Danny Pino, 45, plays against type as drug cartel boss Miguel Galindo in Mayans M.C. (Season 1 out now on DVD). Watch the trailer below.
After years of playing law enforcement officers was it nice to cross back over to the dark side?
I’m very grateful for the time I spent playing Scotty Valens [on Cold Case] and Nick Amaro [on Law & Order: SVU] – both those characters taught me a lot. What was appealing to me about Miguel specifically and Mayans M.C. in general was the challenge of jumping on the other side of the law.
Were you conscious of needing to do something different and not play another detective?
Absolutely. Playing Miguel was a very deliberate decision on my part. I was looking for something I felt uneasy with, where I would wake up every morning and not know how a scene was going to go. That type of anxiety is positive – it inspires a certain amount of challenge you have to rise to.
How would you categorise Miguel?
Even though he is on the other side of the law I don’t consider him a villain. He inherited his position from his father and his calculus for taking over was to legitimise the business. He feels like he is a catalyst for change. And the violence done in his name or that he orders is a by-product of that business – it’s not that he enjoys it. He’s in a difficult situation and needs to protect his family, and showing weakness would compromise that.
Were you disappointed not to get to ride a motorbike in a show about a motorbike club?
Definitely. There’s a certain amount of freedom the guys feel when they’re on their bikes. Every now and then I’ll watch them ride into a scene and think, “That looks cool.” But it’s not too bad to get out of a Rolls Royce, either.
And Miguel has a great wardrobe, too …
It’s interesting how instantaneous it is once you put on the clothes, how you start feeling the character. I stand differently, my posture changes and the way I walk is slightly different, and that’s because of what he wears. We’re pretty meticulous with what we choose to put on Miguel.