Torres was the first half-human, half-Klingon character to have a major role in a Star Trek series. Though other half-human, half-Klingon characters like Worf’s son Alexander and his mother K’Ehleyr had recurring roles in Star Trek: The Next Generation, neither of them were major characters. Torres’s character arc explored being bispecies in a much deeper, and often darker, way than in any previous Star Trek series.
Dawson’s portrayal of Torres was also groundbreaking because she was the first Latina actress to play a presumably Latina major character in the Star Trek universe. As TrekMovie.com pointed out, before Torres, Star Trek had a few minor Latina and Latino characters, but never a major one. Though Torres’s human heritage is never specifically clarified, her name has always been interpreted as an indication that the character was Latina.
Since Voyager ended, Dawson has been busy with a variety of different projects. Here’s what she’s up to these days.
Though Dawson continued to act after Voyager ended, her passion for directing led her to pursue a career largely behind the camera instead of in front. Like many other Star Trek actors turned directors, Dawson got her start behind the camera on Voyager. She directed the episodes “Riddles” and “Workforce Part II.”
Once Voyager wrapped Dawson dove into directing with fervor. In the early 2000s, she directed single episodes for multiple television series as well as 10 episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. In the latter half of the 2000s, her directing career really took off. Dawson directed 12 episodes of the hit crime drama Crossing Jordan and eight episodes of Cold Case. She also directed multiple episodes of Heroes, The Closer, The Mentalist and The Good Wife.
More recently, she’s directed episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Bates Motel, House of Cards, The Americans and This is Us. In 2019, Dawson directed her first movie, entitled Breakthrough. The drama follows a mother whose son had a near-death experience. The movie was critically acclaimed and nominated for several awards.
In the early 2000s, Dawson was also hard at work on a series of science-fiction novels called the Tenebrea Trilogy. The books, which she co-authored with Daniel Graham, follow the adventures of Andrea Flores, a Latina woman whose planet was destroyed by a terrorist attack. After the attack, Flores joins the Tenebrea, an “elite fighting force of the star-spanning Alliance.” Though the novels have a striking Star Trek vibe, they present a much darker and more mysterious vision for the future of the galaxy.
So far, the trilogy is Dawson’s only foray into novel-writing. Most of her focus has been on her directing career.
Dawson has two children, one biological daughter with her husband, Eric Dawson, and one adoptive daughter from China. As Dawson’s professional website indicates, she’s passionate about adoption and adoptive rights. She also spoke about this passion with The Daily Signal in 2019.
In that same interview, Dawson spoke about her faith as a Catholic and how this has informed her worldview, her career, and her parenting. She talked about how Hollywood is a very secular place, which can be difficult for people of faith. Dawson said that she’s allowed her faith to guide her to the right opportunities, which is how she ended up making Breakthrough.
Though she’s often busy with her career, Dawson’s family and her beliefs are paramount in her life.
Currently, Dawson is working on The Foundation, a sci-fi drama by Apple TV.
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