Venice Weather Forecast:

 news category list

Diana Maria Riva Is One of “The Good Guys”


All I know is I’d make a terrible police officer in real life,” laughs actress Diana Maria Riva who plays Lieutenant Ana Ruiz  on “The Good Guys,” FOX’s hit series about an old-school cop and a modern-day detective in the Dallas Police Department.

“I spent a lot of time in Dallas with a female lieutenant to prepare for this role. As a police officer, you have to keep your emotions in check, and you have to be tough. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Ruiz has maybe buried her emotions a little too deep, but I love the challenge in playing her.”

Riva, of Dominican descent, says when she first heard about her “Good Guys” character, the role was listed as “a 40s–50s white woman.” “I’ve been in fourteen TV pilots in the past decade and a half. I’ve had a very blessed career, but I’ve learned that you can’t get frightened or scared away by the breakdown saying that the role is for a 50- year-old white woman. If I think I can play it, I’m going to give it a shot. I read for it and they changed their mind.”

In “The Good Guys,” Lieutenant Ruiz oversees Detectives Dan Stark (Bradley Whitford) and Jack Bailey (Colin Hanks) who

Riva describes as “this generation’s Oscar and Felix. Each has something that the other one needs. My character knows they can be buffoons and they can get her into a lot of trouble, but she’s no fool. She also knows that between the two of them they’ll have all bases covered. The comedy on the show is with Bradley and Colin, and I’m more the straight man this time around. My character has to be the parent.”

This isn’t the first time to ‘the Bradley Whitford rodeo’ for Riva, who had recurring roles in both “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” and “The West Wing.”

“‘Good Guys’ is a total 180 from those shows. But because of Bradley, I knew going in that it was going to be a great experience. He’s a delightful, humble, loving, playful, generous person. He is also the improvisation king — he keeps us on our toes, and has caused an enormous amount of late night laughter on the set. We’re all very good friends. There’s a great camaraderie with the cast. No high maintenance anywhere.”

Riva was an eleven year old in her hometown of Cincinnati when the acting bug bit her. “My grandmother took me to see ‘Annie,’ and here I was watching these girls my age on stage performing their little hearts out and I was completely taken. Loved it. I wanted to be onstage. And my hair was curlier than Annie’s. I told my grandmother I wanted to be an actress and she, and everyone else, said okay — as long as I received my education. I was very supported.”

Since then, Riva has played everything from policewomen to housekeepers to a young woman with brain cancer in Lifetime’s “Side Order of Life” to America Ferrara’s Mexican mom in the recent film, Our Family Wedding, but a role she’d still love to tackle is an historic heroine. “I want to be in a period piece on a horse, swinging a sword. With every costume that Cate Blanchett wore in Elizabeth, I was like, “I want to wear that,” and then she came out in her suit of armor on the horse with her hair down — and that was it! I want to play a woman of historical power. There were Latin women in the 1400s and 1500s who were very powerful in Spain and Europe. I’m doing my homework on this.”

In the meantime, Riva’s enjoying every minute of the “classic rock, ’80s cop show, retro-vibe” of “The Good Guys.” “Lieutenant Ruiz is a woman of power and strength, and she knows how to use that power and strength effectively. It’s wonderful playing a role that is, in general, very helpful to society and needed in society.” 􀀀

Tune into Diana Maria Riva and the cast of FOX’s “The Good Guys” when it returns on Friday, September 24th at 9pm. For more info check out

Subscribe to Venice Magazine Now
Tell a Friend