Alcalá’s first major break came in 1991 when he was hired by Chris Chulack to direct an episode of ABC’s short lived drama series Homefront. In 1992 he served as a cinematographer for the series I’ll Fly Away. He reprised the role for the second season in fall 1992 and also directed the episode “Small Wishes”. In 1994 he directed episodes of ER, NYPD Blue, Earth 2, The Byrds of Paradise, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. and The New Adventures of Superman. For ER he directed the first season episode “The Gift”. ER was executive produced by John Wells and this marked the beginning of a long collaboration.
In 1995 he returned to ER to direct the second season episode “Do One, Teach One, Kill One”. He also directed episodes of Space: Above and Beyond, Sliders and The Great Defender in 1995. He directed the second season ER episode “Fire in the Belly” in Spring 1996. Also in 1996 he directed the television feature Deadly Pursuits and episodes of L.A. Firefighters. In 1997 he helmed the television feature Justice League of America, the film Fire Down Below and episodes of Roar, Michael Hayes and Profiler. He directed the third season ER episode “Whose Appy Now?” in Spring 1997.
In fall 1997 he returned to ER to helm the fourth season episode “Friendly Fire”. In 1998 he directed the television feature The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and an episode of Maximum Bob.
In fall 1998 he joined the crew of new Fox series Brimstone as a co-executive producer. He directed the pilot and three further episodes of the first season. The show was cancelled in 1999 after airing thirteen episodes. In Spring 1999 he directed the fifth season ER episode “Sticks and Stones”.
In fall 1999 he returned to ER to helm the sixth season episode “Last Rites” and joined the crew of Wells’ new emergency services drama Third Watch as a director. He helmed the first season Third Watch episodes “Responsible Parties” and “Impulse”. In 2000 he directed the television feature M.K.3 and the pilot of short-lived drama The Strip.
In fall 2000 he returned to Third Watch to direct the second season episodes “Four Days”, “Kim’s Hope Chest” and “Run of the Mill”. In Spring 2001 he helmed the seventh season ER episode “Surrender” and the second season Third Watch episodes “A Rock and A Hard Place” and “Unfinished Business”. He won the ALMA Award for Outstanding Director of a Drama Series in 2001 for his work on Third Watch.
In fall 2001 he returned to ER to direct the eighth season episode “Never Say Never” and Third Watch to direct third season episode “After Time”. He returned to the third season of Third Watch in early 2002, helming the episodes “Sex, Lies & Videotape”, “Thicker Than Water” and “The Unforgiven”.
In fall 2002 he directed the ninth season ER episode “Walk Like a Man”. He directed the pilot episode of For the People. The show ran for eighteen episodes before cancellation. Also in 2002 he directed episodes of John Doe, Hack and Taken and the television feature Flashpoint. In early 2003 he directed the fourth season Third Watch episodes “Castles of Sand”, “10-13” and “Closing In”, an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and the second season The Shield episode “Breakpoint”.
In fall 2003 he directed the tenth season ER episode “Death and Taxes”, the third season premiere of The Guardian entitled “Carnival”, a later third season episode of The Guardian entitled “Let God Sort ‘Em Out”, the fifth season Third Watch episode “My Opening Farewell”. In Spring 2004 he helmed the fifth season Third Watch episodes “Sleeping Dogs Lie” and “Spanking the Monkey”, the third season The Shield episode “Posse Up” and the CSI: Miami episode “Invasion”.
In fall 2004 he directed episodes of LAX and Hawaii. In early 2005 he directed the sixth season Third Watch episode “Revelations”, two episodes of Johnny Zero and an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Third Watch ended with the sixth season and Alcala contributed 18 episodes over the course of its run.
In fall 2005 he directed episodes of Surface, Las Vegas and the CBS procedural Criminal Minds. For Criminal Minds he helmed the first season episode “Derailed”. Also in 2005 he directed the pilot episode of the short lived crime drama Wanted. In early 2006 he returned to direct a further episode of Criminal Minds (“Charm and Harm”) and Las Vegas. He also directed episodes of Threshold, House and The Unit. In summer 2006 he directed two episodes of Blade: The Series. In fall 2006 he directed the second season Criminal Minds episode “The Perfect Storm”, the two part third season Battlestar Galactica episode “Exodus” and an episode of Point Pleasant. He returned to the second season of Criminal Minds in Spring 2007 to direct the episode “Open Season”. He also served as a co-executive producer for the short lived crime drama Raines and directed two episodes of the show. In 2007, Alcalá was nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards for directing the Battlestar Galactica episode “Exodus, Part II”.
In fall 2007 he returned to ER to direct the fourteenth season episode “The Test”, to Criminal Minds to direct the third season episodes “Scared to Death” and “Penelope” and to Las Vegas to direct the fifth season episode “It’s Not Easy Being Green”. He also directed episodes of Cane and K-Ville and the television feature Battlestar Galactica: Razor in this period. Cut footage from Razor was used to create a series of webisodes entitled Battlestar Galactica: Razor Flashbacks. In Spring 2008 he directed an episode of Women’s Murder Club and returned to the third season of Criminal Minds to direct the episode “A Higher Power”. Las Vegas was cancelled after completing its fifth season in summer 2008, Alcala directed three episodes for the show.
In fall 2008 he directed two episode of The Cleaner, an episode of My Own Worst Enemy, an episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and returned to Criminal Minds to direct the fourth season episode “Minimal Loss”. In Spring 2009 he helmed the first season Dollhouse episode “Needs”, the second season Breaking Bad episode “Negro Y Azul” and returned to the fourth season of Criminal Minds to direct the episode “House on Fire”. ER concluded in summer 2009 after fifteen seasons, Alcala directed twelve episodes of the series over the course of its run. Over summer 2009 he directed episodes of In Plain Sight and Burn Notice.
In fall 2009 he returned to Criminal Minds to direct the fifth season episodes “Hopeless” and “Retaliation.
THE GOOD WIFE
In spring 2010 he also joined the crew of The Good Wife as a director for the first season. He helmed the episodes “Heart” and “Doubt”.
In fall 2010 returned to The Good Wife to direct the second season episode “Taking Control”. In early 2011 he directed the second season The Good Wife episodes “Breaking Up” and “In Sickness”.
In fall 2011 he rejoined The Good Wife to direct the third season episode “Marthas and Caitlins”.
DURING THE GOOD WIFE
He also joined the crew of Wells’ productions crime drama SouthLAnd as a director for the second season in Spring 2010. He helmed the episode “What Makes Sammy Run?”. In this period he also directed an episode of SGU Stargate Universe. Over summer 2010 he directed single episodes of Covert Affairs, The Forgotten and Make It or Break It.
In fall 2010 he joined the crew of Blue Bloods as a director for the first season, debuting with the episode “What You See”. He also directed episodes of Castle and NCIS: Los Angeles. In early 2011 he also directed the first season Blue Bloods episode “Age of Innocence” and an episode of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. He returned as a director for the third season of SouthLAnd in summer 2011 and directed the episode “Code 4”. Also in summer 2011 he directed two further episodes of Covert Affairs and an episode of Suits.
In fall 2011 he returned to Criminal Minds to direct seventh season episode “Dorado Falls”, and Blue Bloods to direct the second season episode “Lonely Hearts Club”. He remained a director for the fourth season of SouthLAnd in 2012 and helmed the episode “Community”.
During the 2013-2014 season he continued to direct episodes of The Good Wife, Covert Affairs, Gang related, Resurrection, State of Affairs and is booked through the 2015 season.