- "You pochos wanted me back, huh? Orale. I'm back."
- ―Nero, to his old gang
Neron 'Nero' Padilla is a co-owner of an escort agency with an exit strategy on the FX original series Sons of Anarchy. Played by American actor Jimmy Smits, Nero makes his debut on the episode "Sovereign" in the series' fifth season. A mentor for Jax Teller, he was also in a relationship with Gemma Teller Morrow. Playing a recurring role through the series' fifth, sixth, and seventh seasons, Nero was last seen in the series' finale episode, "Papa's Goods", in the series' seventh, and final, season.
Twenty-five years earlier he started a street crew with his cousin called the Byz Lats. He was also in a relationship that resulted in a son named Lucius who developed a spinal disease due to his mother's drug use. He spent his 30s in Chino Prison and with most of his crew locked up or dead, he turned his life around. When he got out of prison, he started in an escort service called Diosa with the help of his half-sister Carla and had been running it five years in Stockton. At 42, he underwent triple bypass surgery and has a scar on his upper chest.
He is first seen having sex with Gemma at his home with two other naked women, while she is under the influence, and when she wakes up, she doesn't remember a thing and pulls her gun on him. He explains what had happened and tells her she was the one who had sex with the other women. He gives her his business card for the address, tells her to call a cab and leaves. Gemma then drops by and they are officially introduced to each other. After a brief chat, Gemma's cab arrives. She returns Nero's business card as she gets up to leave. He flips it over to find her name and her phone number. Later she asks him to house Jax, and the other members, at his agency while they are running from the law. ("Sovereign")
Nero takes Jax for a ride and on the way stops by to see his disabled son. They then get followed by One Niner's and Nero runs them into a dumpster, explaining to Jax "I don't get out much."
Gemma goes to Nero' s place and asks "Is this ok?" He responds by pulling her into his place as they make out against the wall. ("Authority Vested")
Gemma awakens in Nero's bed again and he comes over just as he is about to come and lay with her the secretary breaks in. Later, Clay stops by Nero's Escort Place to find Gemma and ends up hitting on Emma Jean. When Gemma comes over Nero tells her he left just as Juice comes out laughing with Nero's secretary, Carla. Gemma bursts into a room where Clay is sitting on the bed, then the young girl walks out and Gemma takes her down as Nero breaks in. After that, Nero walks in and finds Gemma sitting on the couch chugging what looks to be vodka and pot. He then says she should slow down, Gemma says "So, you're telling me what to do now?" He gives a witty answer and Gemma tells him that it was out of anger and that she no longer has any love for Clay. His hand is rested upon her knee and she lays her hand on top. At the very end, we see Gemma sleeping alone and cops breaking in and arresting her while they have Nero pinned on the ground. ("Laying Pipe")
As Nero is bailing his girls out, Gemma is released from jail. They exchange brief conversation and are shown exiting from the jail, holding hands. Nero & Gemma arrive at his Agency, where he finds his business trashed. On the counter, a sealed envelope sits reading "Nero". Upon reading, Nero crumples up the letter and exclaims, "Eviction Notice. We're out at the end of the week."
Jax, Chibs, and two of Nero's gangbangers show up at Nero's agency to find the aftermath. The gangbangers tell Nero that Emma Jean, the worker whom Gemma previously caught with Clay, turned information to Vice. The gangbangers want to find Emma Jean, but Nero tells them he will handle it. He then tells Jax, if he really wants to help, will he find Emma Jean and get her out of town.
After Emma Jean is found, Nero meets Jax at the SAMCRO clubhouse to hear from Jax he was ambushed at the hotel by the same gangbangers from before. Nero realizes only one other person knew where Emma Jean was, Carla. As Carla is held in the garage, away from phones, Nero gets Emma Jean on a plane and back home.
Nero arrives back at the clubhouse and is met by Gemma in an embrace, with Clay watching. Jax approaches Nero and asks to 'bounce something off of him'. As Nero and Jax are discussing business, Nero reveals his end game is 1.3 million dollars, just enough money to buy a piece of property from his uncle (a farm for his son). He explains to Jax that he is not close to his goal, but wonders why Jax is asking. Jax offers Nero a deal to pay the startup costs on a new Agency at a different location, using girls that were previously employed at the Sons' Porn industry, and split the profit with Nero 50/50. This deal would come at a cost, though. In agreement with this deal, Nero must leave Gemma alone. After a quick thought, Nero agrees and shakes Jax's hand. At the end of the episode, Nero is seen helping beaten Carla into a truck, ignoring Gemma, carrying out the first step in the deal made with Jax. ("Stolen Huffy")
Nero is confronted by Gemma regarding his distance, to which he brushes off with being busy opening a new location. After a brief conversation is exchanged, Gemma tells Nero "Good, I guess that means you will be around more." Nero, again, brushes this comment off. Gemma curiously asks Nero what his deal is. A slight scuffle ensues and Gemma winds up pushed against the wall. She says, "Don't." and Nero's anger is turned to passion as they begin to kiss. Nero stops suddenly and tells Gemma he can't. After being questioned by Gemma as to why he can't "do this", Nero falls silent and Gemma says "Jax..." ("Orca Shrugged")
Nero is seen rushing into Gemma's home where Carla has Gemma by gunpoint upstairs. Nero begins speaking to Carla in Spanish, to which she says, "No baby, in English, I don't want her to miss a thing." Carla demands Nero to undress, Nero declines and Carla points the gun at Gemma. Nero then reaches for a gun tucked away in the back of his jeans. Carla demands the gun from Nero. After Nero and Gemma are undressed and in the bed, Carla demands that Gemma perform oral sex on Nero. Gemma climbs under the cover, whimpering and breaks down into full sobbing. Nero jumps out of the bed and tells Carla he isn't doing this. He then turns around, taunting Carla to shoot him instead. Carla puts the gun down and then says to Nero, "I'm sorry. I just wanted to go out watching you do your thing." then shoots herself in the side of the head.
