San Antonio native and Hollywood actor Nicholas Gonzalez is on Cloud Nine after nabbing two major roles on the ABC network, both of which have generated substantial buzz.
The first has the Central Catholic graduate in a killer role — literally — on Shonda Rhimes hit “How to Get Away with Murder.”
His character, which is key to the show’s current mystery, was introduced in last week’s season finale and will be fleshed out more in season four.
Gonzalez’s second ABC gig couldn’t be more different. In the pilot for a new medical drama “The Good Doctor,” he’ll move from life taker to life saver, playing an accomplished surgeon.
From “House” creator David Shore, “The Good Doctor” stars Freddie Highmore (“Bates Motel”) as a talented young surgical resident with autism, who’s both awkward and engaging and comes from a troubled childhood. Gonzalez plays his boss, Dr. Neil Melendez, who oversees the surgical residents at the hospital.
In a phone chat, Gonzalez said he’s pumped to work with the accomplished creators and opposite talented Highmore who has drawn critical raves for his sensitive and eerie portrayal of Norman Bates in A&E’s “Psycho”-inspired drama.
As for “How to Get Away with Murder,” Gonzalez described that as a plum opportunity as well.
Those who caught last week’s season finale of the Thursday night drama got a shocking reveal: A new character named Dominic (Gonzalez) murdered Wes (Alfred Enoch), a favorite student of lawyer and professor Annalise Keating (Oscar and Emmy winner Viola Davis).
As his body was found in her torched house, Annalise was arrested on suspicion of murder.
However, it turned out to be a heretofore unknown character who committed the crime. As seen in a flashback, Dominic attacked Wes and incapacitated him with an injection. Dazed, Wes attempted to flee but was stopped by Dominic, who suffocated him setting the house ablaze.
But why? Presumably that will be revealed later. What we do know is Dominic was hired by the father of fellow law student Laurel (Karla Souza), who is carrying Wes’ baby. One of the closing shots showed Laurel running into and hugging Dominic, whom she identified as an old friend.
Gonzalez said he can’t wait to do more with the character when season four shooting begins in July.
As for “The Good Doctor,” he’ll shoot that in Vancouver this spring.
Both are huge career wins for Gonzalez, who’s had an inordinately busy year with recurring parts on two cable dramas: “Being Mary Jane” on BET and the final season of “Pretty Little Liars” on Freeform. The latter rolls out its last episodes starting April 18.
He’ll also be seen later this year as an American DEA agent on Netflix’s “Narcos.”
Gonzalez is thrilled to be taking on a new role in his personal life as well: dad. He and his wife, Kelsey Crane, are expecting their first little one any day now.
Another TV win, loss
Also ahead for viewers: a big plus for adopted Alamo City star Eva Longoria and what could prove to be a loss for the S.A.-born creator of “Nashville” Callie Khouri.
In a recent appearance on “The View,” Longoria said it was an honor to direct an episode of one of her favorite shows, ABC’s hit comedy, “Black-ish.”
Even better, she helmed the season finale - which Longoria described as something “really exciting for fans of that show.” Look for it in the next few weeks.
As for CMT drama “Nashville,” last Thursday’s episode contained a dismaying shocker for fans: Central character Rayna James, portrayed so magnificently by Connie Britton, was killed off.
It happened after she underwent surgery for injuries she sustained in a car accident.
In a heartbreaking twist that we didn’t see coming, she flatlined in the hospital surrounded by her grief-stricken husband and two daughters.
In follow-up interviews, Britton said the exit was her decision and had been percolating for some time. She predicted the show will be fine thanks to its many other dynamic characters.
I’m not so sure. Country diva James was the anchor of the series, the nurturing force whom everyone turned to in flakier moments, and Britton’s performance brought the soapy drama to a higher level.
It’s a huge loss, one that is bound to be felt for a long while. Here’s hoping the series finds a way to move forward.
Jeanne Jakle’s column appears Wednesdays and Sundays in mySA.
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