Talking with Zumba-loving Joe Minoso of 'Chicago Fire' fame

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Tuesday, April 29, 2015

Joe Minoso five years ago was a 300-pound depressed, out-of-work actor.

But then the Chicago resident found, of all things, Zumba. He fell in love with that joyous style of workout and lost 70 pounds. In 2012, a more svelte, battle ready Minoso nabbed a major role on NBC's drama "Chicago Fire" as a firefighter Joe Cruz. The show has done well for the network and has already been renewed for a fourth season.

He has to thank a friend for getting him a Groupon for a month of free Zumba classes. He slipped into the back but was so into it, the instructor rewarded him a spot in the front. "I was immediately hooked," he said. "I had never had more fun sweating in my life than that hour you spend dancing like a maniac."

During season three, his character was also shown to be a Zumba fan. (You can watch it here).

Minoso came to Atlanta Tuesday to promote the Dick Wolf-embossed crossover episodes with spinoff show "Chicago P.D." and the hardy "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" airing Wednesday night all in a row. This is the second cross-over of the year. The first involved a child prostitution ring. This time, it's a big arson/rape case that gets Mariska Hargitay's character Olivia Benson involved.

"We don't get the PD script or the SVU script," Minoso said at a breakfast with a small crew of media at the Atlanta Grill inside the downtown Ritz Carlton. "When you find out is when we find out. On our end, we find out some stuff, and we hand off to PD. It becomes this giant case that spans two cities and two squads. Where they take it, we'll find out Wednesday."

Minoso realizes how competitive the TV world is but the show's audience has been very loyal. "We have our fair share of action. We have our fair share of drama. But we're also a really funny show. We're really good at lightening things up when it needs to be lightened up. I hold up those 11 cast members as any family member. We have become that tight. For me, that's where the show lives."

 TV preview

"Chicago Fire," 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 29

"Chicago P.D." 9 p.m., Wednesday, April 29

"Law & Order: SVU" 10 p.m., Wednesday April 29

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.