Sons of Anarchy will be seeing a season-long visit from an NYPD Blue alum, but this time we’ll be seeing him on the other side of the law. Jimmy Smits has signed on for a major arc expected to run throughout next season of the FX drama, and he won’t be wearing a badge this time around.

Smits, who played a man with a truly dark side as Miguel Prado on Dexter, picked up an Emmy nod for the part. This time, Deadline says Smits will be taking on the role of a tattoo-covered gangbanger named Neron “Nero” Padilla. The look is very different from the clean-cut image we’re used to on Smits, who even as darkly dangerous Prado still looked sauve and wore a clean, normal front. This time he’s a dangerous man who will apparently become something of a mentor to Jax on Sons of Anarchy, which has all sorts of interesting possibilities considering the leadership role Jax was moving towards at the end of Season 4. That arc was generally confirmed on the PaleyFest panel recently.

Smits has proven he can handle dark and dangerous roles, and although his characters usually find him in a suit, I have no trouble envisioning him in gangsta attire, or in the role itself. Certainly he is a strong addition to any cast he joins, and the Sons of Anarchy cast is strong already. This can only be a good thing and sounds like a promising addition to the fifth season.

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