Banks will play criminology professor Pat Nichols, an intense and enigmatic figure with an unknown past in military and police work, in 11 episodes of the show’s 13-episode fifth season. The study group will encounter him when Annie Edison (Alison Brie) enrolls in his class during the season’s second episode.
This isn’t the first time a Breaking Bad alum has crossed over to Greendale Community College – Giancarlo Esposito, who played the ruthless drug kingpin Gus Fring on the hit drama, has also appeared on Community as Gilbert Lawson, the half-brother of former series regular Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase, who departed the show this past season by mutual agreement with season four’s showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port).
The inclusion of Banks, who recently received an Emmy nomination for his work on Breaking Bad, is some good news for fans of the show, who recently learned that series regular Donald Glover, who plays the beloved fan favorite character Troy Barnes, will be departing the show after only five of the season’s thirteen episodes.
Dan Harmon, long seen as the creative voice of Community, has returned to the fold as showrunner after being replaced by Guarascio and Port for season four. Fans were generally dissatisfied with that season, opining that the show’s style, humor and overall quality suffered in Harmon’s absence.
How Harmon plans to continue the show following the graduation of series star Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) in the season four finale remains to be seen, but the casting of Banks is certainly a major win for the show, which has a habit of casting big names in guest arcs. Such stars as John Goodman, Betty White, Malcolm McDowell and Michael K. Williams have all previously appeared on the show.
Community is set to premiere its fifth season as a mid-season replacement for NBC sometime next year.
Source: Entertainment Weekly