drowning in a puddle of your own tears after the death of a beloved character. Kyle Diaz, played by the very famous, very dreamy Wilmer Valderrama, was a musician whose multiple sclerosis was affecting his ability to play the guitar. Naturally, he turned to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital for treatment. Although he only appeared on Grey’s for 5 episodes, he made a lasting impression on the viewers (and not to mention, Dr. Stephanie Edwards). Unfortunately, Kyle died from complications due to meningitis. His death devastated both Dr. Edwards and loyal Grey’s viewers.
9. Dr. Isaac Roa – HTGAWMABC
Another one of Shondaland’s best Latinx characters is a psychologist and former drug addict Dr. Isaac Roa of How to Get Away With Murder. Played the by the legendary Puerto Rican actor Jimmy Smitts, Dr. Roa is a tortured and sensitive character that fans can’t get enough of. Although Dr. Roa was sober when he started treating Annalise Keating, his stability soon goes off the rails when he becomes romantically involved with her. As any fan of the show knows, Annalise is not an easy character to be in a relationship with.
10. Dr. Eric Rodriguez – Private PracticeABC
Undeniably, Dr. Eric Rodriguez was one of those characters the fans couldn’t get enough of on Private Practice. Yes, he was both smart and funny, but what really had us devoted was one thing: how hot he was. Played by the sizzling Chilean actor, Cristián de la Fuente, Rodriguez was an oncologist at the nearby St. Ambrose Hospital, which explains why we didn’t see him as much as we wanted to. Although Eric expressed his romantic interest in Addison, she never took him up on his repeated offers. Out of all the far-fetched plot points in Shondaland, we might find this the hardest to believe!
11. Curtis Pryce – ScandalABC
If Shondaland isn’t short on one thing, it’s Latino heartthrobs. Case in point, Curtis Pryce, played by the always charming (and incredibly good-looking) Jay Hernandez. Introduced on the seventh season of Scandal, we knew Olivia would find him irresistible when they butt heads over education on his popular talk show. Unsurprisingly, he and Olivia had a passing, steamy affair. Also unsurprisingly, he didn’t last the end of the season: Olivia’s assistant Lucy murdered Curtis once she realized he knew too many of Liv’s secrets.
12. Dr. Sam Bello – Grey’s AnatomyABC
Played by the talented dancer and actress, Janine Mason, Dr. Sam Bello’s story was similar to that of many Latinx immigrants to the US. After her father was violently killed in El Salvador, Sam and her family fled to the US in search of a better life. Eventually, after much sacrifice and hard work, she graduated from medical school and became an intern at Gray Sloan Memorial hospital. Despite her talent as a surgical intern, she discovered that she was in danger of being deported by ICE due to her undocumented status. With the help of the hospital staff, she was able to restart her life as a doctor in Switzerland.
13. Javi Munoz – ScandalABC
The youngest on this list, Huck’s son, Javi Munoz, thankfully only inherited his father’s intelligence, not his love of torturing people. Javi was so smart that he discovered Huck’s location through his IP address, tracked him down, and tried to build a relationship with his estranged father. The reunion was emotional but short-lived, as Huck’s addiction to violence made it impossible for him to be in Javi’s life. We didn’t get to see as much of Javi as we wanted to, but he made a lasting impression. Like any TV lover, we’re a sucker for a cute kid who may be a tech prodigy in the making.
14. Carlos Torres – Grey’s AnatomyABC
Of course, we couldn’t list Shondaland’s best Latinx characters without including Callie Torres’s father, Carlos Torres. Only gracing us with his presence once in a while, Carlos Torres is what you could call an…intimidating presence. After all, in the first scene he’s ever in, we’re introduced to him threatening George O’Malley’s life. Played by the prolific Puerto Rican-American actor Hector Elizondo, Carlos is not without his flaws. Like many Latinx parents of an older generation, he struggles to accept Callie’s sexuality, but in the end, he loves her through all of it.
15. Jorge Castillo – HTGAWMABC
Possibly one of the evilest characters to grace the small screen, Jorge Castillo is another case of a character who is so bad, he’s good. The primary antagonist of Season 3 and Season 4, this ruthless businessman is the father to one of our other Latinx favorites, Laurel Castillo. He is additionally the Wes “Puppy” Gibbons had such a traumatic childhood and the mastermind behind Wes’s tragic and untimely death. So why is he on our “Best” list? Well, just like any other ultra evil character, his ruthlessness makes him legendary.
16. James Novak – ScandalABC
We know what you’re thinking: James Novak was Latino? Yes, in fact, he was! Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Dan Bucatinsky, who played James, stated: “My roots are in Argentina and I speak fluent Spanish”. James Novak, along with the scheming Cyrus Beene, was the first queer couple to star on Scandal. Although James was also one of the first beloved characters to be killed off, his memory lived on throughout the series, and he remained a fan favorite until the very end.
17. Tegan Price – HTGAWMABC
Although we aren’t told much about Tegan’s background yet on HTGAWM, this powerful attorney is played by Afro-Latina actress Amirah Vann, who was born in Queens to a black father and Puerto Rican mother. Ms. Vann even shows off her Latina side when she speaks Spanish to the evil Jorge Castillo in season 4, episode 6. Although Tegan is largely still is a mystery, we know that she had had relationships with women before, she is whip-smart, and she’s a great mentor. Tegan is the type of nuanced female character that Shondaland never fails to deliver.
18. Stephanie Kemp – Private PracticeABC
There might not be a character in the Shondaland universe that was as romantically unlucky as obstetrics nurse Stephanie Kemp was in Private Practice. Played by the comically gifted Latina actress Justine Machado, Stephanie Kemp was Sam Bennet’s long-suffering girlfriend in PP’s season 6. Although she had deep feelings for Sam, he, unfortunately, didn’t feel the same way. After cheating on Stephanie, Sam ended things with her in the season finale to try and start over again with his ex-wife. We always thought Stephanie deserved more than such a brutally raw deal.
19. Soraya Hargrove – HTGAWMABC
Played by the Puerto Rican-American actress Lauren Velez, Soraya Hargrove is the best kind of Shondaland Latinx character: tough as nails. She doesn’t let anyone–not even Annalise Keating–walk all over her. The President of Middleton University, her and Annalise share a shaky alliance over their shared struggle with alcoholism. Although Soraya isn’t exactly the type of character you would hold up as a role model, her presence on TV is still important in that it depicts a Latina woman who is both powerful and deeply flawed.
20. Celia Chavez – For The PeopleABC
The only character on this list who hails from one of Shondaland’s fledgling programs For the People, we love assistant US attorney Celia Chavez because of her drive and her grit. Sure, she’s the type of competitive overachiever that we would’ve hated in high school, but that also makes her extremely entertaining to watch. It’s always refreshing to see a Latina character excel at her job and refuse to apologize for being a boss. Not to mention, her eyebrow game is on point.
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