Luis Antonio Ramos, starring in the new ABC series "Lucky 7," became emotional talking about the chance to play something other than a stereotypical Latino character.

"I was tired of playing bad guys and stabbing people in the neck," Ramos said Sunday.

Such work was "sucking away my soul," forcing him to leave Los Angeles and seek more satisfying parts, including on stage, he told a Television Critics Association session.

In "Lucky 7," Ramos' character works at a gas station in Queens, N.Y., and is a devoted family man. The series follows the impact that a shared lottery win has on the station's employees.

"That's the lottery for me," Ramos said of his character, choking up as he discussed the issue.

Civil rights groups and others have long criticized Hollywood for failing to reflect American diversity and for showing minorities in a limited light. Latinos often have been relegated to gang members or marginalized as domestic workers on TV series.

The ensemble cast of "Lucky 7," which debuts Sept. 24, includes Matt Long, Anastasia Phillips and Isiah Whitlock Jr. It's based on a British series, "The Syndicate," and includes that show's Lorraine Bruce.

Ramos lauded the U.S. series for putting working-class people in the spotlight.

"At the end of the day, that's what America's about. It's about the 99 percent and how they get through the day," he said.

The Puerto Rican-born Ramos has a full resume, with a long list of credits that include TV's "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "Burn Notice," the films "Do the Right Thing" and "Sea of Love," and award-winning stage work.

Luis Antonio Ramos More stills

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