The actor gave a standout performance on the FX motorcycle club drama's first season as cartel boss Miguel Galindo. With the series already renewed for a second season, Pino continues to reflect on how the show's authenticity led to its high ratings.
"I don't know if I ever really celebrated. I just want to keep working," Pino joked to Entertainment Tonight, adding that he and the cast aren't "resting" on viewership numbers, despite their gratitude. "Like, 'OK, we've now set a bar for ourselves. How do we surpass that? How do we dig deeper? How do we make the show and the characters and storylines more interesting and more relevant?' That's our task.'"
The first season of Mayans picked up four years after the events of the Sons of Anarchy series finale, which was also created by mastermind Kurt Sutter.
The flagship series' success and strong fan base helped Mayans at first, but Pino said the new show is its own strong story.
"We know it's special," he said, also highlighting the rarity of a compelling, mainstream television show featuring a mostly Hispanic cast. "A lot of these actors, I've seen in waiting rooms for auditions. We've gone out for the same roles all the time, and now we're part of the same team.... We're all pushing each other, we're all digging deep to find the reality of this world that Kurt is putting us in. And we all know how special a moment in time it is for all of us to be part of a show that's well-written, current, and it is not insignificant that it's mostly Latino."
He added: "Sons of Anarchy, they set the table for us in a big way, and we all pay our respects to those seven years of SOA and to the fans of that show. We know we have an elevated platform because of it. But at a certain point, you have to swim on your own, and you have to swim into the deep.... Now it's time to grab that baton and run our own race."
Mayans was renewed for its second season back in October, just a few weeks into its first season. The show's strong performance week-to-week solidified its status as the No. 1 new cable drama series in 2018.
Pino said he is not yet privy to where the series might go after its explosive season one finale, but he hopes the series continues to maintain the "authenticity" that makes it standout from other series.
"The writers are masters at manipulating not only the story, but each character, so that they're attuned to each character's authenticity. And that can keep you guessing," he told the outlet. "They're pushing for authenticity. They want to see the complexity that we all have. We all have that hero and that villain in us."