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61st Street Cast: Where You've Seen The Actors From The AMC Series Before

Courtney B. Vance and Tosin Cole on 61st Street
(Image credit: AMC)

Justice is a concept that many struggle to define these days, while others simply struggle to achieve it, much like the central character of 61st Street - a new series premiering on AMC, Sunday, April 10, 2022. From executive producer Michael B. Jordan, the courtroom drama follows a bright, young, and Black high school athlete from Chicago who falls prey to corruption in the legal system and a veteran attorney who is willing to risk it all to see him walk free.

While Michael B. Jordan is the star of Hollywood hits like Black Panther and the Creed movies, he's only working on this series from behind the camera, and there is plenty of notable and acclaimed talent on screen to make this gripping new show worth your while. The following is a breakdown of who is playing who in the 61st Street cast, along with a brief reminder of where else you might know each of them from, starting with one of the finest actors of both the small and big screen.

Courtney B. Vance on 61st Street

(Image credit: AMC)

Courtney B. Vance (Franklin Roberts)

Playing Chicago attorney Franklin Roberts on 61st Street is Courtney B. Vance, who earned an Emmy for the last time he played a lawyer - for his role as Johnnie Cochran on FX’s The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. He also earned an Emmy for the last time he starred on a drama that deals with racial injustice - namely HBO’s short-lived period fantasy, Lovecraft Country.

Vance made his big screen debut in 1987’s Hamburger Hill - the first of a few movies about war (including The Hunt for Red October and HBO’s The Tuskegee Airmen) - went on to play a high school principal in Dangerous Minds, a preacher in The Preacher’s Wife, and starred on Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Ron Carver (another TV lawyer role of his). His more recent notable credits include his hilarious turn in Office Christmas Party, narrating Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, two hit Netflix movies in 2020 (Uncorked and Project Power), and Season 3 of National Geographic’s Genius, in which he plays Aretha Franklin’s father, C.L. Franklin.

Aunjanue Ellis on 61st Street

(Image credit: AMC)

Aunjanue Ellis (Martha Roberts)

As Franklin Roberts’ wife, Martha, in the 61st Street cast, we have Aunjunue Ellis, who received an Emmy Award nomination for the last time she played Courtney B. Vance’s spouse, on Lovecraft Country. She also earned a nomination the last time she starred on a courtroom that deals with racial injustice - namely in Ava DuVernay’s fact-based, Netflix original miniseries, When They See Us, in 2019.

Ellis made her film debut in the 1996 Sundance hit, Girls Town, and went on to star in movies like 2000’s Men of Honor, the 2002 Blaxploitation spoof Undercover Brother, three acclaimed music biopics (Ray in 2004, 2008’s Notorious, and Get On Up from 2014), and also had a starring role on ABC’s Quantico. After also starring in Academy Award winners like 2011’s The Help and If Beale Street Could Talk in 2018, she received her first Oscar nomination for portraying Venus and Serena Williams’ mother, Oracene “Brandy” Price, in the King Richard cast in 2022.

Tosin Cole in 61st Street

(Image credit: AMC)

Tosin Cole (Moses Johnson)

In 61st Street, Franklin Roberts represents teenager Moses Johnson - played by Tosin Cole, who first started making a name for himself by starring on dramas from the UK like The Cut and Hollyoaks. After starring movies like 2014’s Second Coming (opposite fellow Brit Idris Elba), the actor hit the jackpot when he was cast in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Resistance pilot Lt. Bastian.

After appearing in Netflix’s 2017 hazing drama Burning Sands, Cole would become a part of another celebrated sci-fi franchise when he joined the Doctor Who cast from 2018 to 2021, at which point he reprised his role as Phil in The Souvenir: Part II and appeared in the party comedy, Pirates. Speaking of party movies, he next appears in an HBO Max-exclusive remake of the ultimate party movie, House Party, and stars in the upcoming Emmett Till biopic, Till, as civil rights activist Medgar Evers.

