Jimmy Smits embraces his dark side
Bad guys have all the fun! Just ask Jimmy Smits who’s traded in his good guy roles for a diabolical turn in ‘Sons of Anarchy.’ In this week’s Clacking in Color, the amazing column celebrating minorities in Hollywood, writer Jaylen Christie gives Smits his props for staying diverse.
It seems to be an accepted fact in Hollywood that if one wants to really act then they have to be diverse. I’m always captivated when I see talented actors and actresses taking on roles that are dissimilar and poles apart from their previous work. I think this sort of thing indicates a person’s aptitude. Apparently Jimmy Smits got the memo. After starting out in a series of roles that portrayed him as a kindhearted do-gooder — including a pretty cool gig in the Star Wars prequels — it seems that Smits has finally come to the dark side.
Color me intrigued.
I’m guessing that most TV watchers may recognize Smits from his work in the 90’s drama NYPD Blue as Detective Bobby Simone. Some viewers — especially women … and, let’s be honest, maybe a few men too — enjoyed seeing the always dapper Smits on their screens, and probably didn’t give a damn about the crimes he was solving. I was too young to watch NYPD Blue. I was still learning fractions when the show was on the air and was way too concerned about the Power Rangers to care about anything Smits was up to on television. However, I am aware of his brilliant work on NBC’s stellar The West Wing. I was in high school around the time that I really started paying attention to the program. I didn’t realize that it had won so many awards, but I was privy to another interesting fact.
What I realized was that NBC had Smits, a Puerto Rican dude, in a positive primetime drama as a man working for the president … and not doing anything foul, i.e. selling drugs, running a gang or doing something else terrible. I was impressed and pleased. No, scratch that — I was awestruck. If I was appreciative then, I can only imagine how the Puerto Rican community felt. It was certainly a positive role — even more so because Smits’ character, Matt Santos, ends up the president at the end of the series. That’s certainly a step in the right direction, right?
Nowadays, however, Smits is taking a different route. He’s gone straight-up rogue … not that there’s anything wrong with that. Sometimes you have to switch it up. Did anyone catch Smits in season three of Showtime’s spine-tingling Dexter? Whew. I still get chills from his portrayal of a corrupt district attorney. I won’t lie — I was left feeling a little disturbed when his character murdered Ellen. That wasn’t right. Alas, good guys suck — at least on TV. Everyone knows that the baddies have all of the fun. That’s probably why Smits seems to be having such a good time with his guest role on FX’s critically acclaimed Sons of Anarchy. You know, I wasn’t the least bit interested in that program. It never spoke to me. However, with the inclusion of Smits, I’m inclined to check it out.
So, with four distinctive roles on TV, it’s definitely safe to say that Smits has made a name for himself in Hollywood. To that end, which one of his TV roles is my favorite?
Well, neither actually. Being a nerd, I’m partial to Star Wars. I actually just rode the ride at Disney Hollywood Studios nearly twenty times two weeks ago. To that end, I’m going to go with Smits’ role as Senator Bail Organa in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. That movie was just all kinds of awesome. However, if I had to choose a TV role … maybe I’d go with the one he had in Dexter. The creepiness factor scored Smits some cool points.
Not that he needs it. Let’s be real — when it comes to acting, Jimmy Smits has it going on. Heck, I wish I was half the actor he is. Don’t get it twisted — I’m decent, but I’m certainly not Smits. Why doesn’t this man have an Emmy? I have a theory about that … but you know what? Let’s stay positive. I find it refreshing to know that he’s contributing to the diversity on television … and that’s all Clacking in Color has ever been about — diversity. Smits is awesome and his inclusion in any TV show is guaranteed to make it stellar. Unless, it’s Cane. Remember that clunker?