Law And Order: SVU Vet Danny Pino Compares Nick Amaro To Mayans M.C. Baddie Miguel Galindo

miguel galindo mayans m.c. danny pino
(Image credit: fx press)

The line between good and evil on FX's Mayans M.C. is weathered and threadbare, as evidenced by that wild Season 1 finale, but co-creators Kurt Sutter and Elgin James have generally tipped their hat to who the protagonists and antagonists are. One of Mayans' so-called bad guys is cartel leader Miguel Galindo, as portrayed by Danny Pino, who spent years as the mostly justice-minded Detective Nick Amaro on Law & Order: SVU. Not exactly the most substitutional characters.

Danny Pino and many others from the Mayans M.C. cast, along with the co-creators, were on hand at this year's Television Critics Association summer press tour. I had the pleasure of speaking with Pino and Sarah Bolger, who plays his on-screen wife Emily. Among other questions directly related to the chaotic second season premiering in September, I asked the actor for his thoughts on Miguel and Amaro coming face-to-face, and how that would go. First, his more amusing take:

I think they would...recognize each other. [Laughs.] Like a game of mirrors, yeah. It'd be really meta. I think they'd really freak the hell out.

It would truly be a scene straight out of Twin Peaks, as co-revised by Kurt Sutter and Dick Wolf. Which itself sounds like a David Lynch creation.

law and order svu nick amaro in hospital

Danny Pino followed that surreal scenario with a more genuine take that speaks to Miguel Galindo and Nick Amaro perhaps being on opposite ends of the same tempered coin.

They share a lot of traits, man. I think Nick is very street-smart, right? I think Miguel is very strategic and book-smart, and in that way, they would match up well. Where one has strengths, the other one is weak. Where the other one has weakness, they show their strengths.

At that point, Sarah Bolger joked about it turning into a buddy comedy between the cartel leader and the (now-former) detective. Clearly, that idea would interesting enough for at least a limited series' episode count. Call it Amaro & Galindo: SVUMC. (Note to self: that title is probably perfect enough.)

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All joking aside, though, Danny Pino likely has more appreciation for his place in life than either Nick Amaro or Miguel Galindo do with theirs. Amaro's impulsive anger blocked him from ascending the police ranks, while Miguel has just enough of a moral code to keep him from fully reveling in his criminal enterprises. He's not exactly crying about living in a super-dope house, but the life is weighing on him going into Season 2.

Here, Danny Pino talked about the graciousness he feels:

No, man, listen, I've been super-fortunate to play two characters who are very well-written and complicated. Exploring the gray area in both characters has been my great, good fortune.

Another comparison can be found here. Both Law & Order: SVU and Mayans M.C. are spinoffs to two of the most popular dramas on broadcast networks and cable, respectively. Now, if only FX, Kurt Sutter and Elgin James could find ways to keep Mayans on the air for 21 seasons like SVU. If It's Always Sunny can go 14 seasons, it's at least looking into keeping Mayans around that long, assuming the characters could stay alive that long.

Judging by the show's first trailer for Season 2, survival may be extremely hard to maintain.

Get ready to watch Danny Pino (and Sarah Bolger and the rest of the cast) get even more down and dirty when the mud starts flying in Season 2, which will debut on FX on (Teller) Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.