Andrene Ward-Hammond on 61st Street

(Image credit: AMC)

Andrene Ward-Hammond (Norma Johnson)

As Moses Johnson’s mother, Norma, we have Andrene Ward-Hammond, who has previously starred in a number of films that also shed light on racial injustice, including 2016’s Loving, The Hate U Give from 2018, and the fact-based courtroom drama, Just Mercy, which also stars 61st Street producer Michael B. Jordan. The series also marks a reunion for the actress with Lovecraft Country and Project Power star Courtney B. Vance and Mindhunter’s Holt McCallany (whom we will cover soon). 

Ward-Hammond made her acting debut on the true crime docuseries Fatal Attraction (not to be confused with the 1987 thriller), had a small role in the fact-based 2018 comedy Instant Family, and has also played a cop in various titles (such as 2018’s Assassination Nation, Netflix’s The Lovebirds, NBC’s cult favorite, Manifest, and one of the best Atlanta episodes). She also had a recurring role on HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones in 2019, joined 2021’s Blast Beat cast as a guidance counselor, and starred in the Showtime original limited series, Your Honor, opposite Bryan Cranston.

Holt McCallany on 61st Street

(Image credit: AMC)

Holt McCallany (Lt. Francis Brannigan)

Self-righteous Chicago cop Francis Brannigan is the latest of many law enforcement officials Holt McCallany has played - the most famous being FBI agent Bill Tench on Mindhunter. The hit Netflix original series is his most recent collaboration with producer David Fincher, who cast the actor in 1992’s Alien 3 (which the director has since disowned) and the 1999 cult classic, Fight Club.

After making his film debut in the 1987 horror anthology Creepshow, McCallany went on to land roles of varying size in several classics of varying prestige, including Steven Soderbergh’s Three Kings in 1999, the Tom Hanks-led biopic, Sully, and the 2022 Best Picture nominee, Nightmare Alley. He previously led the cast of FX’s short-lived boxing drama, Lights Out, and previously shared the screen with fellow 61st Street star Aunjunue Ellis in Men of Honor.

Mark O'Brien on 61st Street

(Image credit: AMC)

Mark O'Brien (Officer Johnny Logan)

Johnny Logan is just the latest cop that Mark O’Brien has played in a civil rights commentary, having just done the same thing as part of Blue Bayou cast in 2021. He also played someone on the opposite side of the law in another drama that sheds light on corruption in the justice system, City on a Hill, on Showtime from 2019 to 2021.

Audiences might know the Canadian actor best, however, from Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi masterpiece Arrival in 2016, the Oscar-winning Netflix original drama Marriage Story from 2019, and one of the best horror-comedy movies ever, Ready or Not, as Samara Weaving’s husband, the same year. O’Brien also starred on another AMC original drama, Halt and Catch Fire, was in two acclaimed 2018 dramas (The Front Runner and Bad Times at the El Royale), and starred in his own feature-length directorial debut, The Righteous, in 2021.

Bentley Green on 61st Street

(Image credit: AMC)

Bentley Green (Joshua Johnson)

Twenty-one-year-old 61st Street cast member Bentley Green is already no stranger to crime thrillers, having joined the cast of the FX series Snowfall in 2019 and starred in the gritty teen drama, Caged Birds, in 2021. He made his acting debut in a 2012 edition of Epic Rap Battles of History that pit Michael Jackson against Elvis Presley as the King of Pop’s younger self, before lending his voice to a pair of Dragonball video games in 2015 and 2016, and guesting on the Jenna Ortega-led Disney Channel comedy Stuck in the Middle.

After making his feature film debut in 2017’s Fat Camp, Green appeared on Nickelodeon’s series adaptation of School of Rock, an episode of the Goldbergs spin-off Schooled in 2019, and landed a recurring role on another school-set sitcom, Mr. Iglesias, for Netflix the same year. In 2020, he guest starred back-to-back on ABC medical dramas (Grey’s Anatomy and The Good Doctor) and appeared in three episodes of Netflix’s Sweet Magnolias.

You may tune into AMC’s latest series initially to see a grounded, hard-hitting crime thriller, but it might be the gripping performances by the brilliant 61st Street cast that really keeps your eyes glued to the screen.

Jason Wiese
Jason Wiese

Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.