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Who is ‘Black Mirror’s Paapa Essiedu and where else can I see him?

Paapa Essiedu was nominated for 'Best Actor' three times in 2023. These are all of the projects you've been missing out on.

Paapa Essiedu in 'Demon 79'
Black Mirror/ Netflix

When Paapa Essiedu’s “Disco Demon,” Gaap graced the screen during Black Mirror’s final episode of season six, Demon 79, his outlandish appearance ensured we wouldn’t forget him. His performance, however, truly made him irreplaceable. Essiedu isn’t a newcomer to the world of movie —and small screen— magic. He’s been around the block a few times. The talented actor has brought a certain je ne sais quoi to each of his performances over the years, breathing life into each of the characters he’s been tapped to portray.

In his early career, Essiedu played several roles in various films and Television shows like Murder on the Orient ExpressNot Safe for Work, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Black Earth Rising, and Utopia. The London native had more prominent roles in The Miniaturist, Kiri, Press, and Anne Boleyn. After several years of building up his career, he landed his first award-winning role on television with I May Destroy You. Since his widely acclaimed performance, Essiedu has flexed his chops in several other projects.

I May Destroy You

One of his most memorable roles to date (excluding his Black Mirror episode, of course) was in Max’s I May Destroy You. The twelve-episode long dark dramedy garnered critical acclaim for its exploration of sexual assault. Within the limited series, Essiedu plays Kwame, a close friend of the main character and a vessel for queer exploration of sexuality. The part itself is well written, but the care and nuance that Essiedu lends to his character are unparalleled, especially in the latter half of the series. I May Destroy You may be a complicated watch with its constant exploration of sexual assault, but the cast carries that burden well.


Paapa Essiedu barely appears in Alex Garland’s Men, but his brief tenure in the surrealist horror leaves echoes throughout the whole film. Playing a now-deceased abusive husband, Essiedu makes the absolute most of his quick screen time. His character, James, looms over every scene. The film is profoundly disconcerting, and much of the tension is built by the ever-present idea of James, though Rory Kinnear is the actual vessel for much of the main character, Harper’s (Jessie Buckley) distress. With some incredibly high-energy scenes, Essiedu haunts more than just Harper with his incredible performance, which will stick with viewers long after the credits role. Despite his limited screen time, Essiedu’s performance got him a nomination for Best Actor.

The Capture Series 2

This highly acclaimed mystery thriller may be completely disconnected from reality, but that doesn’t stop it from being an excellent sci-fi romp. Paapa Essiedu joins the Peacock Original for its second series, flawlessly embodying the elegant security minister, Isaac Turner. Verging on the edge of reality, The Capture dramatizes real-life concerns like deep fakes, hacker attacks, and inept media. With the dramatic season 2 cliffhanger weighing heavily on fans’ minds, there’s no doubt that Essiedu will appear in the third installment of the series.

The Lazarus Project

A British science fiction television show, The Lazarus Project stars Essiedu as George, a software developer who inadvertently stumbles across The Lazarus Project, which works to stop apocalyptic events. Like many of his other projects, this series has spectacular writing and satisfying action sequences. The actor’s outstanding performance nabbed him a nomination for Best Actor in 2023.

Gangs of London

Set in present-day London, this series deals with the struggle between rival gangs. After the head of London’s most prominent crime family, Finn Wallace is assassinated, his son and his few remaining allies struggle to keep their criminal empire strong. Essiedu plays Alexander Dumani, the son of a prominent gang lord and one of the families still allied with the Wallace family. His struggle with his family’s venture makes from some genuinely heart-wrenching moments, and you’ll find yourself choking along with Alex as his finances and mental health spiral throughout the series. Essiedu was nominated again for Best Actor for his performance in Gangs of London.

Ash Martinez
About the author

Ash Martinez

Ash has been obsessed with Star Wars and video games since she was old enough to hold a lightsaber. It’s with great delight that she now utilizes this deep lore professionally as a Freelance Writer for We Got This Covered. Leaning on her Game Design degree from Bradley University, she brings a technical edge to her articles on the latest video games. When not writing, she can be found aggressively populating virtual worlds with trees.