As Nero is praying over Carla's dead body, Gemma is seen comforting him. Nero explains to Gemma that when he learned he had a half-sister, he picked her up and put her in Rehab. It was Carla who helped Nero "turn legit"; however, she was in love with Nero. When Nero started seeing Gemma, it stirred up old feelings within Carla.
After Nero returns from leaving Gemma to clean up the mess, he is met by Clay, instead of Gemma. Clay tells Nero that Gemma is not home and then begins to grill him about the relationship between Nero & Gemma. Clay wants to know if this relationship is going to go somewhere, to which Nero replies, "I don't know." ("Small World")
Nero is called by Gemma, to a low budget hotel, where she has been robbed by a one night stand, with her car stolen and left stranded. Nero tells Jax and they all rush to the hotel. After Jax and Gemma exchange words, Gemma says to Nero, "That is why I called you. I don't need this." Nero then pulls Jax to the side and explains that in times like these, Gemma needs family. Nero also puts in a call to the Arman's in search for Gemma's vehicle. Although it is obvious to Nero, Gemma had sex with someone else. It is never mentioned or brought up within their relationship.
After the vehicle is found, Nero, Jax and the boys rush to Gemma's car. After a pursuit, the car is stopped. The young man who stole Gemma's car runs. Nero and Jax begin roughing him up and removing all the items in his pockets. When the boy turns to walk away, he shouts, "Can we call this even?" Nero raises his shades, replies, "No, it ain't even." Lowers his shades and walks away.
Later, Nero tracks down the guy who stole Gemma's vehicle and he beats him severely. Making good on his promise, he then says, "Now. We call it even." ("Toad's Wild Ride"). After a school shooting committed by one of the Byz Lat's stepsons, Nero is eventually charged with the assault. In a later episode, one of his girls is killed by Toric, who then sets the blame up for Nero. When charged, Patterson agrees to let Nero free of the charges if he gives up the source of the gun used in the shooting. Nero lies and states that he was the source, and not SAMCRO. He is eventually let free when Toric is found guilty.
In a later episode, an intoxicated Juice admits to killing the mother of the child shooter, Darvany; as ordered by Jax. This infuriates Nero as Jax lied to him, stating it was not his call. When confronted by Nero, Jax sees Juice as a betrayer and Juice hides.
Nero serves as a peacemaker between the Sons and the Mayans, getting back in good with Jax and Gemma despite his bitterness towards Jax for lying about not killing Darvany. When tensions begin to rise during the war between SAMCRO, the Lin Triad and Marks' crew, Nero decides to buy a farm for him and Lucius and invites Gemma to bring Abel and Thomas in order to get away from the bloodshed and sells his half of the Diosa ownership to Marcus Alvarez to further prepare his leave.
In the episode "Suits of Woe", Jax confesses the truth that Gemma was responsible for killing Tara when Nero refuses to help Jax find Gemma unless he knows what is going on. Nero is left in shock at the revelation and tells Gemma that she needs to leave as he sits on the curb and cries. Later that night, Nero consoles Jax as he cries and wonders how Gemma could murder Tara as Nero advises him not to kill Gemma as a child killing his own mother is a wound too deep to heal.
In the penultimate episode of the series, Nero frantically searches for Gemma to prevent her from being killed by Jax. He sends Unser up to Gemma's father's house, but his plan ultimately fails when Jax kills both Unser and Gemma.
Jax confesses his murder of Gemma to Nero in the final episode. Nero sadly accepts the fact that Gemma is gone and promises to fulfill Jax's request to look after Wendy, Abel and Thomas. Jax leaves paperwork for Nero to sell his house and the garage and to give the money to Wendy. He tells Nero that he's leaving and doesn't know where he's going, but Nero knows what Jax means. Nero tearfully watches Jax say his final goodbye to his sons and Wendy, and is last seen driving with them to his uncle's farm in Norco. It is assumed Nero, Wendy, Thomas, and Abel along with Lucius, are living out their days peacefully on Nero's farm.
- Lupe - Shot in the chest. ("To Thine Own Self")
- Renaldo - Shot in the head. ("To Thine Own Self")
- Arcadio Nerona - Shot in the head. ("One One Six")
- Unnamed renegade Niner - Shot. ("Playing with Monsters")
|Season 5 appearances|
|"Sovereign"||"Authority Vested"||"Laying Pipe"||"Stolen Huffy"||"Orca Shrugged"|
|"Small World"||"Toad's Wild Ride"||"Ablation"||"Andare Pescare"||"Crucifixed"|
|"To Thine Own Self"||"Darthy"||"J'ai Obtenu Cette"|
|Season 6 appearances|
|"Straw"||"One One Six"||"Poenitentia"||"Wolfsangel"||"The Mad King"|
|"Salvage"||"Sweet and Vaded"||"Los Fantasmas"||"John 8:32"||"Huang Wu"|
|"Aon Rud Persanta"||"You Are My Sunshine"||"A Mother's Work"|