Jimmy Smits, host of <EM>A Capitol Fourth</EM> Jimmy Smits, host of A Capitol Fourth

 New Dexter costar Jimmy Smits serves as host of A Capitol Fourth (tonight at 8 pm/ET, PBS), the annual holiday bash from Washington, D.C. The fireworks are provided by Jerry Lee Lewis, Huey Lewis and the News, Taylor Hicks and, of course, the fireworks.

TV Guide: Sounds like a pretty sweet way to watch fireworks….
Jimmy Smits: You've got to experience the fireworks on the lawn with the backdrop of all those monuments and the "1812 Overture!" It gives you goose bumps.

TV Guide: What does the 4th of July mean to you?
Smits: It's joyous, but kind of reflective too considering we're in the midst of conflict.

TV Guide: You've just joined Dexter. Details!
Smits: There's not a lot I can say because I just hopped on. I play an assistant ADA who has political aspirations. He and Dexter bounce ideas off each other.

TV Guide: How closely have you been following everybody's favorite serial killer?
I didn't see the last quarter of Season 2, but the first season I saw every one. I love the show because of its quirkiness and the themes it tackles. Michael C. Hall is an incredibly detailed actor who can convey so much with just an eyebrow. The southern Florida ambiance is attractive to me, too.

TV Guide: Before that, you were raising Cane.
Smits: It's done, there's nothing to say but keep on moving.

TV Guide: Your resume isn't just a list of hit series, it's a list of groundbreaking hit series. You're like a quarterback who jumps from one Super Bowl dynasty to another!
I wouldn't go that far. I appreciate you saying that but I've been very lucky. The hits and the misses. I just want to keep the at-bats solid. For me, [Dexter] is a nice transitional commitmentbecause it's only for a year and I don't have the weight of the show on my shoulders.

TV Guide: Which show do you have the most affection for, and why?
Smits: I have a lot affection for each of those shows. There's not one that stands out. The character on West Wing was groundbreaking in so many ways. I see kernels of that on the news! [NYPD] Blue was just an incredible run, and I was happy to push the envelope. The friendships I made on L.A. Law, with the cast and Steven Bochco and David Kelley were really wonderful. I got to spread my wings [creatively].

TV Guide: Any upcoming projects?
Smits: I'm in the middle of a film in Mexico, an independent film. I'm the only American in the cast. It's directed by Carlos Carrera, who did The Crimes of Padre Amaro. It's a dark piece about the femicide that's happening on some of the border cities.

TV Guide: What would you like to do (professionally) that you haven't done yet?
Smits: I started out in the theater, and my background is classical. I'd love to be in a film version of a Shakespeare play.

Use our Online Video Guide to find clips of Jimmy Smits.

For more features, news and inside scoop, check out the latest double issue of TV Guide, which features a look at Hollywood's hottest bods, including Mario Lopez, Audrina Patridge and more!.
Try four risk-free issues of TV Guide now!

Send your comments on this Q&A to letters@tvguide.com.