NEW YORK -- First, there was the "Sons of Anarchy," a hit show about a California motorcycle club.
Then came the series titled "Mayans M.C." Now, after five seasons, the spin-off comes to a close Wednesday night with a two-hour finale on FX.
"Mayans M.C." follows the life of Ezekiel "EZ" Reyes who is the president of the outlaw bike gang that operates on the border between California and Mexico. They are rivals to the "Sons of Anarchy," but hardly united. In fact, the tension between EZ and his brother is at the heart of the final episode.
The members of the "Mayans" motorcycle club are taking their last ride, and for the guy who has played "EZ" for so long, this is a bittersweet moment.
"Spending a lot of time with the character and being known as that character, it becomes a piece of you. So, letting it go is tough," said J.D. Pardo, "EZ" on "Mayans M.C."
Tough, because the leader of the club is such an angry man.
"I didn't realize the kind of toll that it takes on you: physically and mentally to be in a certain space for five years," he said. "I have to go through a sort of cleansing process of getting that out of my head the characteristics of EZ because I've lived in it for so long."
The intense finale doesn't make that any easier due to what the guy in charge calls a "nuclear wasteland of emotional consequences."
"It's like a death, right? You're killing a part of yourself off: putting it to rest and just letting go," Pardo said.
In an interview taped before the current actors strike, Pardo told me good chemistry between the actors is one reason the show lasted.
Fine writing is another and, "FX is a place for artists we have a huge fan base with 'Sons of Anarchy.'"
His goal was to build on that base.
"I always felt like we were being handed the baton, and I just want to take and add to it," Pardo said. "I didn't want to be a karaoke version of 'Sons'. I didn't want to be a quote-unquote Latino version of 'Sons.' I wanted to be our own show."
Mission accomplished! This is that rare spin-off that is every bit as good as the original series. It's for adults, often violent, but very compelling. The two-hour finale airs Wednesday night on FX and then streams starting Thursday on Hulu. Both are owned by the parent company of ABC 7.