(written from a Production point of view)
Regular and recurring roles
Sierra was a main cast member on the police comedy series Barney Miller during the show's first two seasons (1975-1976), on which he portrayed Detective Sergeant Chano Amenguale. Ron Glass was also a regular on this series, and James Gregory made frequent recurring appearances.
Sierra is also known for his recurring roles on the comedy series Sanford and Son (as Puerto Rican neighbor Julio Fuentes) and Soap (as anti-Communist revolutionary Carlos "El Puerco" Valdez). On the latter series, he worked with such performers as Hamilton Camp, Robert Costanzo, and Eugene Roche.
In addition, Sierra was the series lead on the short-lived 1978 television sitcom A.E.S. Hudson Street. His co-stars on this series included fellow Star Trek alumni Rosana DeSoto, Stefan Gierasch, and Allan Miller.
In 1983, Sierra worked opposite Star Trek: Voyager guest actor Henry Darrow on the short-lived CBS comedy series Zorro and Son. Sierra and Darrow previously worked together when Sierra made an appearance on the western series The High Chaparral, on which Darrow was a regular.
Sierra was a regular on the action/drama series Miami Vice when the show began in 1984. He portrayed Lt. Lou Rodriguez, Detective Sonny Crockett's superior. After only four episodes, however, Sierra asked to be written out of the series. Among the performers he worked with during his short time on this series were Ron Taylor and Bill Smitrovich.
In 1988, Sierra was a regular on NBC's short-lived science fiction series Something Is Out There. His most recent series was the sitcom Common Law, which ran briefly in 1996.
Other television credits
Sierra appeared in three episodes of Mission: Impossible: two with Leonard Nimoy in 1970 and one with William Shatner in 1972. Sierra also guest-starred as a Jewish radical on an episode of the acclaimed comedy series All in the Family in 1973, along with John Putch.
In 1973, Vincent McEveety directed Sierra in a two-part episode of the western series Gunsmoke. Sierra made a return to the series in 1975, under the direction of McEveety's brother, Bernard, and working with John Colicos.
Before they worked together on Barney Miller, Sierra and Voyager guest actor Ron Glass were guest stars on a 1973 episode of Hawaii Five-O. The following year, Sierra guest-starred on NBC two police dramas starring Star Trek alumni: McCloud (starring Ken Lynch, in an episode with Teri Garr, Michael Pataki, and Eugene Roche) and Petrocelli (starring Susan Howard).
Between 1985 and 1995, Sierra guest-starred on six episodes of Murder, She Wrote, three of which had him playing Police Lieutenant Gabriel Caceras. Among the actors he worked with on this series were Ed Bakey, Kim Darby, Cliff DeYoung, Jerry Hardin, Gregg Henry, Richard Herd, Sally Kellerman, Richard Libertini, Laurence Luckinbill, and Dan Shor.
Sierra has guest-starred in two episodes of Cagney & Lacey, one with Janet MacLachlan and another with Brock Peters. He was also seen in three episodes of MacGyver, including one with Bruce McGill in 1986.
Since then, he has appeared on such sitcoms as Growing Pains (with Kenneth Tigar), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (starring James Avery), and Ellen (with Dan Gauthier), as well as two back-to-back episodes of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman in 1994 (working with Chad Allen, J.G. Hertzler, and Leland Orser). In addition, he played Dr. Diamond in the fourth episode of The X-Files, entitled "The Jersey Devil".
Sierra also has several made-for-TV movies to his credit. Among the most notable are: the 1974 Columbo segment Publish or Perish (directed by Robert Butler and co-starring Mariette Hartley); Kenny Rogers as The Gambler: The Adventure Continues (1983; with Mitch Ryan); Her Secret Life (1987; with James Sloyan and Cliff DeYoung); Desperado: Badlands Justice (1989; with John Rhys-Davies, James B. Sikking, and Robert O'Reilly); and Unspeakable Acts (1990; with Mark Harelik, Bebe Neuwirth, and Paul Eiding).
Sierra's first two films opened in the United States in May of 1970. The first was the comedy/drama Getting Straight, in which he played the role of Garcia. This was followed by his role as Verger in 1970's Beneath the Planet of the Apes, the first sequel in the successful Planet of the Apes science fiction franchise. The former film also featured Jon Lormer and John Rubinstein, while James Gregory had a supporting role in the latter. Jeff Corey appeared in both films.
Next, Sierra worked with John Colicos and Nehemiah Persoff in the 1971 drama Red Sky at Morning. Sierra and Colicos again worked together in the 1972 western film The Wrath of God, which also starred Frank Langella.
Sierra had a supporting role in the 1971 western film Machismo: 40 Graves for 40 Guns, along with Stanley Adams and Lilyan Chauvin. Following roles in such films as Pocket Money (1972) and The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973), Sierra appeared in the acclaimed 1973 film Papillon. This film also featured Bill Mumy, William Smithers, Ron Soble, Vic Tayback, and Anthony Zerbe in supporting roles. That same year, Sierra appeared in another film with Anthony Zerbe, The Laughing Policeman. Joanna Cassidy also had a role in this film.
Sierra played Carlos the bartender in the 1974 disaster film, The Towering Inferno. He was also directed by Vincent McEveety in 1974's The Castaway Cowboy. His subsequent film credits included Mean Dog Blues (1978; with Marc Alaimo, Gregg Henry, and William Windom) and The Prisoner of Zenda (1979; with Ian Abercrombie).
Sierra appeared in two film spoofs from director Jim Abrahams: Hot Shots! Part Deux in 1993 and Jane Austen's Mafia! in 1998. Both of these films featured Andreas Katsulas; the former had Miguel Ferrer and the aforementioned Mitch Ryan, as well.
In John Carpenter's Vampires (1998), Sierra portrayed Father Giovanni, a priest who assisted the film's main character, Jack Crow, in destroying vampires before being killed himself. This film also featured Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as another member of Crow's team. Sierra's other film credits during the 1990s include Deep Cover (1992; with Clarence Williams III), Honey I Blew Up the Kid (1992; with Ron Canada and Kenneth Tobey), A Low Down Dirty Shame (1994; with Salli Elise Richardson), and The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit (1998; with Clifton Collins, Jr.).