LOS ANGELES – When Danny Pino went in for his first wardrobe fitting for “Mayans M.C.” he was presented with two racks of suits.
He looked at the material of each. He examined the cuts and, “more often than not,” he says, he came back to three-piece offerings. “The vests emulate the cuts of the Mayans,” he says. “It’s very deliberate. He’s looking for power.”
As the boss of a powerful drug cartel, Pino says he feels the weight of the role the minute he suits up.
“I think is wardrobe is very much part of who he is and makes him stand out,” Pino says. “It says a lot that he dresses the way he dresses and gets driven around in a Rolls-Royce.”
In real life, “I’m not really a suit guy. I’m more of a T-shirt and jeans guy,” the 45-year-old says.
Still, the collection is pretty impressive. Pino rattles off the names of the suits’ designers and admits they’re great to wear – even if the show’s producers won’t let him don them off the set.
Miguel Galindo, his character, is a bundle of conflicts. “He was largely raised in the United States, which is why he doesn’t have an accent and speaks English fluently,” Pino explains. “But he also speaks Spanish. His parents sent him off to boarding school in the U.S. to protect him from the volatility of his father’s world. And then he comes home and he’s the next in line to succeed him. He takes over with the goal of legitimizing the business.”
A cartel boss who’s Ivy League-educated? “Who is that guy?” Pina says. “How does he think? How does he behave? Is he able to threaten and terrorize people as well? That’s what’s interesting.”
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Although Pino’s resume is filled with plenty of law enforcement officials, he wanted something different after “Law & Order: SVU.” “I deliberately went looking for something like this.”
Now, in the second seasons of “Mayans,” Pino has a chance to dabble in politics and play games with those in power.
“I get an opportunity to be in scenes with the Mayans, but I’m still in the back of a Rolls-Royce,” he says. “That’s OK. I’m so square in real life – and I love my life, I wouldn’t change a thing.
“I think people like the show because there’s this yearning for freedom that a motorcycle symbolizes – that outlaw quality.”
Miguel, Pino says, offers himself something more – duality.
“You see somebody who is struggling to achieve a level of legitimacy, to further himself from the illicit business and try and transition to a place where he’s not involved in illegality. I think that’s a struggle.
“I think that is a defense mechanism on his part – to exude power, perhaps even when he’s the most powerless.”
Even in a three-piece suit.