We all know how great the main actors are. Words cannot describe the depth they bring to their characters.
However, I would like to focus on some other great actors; those secondary actors that may only have a couple of lines on one show. Or they have a small part over several episodes or even seasons. They are rarely actors that are well-known and yet they come in for their small part and hit it out of the park.
And while the actors did a great job; kudos go to the casting department, too. For they are the ones who hired these wonderful actors. They hit it out of the park every week as well.
***Warning***: This article contains spoilers for all three seasons if you have not yet watched them.
Janila - Played by Carla Jeffery
Her story was woven through the entire first season. She witnessed a gang shooting and was willing to be a witness, even after the house she and her grandmother lived in was riddled with gunfire and her grandmother was gunned down in front of the courthouse. We last saw her when she was being placed in witness protection.
Shamika Cole – Played by Jamai Fisher
The sister of the boy shot in the gang shooting. Her last words to her brother as he left the house with her cell phone were, “Oh, I hate you!” The next time she saw him was in his hospital bed. Crying, she told him, “I don’t really hate you.” She also had a memorable scene with Ben near the end of the first episode. “You a cop?” she asks. “Yeah. Yeah,” Ben replies.
Barry the Basehead – Played by Ronnie Gene Blevins
Drug addict with appearances in episodes one and two of season one and episode eight of season three. Cooper tells him in episode one, “You are too stupid to live.” However, in episode two Barry gives the cops valuable information on the car that abandoned a baby. This leads to the arrest of the baby's father.
Brianna – Played by Lilly Holleman
A former drug addict; she has been clean and sober since becoming pregnant. Her ex dumps their baby son by the side of the road in a cardboard box. The baby is discovered crawling into traffic on Sunset Blvd and is placed with child services. She convinces Lydia that she is doing her best for her son and Lydia goes to bat for her to get her son back. She is in both season one and two.
Laurie Cooper – Played by Hedy Burress
As the ex-wife of Cooper; she is one of the very few that Cooper lets get close. They still care for each other even though they know they can never get back together. She asks him to be the father of her child and is devastated when he refuses. In the beginning she supplies extra pain pills for him, but by the start of season three, she refuses to enable him any longer.
Stella – Played by Maite Schwartz
Her ex is harassing her. And since they are in the same line of work, he is preventing her from getting a job as well. Ben gets the call after her ex breaks into her apartment and vandalizes it. She has such a natural delivery as she explains to Ben what her ex did this time and what he has done in the past.
Cooper’s drug dealer – Played by Nick Mennell
Cooper’s dealer makes appearances in all three seasons. Cooper and the dealer usually meet in the bathroom of a gay bar they both frequent. Cooper first turns down the dealer, but after Laurie refuses to give him any more meds (at the time); he has to return to the dealer and ask to buy some drugs. There is quite a lot of chemistry between Cooper and the drug dealer in that scene. In season 2, after the dealer expresses concern at how much drugs Cooper is going through, the only thing on Cooper’s mind is a hook-up with the dealer.
Lil Casper – Played by Jonathan Castellanos
A young teenager who Sammy has befriended. The kid’s home life is not the best and Sammy is trying to mentor him to prevent Casper from becoming the next gang member. Casper is smart and well-read but he keeps it hidden from most people, except for Sammy. Sammy is heart-broken after Lil Casper shoots and kills another kid. The emotional scene between the two when Sammy finds Casper after the shooting is very powerful.
Estella – Played by Chrissie Fit
Her Mom is missing and the last time the mom was seen was at work. Estella calls the police because her Mom’s manager would not help find her. When Sherman and Cooper get the manager to cooperate; the Mom’s locker is opened and the mother’s purse is still inside. Everyone knows that the purse in the locker is not a good sign. Crying, Estella reaches for the purse, but doesn’t touch it. If she touches it, it’s real. And that means her mom is in trouble.
Sergeant Hill – Played by Jamie McShane
The sergeant has excellent command presence as he takes Dewey to task in one episode; talks with Ben about the person that raped Ben's mom in another episode; and tells Cooper to get back to his assigned duty in yet another episode.
Informant – Played by Rolando Molina
This guy explains to Sammy and Nate in great detail why Nobody shot Frosty. The informant was very natural in his delivery of a very complicated situation.
Vato Loco – Played by Erik Cruz
The man with a knife and a cut on his arm says that his girlfriend cut him. And that they fight all the time over things like the girlfriend wearing inappropriate clothes when they go out. He tells Ben and Chickie that his girlfriend is in the car. When they go to investigate, they discover a female blow-up doll. They realize when they talk to him again he sincerely believes that the blow-up doll is his girlfriend. His acting was totally believable – the kind of believable where you think this character is real.
Henry Watts – Played by Malcolm Barrett
Henry is an innocent bystander at a shooting. He thinks he hit his head when he fell to the ground to avoid the gunshots. The paramedics discover however, that he’s been shot. At the hospital, Lydia questions him about what he saw and he gives a very concise description of what he saw. And being a graphic artist, he also gives Lydia a sketch of the scene. The news is not good for Henry, though. The doctor tells Lydia and Josie he has little time to live due to where the bullet he was shot with ended up in his head/brain. Surgery has very little chance of helping and a big chance of killing him. As he talks with Lydia off and on; he slowly deteriorates during the episode; talking about how he and his fiancée met and how much they love each other.
Naomi Chester – Played by Kay Lenz
Naomi is an alcoholic former TV/Movie star and she is the sole witness to a murder. She didn’t think she would have to testify and is having doubts. Lydia and Josie convince her that this is an important role, everybody will be watching her, and she can never be cut from this role. She squares her shoulders, goes into the courtroom, and gives a powerful performance/testimony.
Leprechaun – Played by Richard CabralHe first appears as the gang banger who killed Nate by hitting the back of Nate’s head with a metal pipe. Sammy decides to kidnap Leprechaun and takes him out of the city into the desert. During the ride, you can tell that Leprechaun is frightened, but he is trying so very hard not to show it. He denies that he was the one who killed Nate, saying that he wasn’t even there that night. Sammy parks and gets Leprechaun and a shovel out of the truck. He tells Leprechaun to dig. He digs for a while but finally tells Sammy that if he’s going to shoot him; go ahead, he’s not digging any more. Sammy tells him to turn around and when he does, you can see the tears in Leprechaun's eyes.