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Exclusive: Chicago PD star Benjamin Levy Aguilar details changes to Unit as he brings new 'specific voice'

Chicago PD airs on NBC

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Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
Los Angeles correspondentLos Angeles
October 12, 2022
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On 12 October Chicago PD fans will be introduced properly to the Intelligence Unit's newest recruit, Officer Dante Torres, a young latino who is struggling with his life on the block and his life as a man of the law.

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The episode will see Sergeant Hank Vought and Officer Kevin Atwater help him navigate his new responsibilities and his old life and take him under their wing after his mentor, Jay Halstead, left at the end of the previous episode.

WATCH: Benjamin Levy Aguiler shares how Chicago PD cast have welcomed him

But things are never that easy in Chicago and a heartbreaking discovery for Torres will see his life - and neighborhood - change forever.

Benjamin Levy Aguiler stars as Torres, and is a welcome new addition to the unit, bringing youth, and as co-star Marina Squerciati previously shared, a new "rhythm" to the team on- and off-screen.

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HELLO! spoke to Benjamin about his first major episode coming so soon in season 10, Torres' future in the unit and braving the Chicago winters.

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Benjamin stars as Officer Torres

This is a really big episode for you. How are you feeling?

Benjamin: I'm really excited, genuinely excited. This has been one of the most beautiful moments that I've ever experienced as an actor in any of the shows or work that I've done. I'm actually really excited to see it myself. It's going to be tough, but I'm also excited for the world to see it because I have fallen in love with this character.

How surprised were you to see an entire episode devoted towards Torres so early on in the season?

Benjamin: I was very flattered to see how much they believe in this character and how powerful his storyline can be because I do think he has such a specific voice to this show.

I wasn't shocked because this character is so compelling - there's just so much to dig from and to find out about it. I'm grateful that they gave me that opportunity so early on to explore him, because he is also new to me and this episode allowed me to understand more about him.

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Benjamin shared how 'flattered' he is to have the trust of the showrunners

In this episode we see some really interesting religious comparisons, with the Cross and Torres seemingly sacrificing himself for people. Can you talk about that character context, and how it's going to play into the rest of his story in the season?

Benjamin: Torres is a person of very strong faith, as in a lot of Latin cultures. It's interesting to see, since I grew up in Guatemala, so many people struggle with extreme poverty or gang affiliations and trying to get out of that system, and having faith be a very, very powerful part of them being able to break those cycles, and I think that he is a representation of faith for his family and for the people that know him.

He carries it with him, so he's carrying that cross - literally and figuratively.

I think he found his purpose at a very young age and he knows exactly what it is - to break the cycles that hurt him and his mother and his family, and he takes it very seriously.

How involved have you been with making sure there is a realistic portrayal of this Latino family life coming across on screen?

Benjamin: It's been beautiful that they allow me to put in my two cents of my experience or just ideas creatively of who he is. That's what I'm so grateful for, being on this show, is that they really allow creative collaboration.

But I also trust them because they've written beautiful episodes for me. I don't have to be that involved because it's very accurate but they also allow me to be like, 'How about this? Or how about that?' And they respect my voice and therefore I respect them even more.

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Torres has joined the Intelligence Unit

In this episode, we see Atwater and Voight helping Torres to navigate his new role between life on the block and being an officer. How are Jason and Royce helping you in real life settling into this team?

Benjamin: It's literally art imitating life. Jesse, Royce, Jason, everyone in the cast [has been helping]. I've gotten to know them so well and they've taken me in under their wing, and as the new kid - I am the youngest in the cast and I'm also the youngest in the world of Chicago PD - the conversations that I've had with them on screen have been reflected truly off screen.

There have been beautiful moments with me and Jason, me and Royce, every single person in that cast, heartfelt moments that I take in as a person.

No matter where I would be in the world in ten years, I would take those memories with me.

You're a trained martial artist, Krav Maga, are they allowing you to do your own stunts?

Benjamin: They allow me to do some of them. I also have a great stunt guy, Mike. They keep the very dangerous ones [for him].

But the fight stuff I am absolutely comfortable doing and I've been able to do some of that and it's been fun because it's literally my second passion. I've been doing Krav Maga ever since I was 14-years-old and I've been doing it at a very intense level, just like Muay Thai and mixed martial arts and boxing, so to be able to even explore that in this character is really just a dream come true.

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Benjamin, 29, is trained in Krav Maga

For Torres specifically, what can we expect for the rest of the season? Will it remain quite heavy or will we some light moments?

Benjamin: I think there could be some romance based on this episode coming out on Wednesday but there's so much to unpack of his past, and there's so many different colors. I wish I knew more!

But I trust that it's going to be a beautiful place and a very emotionally driven place, which excites me so much because I feel so alive, being able to find him in those moments.

How are you finding Chicago? Are you ready for the cold winters?

Benjamin: It is the most beautiful city I've been to in the United States and there's so much to do that I haven't even thought of because I've been working so much.

But the cold, I'm sure, is going to be really tough for me because I come from a tropical country that, by the way, is known as the land of Eternal Spring because it's like 73 degrees all year round, perfect weather! I've already had a tough time and people on the crew, like, crack up and laugh because they're like, 'Oh my God, he's already cold.' But I think I take it like Torres, just suck it up and fake it.

Chicago PD airs on NBC on Wednesdays at 10/9c

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