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TWD's Chad Coleman Explains Why So Many Actors From The Wire Joined The Show

Chad L. Coleman starred in "The Walking Dead" as the beloved character Tyreese Williams. Tyreese breathes life into the show as a protective and caring figure. As an older brother to Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), he is immediately shown as strong yet compassionate. When the prison that the survivors take refuge in falls, Tyreese saves Judith Grimes and takes care of her for a while. He's a gentle giant who also cares for other children, like Lizzie and Mika Samuels (Brighton Sharbino and Kyla Kenedy).

"The Walking Dead" wasn't Coleman's first major television series, though. As no stranger to the small screen, Coleman has appeared in many shows throughout his career. One of the most recognizable might be HBO's "The Wire," where he played Denise "Cutty" Wise. "The Walking Dead" actually features many actors from "The Wire."

For example, Seth Gilliam and Lawrence Gilliard Jr. star in both shows. In "The Walking Dead," Gilliam played Gabriel; in "The Wire," he was Ellis Carver. Likewise, Gillard played Bob on "The Walking Dead" and D'Angelo Barksdale on "The Wire." Merritt Wever similarly appeared on "The Wire" for several episodes before joining "The Walking Dead," as did performers Vincent M. Ward and Brandon Fobbs. Fans of both shows were quick to notice how many actors "TWD" picked up from "The Wire." Coleman addressed this in a 2015 Reddit Q&A, saying, "The quality of work that we were able to produce on the Wire is attractive to other storytellers." The people behind "The Walking Dead," though, happened to be particularly huge fans.

Robert Kirkman is a fan of The Wire

In 2015, Chad L. Coleman took to Reddit to answer fan questions about his career. User u/SSTTDID asked, "What is it about 'The Walking Dead' that has attracted so many 'Wire' refugees?" They said that they were a huge fan of Tyreese and the redemption arc that Cutty got in "The Wire," so they wanted to know what brought so many actors from the HBO series to "The Walking Dead."

In addition to hyping up the quality of work, Coleman also elaborated on the creative powerhouses of "The Walking Dead" and how that factored into their decision to join the show. "Robert Kirkman is a huge fan of The Wire,'" Coleman said. Kirkman is one of the co-creators of "The Walking Dead," so being a huge fan of another successful series would bring his eyes to the talent displayed there.

"Our [showrunner] is, Scott Gimple, the mad genius, it was amazing storytelling, uncompromising storytelling," Coleman continued. "It wasn't like we were influenced by any advertisers. We were able to tell a very pure, honest story, and people appreciate that."

The sincerity of the praise Coleman gave "The Walking Dead" was certainly well-earned back in 2015. After Tyreese's death on the show, fans and critics complained "The Walking Dead" leaned too heavily into shock value and baiting its audience. But for Seasons 3 through 5, while Coleman was part of the ensemble, "The Walking Dead" was peak TV — unapologetic and gripping.