‘Rebel’ Series Finale: Andy Garcia Previews Cruz’s Courtroom Showdown

Andy Garcia as Julian Cruz in the Rebel series finale
ABC/Scott Everett White

We would argue that Rebel didn’t get a fair trial. ABC recently canceled the drama starring Katey Sagal as consumer advocate Annie “Rebel” Bello (inspired by Erin Brockovich), who crusades for justice with her close friend, hot-tempered lawyer Julian Cruz (a stellar Andy Garcia, above).

In Thursday’s eighth and final episode, the verdict comes down in their season-long fight against the manufacturer of a faulty heart valve. We spoke to the actor before the bad news broke.

How would you describe Cruz’s relationship with Rebel?

Andy Garcia: A platonic love affair. They met young — their kids were in preschool. They push each other’s buttons, but there’s love and respect. God forbid you should try to come between them!

They also share grief over the loss of Cruz’s wife, Sharon, who was Rebel’s best friend. Does pain drive him?

He tries to lose himself in work but has a hole in his heart that’s impossible to heal even though it might not bleed as constantly. He talks to [Sharon], an idea I had for the character. I told Krista [Vernoff, the show’s creator] that I’d like a piano in my office — that’s where Cruz finds solace. What I play is an improvisation on a theme that I wrote.

Cruz Rebel Series Finale Andy Garcia

ABC/Scott Everett White

So you’re both musical. How else is Cruz like you?

When I was sent the material, it was not specific who he was other than Hispanic. It was an opportunity to make Cruz someone of my culture, to honor the people that came, like I did, from Cuba in the early 1960s fleeing a dictatorship, pursuing basic human rights. Cruz’s background motivated him to be a lawyer. My father was a lawyer in Cuba. He’s no longer around, but everything he was is in Cruz.

Do you talk to your dad, as Cruz does with his late wife?

I talk to all the guys and gals up there. They’re watching.

Andy Garcia James Lesure Rebel

ABC/Karen Ballard

What can we expect in Thursday’s courtroom showdown between passionate Cruz and the opposing counsel, slick Benji Ray, one of Rebel’s ex-husbands?

Benji [James Lesure] and [Cruz] are colleagues, but on the opposite sides of the train tracks of the law. There’s respect, but if you misbehave, you’re going to hear it.

Rebel, Series Finale, Thursday, June 10, 10/9c, ABC