Jimmy Smits has been a welcome presence in the fifth season of Sons of Anarchy, playing escort-agency owner Nero Padilla, who’s become the new love interest of Katey Saga’s Gemma. While he’s seemed like a good person from the outset, he might not stay that way for much longer.
Spinoff Online participated in a conference call in which the NYPD Blue alum discussed his character arc on the FX drama, and promised that Nero is approaching “a turn.”
“It’s coming. It’s coming quite soon,” Smits said. “It’s, you know, little hints of it … it’s coming.”
Although Nero has seemingly only done good for SAMCRO, there’s been an underlying sense of foreboding surrounding the character. Smits teased there might be some payoff to that.
“You know that he’s been involved in the penal system prior to [this season], so you know that there’s that potential that’s there,” he said. “[This season is] definitely going to take a turn. You can’t have this guy who’s this ex-gangbanger and not see a little bit of that come out. So it’s gonna, yeah, it’s going to turn.”
Asked whether that means Nero will come to blows with SAMCRO, Smits suddenly clammed up.
“I’m not going to be able to talk about that,” he hedged. “There are a lot of caveats when you talk about any kind of media outlet about not talking too much about the future and what happens story-wise. You know that he’s going to mix it up and things are going to blow up. I can’t be more specific about that.”
He continued, “It’s a pretty sure bet that the club is going to find [Nero’s business] as a financial gain for them.”
Even if Nero ends up being trouble for the club, he’s been a boon for Gemma. She’s in a worse situation with her family now than she ever has been, with Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and Tara (Maggie Siff) furious at her for nearly killing their son Abel in a car accident, but at least she has found happiness with her onscreen lover.
That likely won’t last long, considering Jax has asked Gemma to return to her estranged husband Clay (Ron Perlman), and she hasn’t yet informed Nero of the plan. But as of this moment, Gemma and Nero seem to be pretty happy. Smits said he believes he was brought in as a love interest to help Gemma regain her place in the world.
“At the end of Season 4, you very much saw the Gemma character wandering without a kind of handle to grasp onto, so I think that on some level, with the introduction of Nero, it kind of helps to right her in a certain way,” he explained.
Smits attributed his interest in joining Sons of Anarchy to his longtime girlfriend Wanda De Jesus, the woman who played Nero’s business associate Carla in Season 5. Describing her as a “diehard fan,” Smits said it was her interest in the role that convinced him he needed to accept it.
“We started watching the third season, where they did the whole Irish storyline. I think the show just jumped into another kind of gear,” he said. “It just struck me that the show is very, very cinematic in a way. They’re able to do these wonderful things.”
Sons of Anarchy airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.