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For years, Michael Cudlitz was one of TV's most intimidating protagonists as The Walking Dead's cigar-chomping survivor Abraham Ford, but that reign came to an end last year in an episode that put the AMC drama in an endless stream of conversations. Now, the veteran actor may have found his next big break in a surprising place, as Cudlitz has signed on for what would be his very first regular role in a TV comedy, and it's for the ABC pilot The Trustee.
Michael Cudlitz definitely drew a lot of laughs on The Walking Dead - particularly in his last line to Negan - and he could make a big splash by finally jumping from drama to comedy full-time. The premise for The Trustee centers on a police department where Detective Eliza Radley, played by Being Human's Meaghan Rath, finds her stubborn dedication balanced by an attention-grabbing ex-con who is doing odd jobs around the precinct to serve out the final chunk of her prison sentence. Opposites attract, so says Paula Abdul's feline friend, and the women's contrasting viewpoints are the basis for a lively companionship.
If you can stand it, Michael Cudlitz's character will go by the name of Timothy Waits, though I doubt anyone will be calling him Timothy on the reg, as he's the captain of the police department. He won't be a generic hardnosed douche, either, with TVLine describing him as "sardonic and wry," saying he takes kindly to the odd ways in which Radley gets her police work done. It's definitely easy to picture Cudlitz as a big boss, and I'm hoping he gets to show off some wit. As well as the same mustache that Abraham rocked.
While comedy isn't something Michael Cudlitz gets into that often, he knows a thing or two about starring in cop-driven series, as his big pre-Walking Dead fame came from his lead role on the acclaimed TNT drama Southland (which ended strangely). He also played an FBI special agent in the short-lived Standoff, a cop on CSI, a detective on Lost, a corrections officer on Prison Break, and then some. Not to mention all of his military roles. But having said all that, his first actual post-Walking Dead role was in the TBS comedy Kings of Con. He must have liked the vibe.
The Trustee was created by writers Jay Scherick and David Ronn, whose careers started off on the small screen in a great way as writers on the ABC comedy Spin City, but a lot of their pilots have gone nowhere over the years. They've had a lot more work on the feature side, though it's with movies like the notoriously awful Norbit, Zookeeper and the first two Smurfs movies. Hopefully The Trustee stands up as much as...mainly just Spin City.
Just in the pilot stages, The Trustee will go through more casting before filming, so we'll be waiting a while to hear about its eventual fate. In the meantime, head to our midseason premiere schedule to see what's coming to your TVs in the coming months.