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The Wire’s Michael K. ‘Omar’ Williams Is Headed to Community

Michael K. Williams

If Abed from Community were a real person, his head might explode at the following news: Michael K. Williams, best known as Omar from The Wire, is joining the cast of the NBC series for at least three episodes this fall. He'll be playing the Greendale gang's new biology professor, a role series creator Dan Harmon told us about in the chat we published Friday. Deals weren't inked, however, so we couldn't tell the full story until now. So how did Harmon come up with the idea of signing Williams, whose performance on The Wire caught the attention of President Obama and who, as of late, has been wowing viewers on HBO's Boardwalk Empire?

As he noted in our chat, "The general idea with this season is to add ... a certain amount of groundedness and reality to the series. Because the detractors of our show complain that there's a distancing that takes place because we have such a silliness and far-fetchedness ... So I asked myself, 'What is the opposite of that?' And it's certainly The Wire. I [recently] watched all five seasons, and I wanted to bring a little bit of that mentality and apply it to the Community recipe." Right now, Williams is only slated for three episodes and because he's attached to Boardwalk, any extra episodes would have to be cleared by HBO. But Harmon is thinking positively: "I would hope to have him in many, many [episodes]," he says. "We're really excited." Meanwhile, if Harmon plays his cards right, Community might end up on an updated version of this Vulture List.

As he noted in our chat, "The general idea with this season is to add ... a certain amount of groundedness and reality to the series. Because the detractors of our show complain that there's a distancing that takes place because we have such a silliness and far-fetchedness ... So I asked myself, 'What is the opposite of that?' And it's certainly The Wire. I [recently] watched all five seasons, and I wanted to bring a little bit of that mentality and apply it to the Community recipe." Right now, Williams is only slated for three episodes and because he's attached to Boardwalk, any extra episodes would have to be cleared by HBO. But Harmon is thinking positively: "I would hope to have him in many, many [episodes]," he says. "We're really excited." Meanwhile, if Harmon plays his cards right, Community might end up on an updated version of this Vulture List.

Photo: HBO