Chicago Fire season 8’s first half MVP: Joe Minoso

CHICAGO FIRE -- "Sacred Ground" Episode 801 -- Pictured: Joe Minoso as Joe Cruz -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "Sacred Ground" Episode 801 -- Pictured: Joe Minoso as Joe Cruz -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC) /

As we wait for Chicago Fire to return, we’re recognizing the most valuable actor from Chicago Fire season 8 so far: Joe Minoso, aka Joe Cruz.

While we continue to count down to Chicago Fire‘s return, we’re taking a moment to recognize the actor who’s given the most to Chicago Fire season 8 so far: Joe Minoso.

Minoso was thrust into the spotlight right off the bat because of the death of Otis (Yuri Sardarov) in the season premiere. Since Joe Cruz was Otis’s best friend, it was to be expected that Cruz had a lot of screen time, dealing with that loss and its impact on his life.

Joe was great at handling that very heavy material. Character deaths only truly resonate when the audience can not only see, but feel the impact of that passing. We have to be motivated ourselves to grieve, and be convinced that there’s a real loss that’s taken place.

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Joe Minoso broke our hearts with how Joe Cruz struggled to say goodbye to the person who meant the most to him, but he also did it with incredible dignity.

He didn’t overplay his hand and make the scenes overdramatic; Cruz had his emotional moments, but he also had so many where it was just in a look, or a pause, or the way he carried himself.

Whether it was because Otis’s absence meant less people to spread the comic relief around with, or by design, Minoso played a significant part in the comedic sections of the first nine episodes, as well.

Most notably, Cruz took the Slamigan to a convention and not only struggled to get his booth up and running but discovered the product had been knocked off by another company! As he flew off the handle at this revelation, Minoso was incredibly funny, showing us Cruz’s slightly neurotic side too.

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And we even got a dose of his romantic side, as Cruz proposed to girlfriend Chloe (recurring guest star Kristen Gutoskie)—after she broke up with him and they had to reconcile, but still, they ended up engaged and we’re all looking forward to a Chicago Fire wedding.

The first half of the season hit on every aspect of Cruz’s character, and Joe Minoso was excellent in each way. This may end up being his best season yet, but right now there’s no doubt that he went above and beyond in what we’ve seen so far.

Next. What's next for Cruz on Chicago Fire?. dark

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