TV tough guys are a dime a dozen, but Line of Fire's Brian Goodman comes with actual street cred. The 40-year-old actor plays a Mob henchman in the gritty ABC drama — Tuesdays at 10 pm/ET — and his real-life past wasn't too far from his role. Here, Goodman tells us how he went from doing prison time to primetime.

TV Guide Online: Were you a bad kid?
Goodman:
I wasn't a bad kid. Lost, confused and scared was what I was. I was unfortunately from a broken home. South Boston was a cold place, and the area I existed in was violent and I was trying to survive. I was more a scared kid than a bad kid. I was sleeping in hallways at 12 years old and making money on the street and that became all I knew. I feel I was a survivor.

TVGO: Why did you go to prison?
Goodman:
Well, I started to pay a penance for the drug trafficking I did in the '80s. I got myself addicted to cocaine and alcohol — I was nine years clean and sober Dec. 8... My sister was in a violent relationship. Not that I'm a hero, but my reaction to that was what I ended up going to prison for.

TVGO: And that was your first time in prison.
Goodman:
I always had good attorneys, but I had a violent record. I got three to nine years; I went away in '89 and finished up in '94.

TVGO: So you headed to Hollywood?
Goodman:
I came to Los Angeles as soon as I got off parole. I believed I was employable as a character actor. I was in the films The Last Castle and Catch Me If You Can and now, this show Line of Fire. I've been batting about .500 so far!

TVGO: You've traveled a rough road.
Goodman:
I've been shot four times. I got three bullets still in me and I've been stabbed two times. I said [to myself], "You're supposed to be dead." But I found a childhood dream to act. You know, where I came from, you couldn't talk about your dreams because you'd be laughed at. I wish I had done this 30 years ago.