LOS ANGELES (KABC) --"It's the return of Reggie," Alimi Ballard said with a big smile.
His character on ABC's "The Chase" Reginald Lennox III has been away for a couple of weeks now, but he returns in Thursday's episode.
Ballard has been ABC7's George Pennacchio's neighbor for well over a decade and this marked the first time they sat down for an interview together.
"Reggie's a gangster," he said, "I'm surprised I haven't blown up something already!"
In the show's original pilot, Ballard played a member of the Los Angeles Police Department, but when it was re-written and re-shot, producers put his character on the other side of the law.
"He's cunning," Ballard said. "Like he's telling his friend to be good, but there's this thing in him, like I don't know if he's good. And I love that!"
Away from the set, the TV tough guy is in love with Dahn, his wife of 14 years, and their two children, Naya and Kairo.
Together, they are teaching them some of life's most important lessons.
"The gift of community, of love, of compassion, of helping people who are on their back," he said.
Ballard has been acting for more than 20 years. He's the product of a single parent household from a low-income area of the Bronx. He said the problems of any low-income area surrounded him, but he found the right outlet that would change his life.
"I was very fortunate, in my teenage years, to find a creative arts center in the Bronx called Mind Builders Creative Arts Center. It's still there. Children need an outlet. You know, young people, as it turns out, like adults, will follow the loudest voice, whether it's right or wrong," Ballard said.
For Ballard, that voice came from his mother who always kept tabs on him. But his grandmother was also an influence. Ballard said she told him, "You go out there, you make that money, son, but you don't let that money make you."
Ballard returns to "The Catch" on Thursday at 10 p.m. on ABC7.