Esai Manuel Morales Jr. (born October 1, 1962) is an American actor. He has had notable roles in the films Bad Boys with Sean Penn and La Bamba with Lou Diamond Phillips (1987). His television roles include the PBS 2002 drama series American Family, the Showtime series Resurrection Blvd. (2000–2002), portraying Lt. Tony Rodriguez on NYPD Blue (2001–2004), Joseph Adama in the science fiction series Caprica (2009–2010), Camino del Rio in the Netflix original series Ozark (2017) and as the DC Comics villain Deathstroke / Slade Wilson in the superhero series Titans (2018).
Morales will appear as the main antagonist in the 2023 spy action film Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One opposite Tom Cruise, a role which he will reprise in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two in 2024.
Morales is a vegetarian. He has a daughter, born in 2010.Morales' first name is frequently used in crossword puzzles, because its rare construction makes it a prize for crossword constructors (it is a four-letter word in English that is 75 percent vowels, including the first and last letters). One crossword clue website estimated that between 1994 and 2016, "ESAI" had been used as a crossword answer over 100 times in American papers such as The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.
Of Puerto Rican descent, Morales was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Esai Morales Sr., a welder, and Iris Margarita (née Declet), a union activist involved with the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Morales began his pursuit of an acting career by attending the School of Performing Arts in Manhattan.