Prashant Gupta/FX
Mandi Bierly
November 08, 2012 AT 11:41 PM EST

All season we’ve been waiting to see the other side of Nero Padilla on Sons of Anarchy, and Jimmy Smits says it’s finally time. “It’s comin’, like soon,” he told reporters in a conference call earlier today. “What I think is [SOA creator Kurt Sutter’s] strong suit in terms of writing is that he lays the groundwork and then blows it up so that nothing is what it really seems. It’s definitely gonna take a turn. You can’t have this guy who’s an ex-gangbanger and not see a little bit of that come out.”

Smits has enjoyed the slow build, making Nero a three-dimensional character who’s decent, levelheaded, and has a sense of humor (even in a cemetery). “I always try to find a little glimmer of that in anything that I do, because I think those little glimmers — finding places where there’s humor or lightness in something that’s deep and profound — makes people more human. I think that that resonates more with the audience [then] when you do have the turn and the payoff,” Smits said. “It’s great to be able to play the ‘bad guy’ role, because you always get a lot to do, but I’m always looking at the why — how does a person get to that particular point. And it’s those little cogs in the wheel that make it interesting for me to play, and ultimately, I hope, for the audience to be engaged with. That [turn] is gonna happen. That’s part of the schematic of the show, right? So hopefully the audience will understand why, so when you talk about things like violence, which are guideposts for this particular series, it’s justified more.”

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