Chicago PD fans have been calling for more episodes focusing on Officer Dante Torres — and they sure got that on Wednesday May 17. Season 10 episode 21 saw Torres get caught up in the middle of a murder case that involved friends from childhood, and threatened to unveil his troubled past.
When the team overheard rumors about a teenage Torres being an enforcer for a gang leader, he decided to come clean to Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) - and hope that he is believed.
Guatemala-born Benjamin Levy Aguilar joined the show as Torres in season nine but was upped to a regular for season ten, something he calls an "honor," thanking the fans for the "beautiful" response to his character.
Torres was temporarily taken under the wing of Detective Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) before he moved full time to the Intelligence Unit. His quiet nature and desire to keep parts of his life secret have long hinted at a troubled past.
"It really is an honor to represent different cultures, and to be given this power to showcase this type of life with these types of characters," he tells HELLO! as he discusses Torres' trust issues and his hopes for season 11...
Did you know this major episode was coming before you read the script?
Benjamin: I had a feeling I [might] get something big because the fans seem to love the character and after episode 10, which was the last heavy one, there was a break where I wasn't really there that much.
So I had a feeling maybe something was going to come up, and I'm really happy that they explored this at such an intense level.
Did you have any input in building this history?
Benjamin: It's all the writers. But I do appreciate that they have been able to sit down with me and talk about him with me, get to know about my life and [maybe use it for [inspiration].
I definitely feel that there's a very close art-imitates-life type of thing.
Voight now knows the truth. Do you think Torres will ever tell the others? There was a moment with Hayley where it felt like he was almost ready to be honest…
Benjamin: I hope he finds that in himself to share, it's definitely a hard thing to do, coming from [a place] where you grow up and you can't trust people. It takes a lot and I don't think he trusts people easily, and the people he trusts he gives his life for but it takes him some time to get there.
A lot of the time he wishes he could just rely on people and say [what he needs to], and maybe he would have said it [to Hayley] - he was getting there with Halstead, right? But then he left. Even though everyone is supportive of him and there's a good relationship and rapport between all of them, he still feels like he has to just survive on his own.
Would you like to see him begin to open up?
Benjamin: Absolutely. That's what I love the most, seeing the characters grow and evolve but it has to be done at the right pace depending on the experiences that he has had. But now he has shared this with Voight, maybe he will now be more open.
You're at the end of your first full season, how are you feeling a year in with the cast? Still like the newbie?
Benjamin:Definitely! I think it's going to take a lot to catch up, because they've just been doing this for so long and I'm just younger so it's always going to feel that way. But I do feel so comfortable there, and in what I am doing, I feel established in my character and I love bringing new energy.
What would you like to see from season 11?
Benjamin: I'd like to explore happy moments for Torres! More of his past: there's so much more, and I would love to experience that.
What have you learned about yourself from this show?
Benjamin: How to follow my gut, no matter what, and how to collaborate and sharpen my process. I know what I need in what moment and in what scenes, and how to feel and how to get there. It's just been a great exercise for me.
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