The Walking Dead Exclusive: Southland Stalwart Michael Cudlitz Lands Pivotal Comic Book Role; Plus – Crazy-Cool First Photo!

The Walking Dead Michael CudlitzSouthland‘s Officer John Cooper has been promoted to Sergeant. That’s the good news. The bad news is he’s been reassigned to the zombie apocalypse!

The Walking Dead has tapped Michael Cudlitz to join the Season 4 cast in the pivotal comic book role of Sgt. Abraham Ford, TVLine has learned exclusively.

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Introduced in Issue 53, Abraham — an Army man and sports coach before the outbreak — becomes Rick’s right-hand man and one of the group’s most essential defenders.

Cudlitz has been shooting on location in Georgia for weeks, but, remarkably, his casting has remained under wraps — part of an elaborate covert mission to preserve the announcement for today’s Walking Dead panel at New York Comic-Con.

“I was laying low because [Abraham has] a very iconic look,” explains Cudlitz, who was approached by the AMC smash last spring (shortly after he wrapped work on what would turn out to be Southland’s series finale). “It would be very easy for somebody to put the pieces together if they saw me strolling around [near the show’s set.] So I was staying very close to the hotel. And I didn’t hang out with any of the other castmembers.”

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The Walking Dead AbrahamThere still isn’t much Cudlitz can reveal about the gig, except that he will turn up at some point in Season 4 (by our calculations, probably around midseason) and, much like his comic counterpart, “Abraham is someone who comes with a lot of emotional baggage. And he’s on a mission.”

And although he’s coming in as a series regular, Cudlitz knows the drill: There is little to no job security on The Walking Dead, unless your name is Andrew Lincoln.

“There’s no guarantee of how long or how short it will be, which is one of the things I actually find pretty exciting about the job after being locked into Southland for so many years,” he admits. “But [Abraham] is very important in the comic, so I imagine even if it IS short, it’ll be bright.”

Before you hit the comments with your reaction to this epic casting news, here are 10 more comic book-based Walking Dead characters whose arrival we anxiously await. (Additional reporting by Misha Solomon)

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. James R. says:


  2. Eurisko says:


  3. didi says:

    I think Norman Reedus has more job security than even Andrew Lincoln. People would literally stop watching if Darryl gets killed. His following is insane.

    • didi says:

      Oh, and Michael Cudlitz will be incredible in this role!! They picked a winner.

    • amrios says:

      …I agree…

    • Oh how very right you are! The only time I have ever screamed at my TV was when I thought Andrea shot him back in S2! The entire commercial break I was saying I’m done with this show if he just died! Lol

    • CBWBDK1 says:

      That’s not true.

    • Poppy says:

      Sorry but if Daryl died people would still watch. tWD is the story of Rick not Daryl.

      • Christina Sherwood says:

        I’m not saying some people wouldn’t still watch but you’re clueless if you think the ratings wouldn’t drop in the toilet if Daryl was killed off. Norman Reedus may not be the main protagonist of the show but he sure as hell is the favorite & the show would lose a sizeable chunk of viewers if he were to no longer be a part of it. The character of Rick could easily die off & it would not have nearly the same affect on ratings that Daryl’s death would. Sorry that is just the reality of it.

        • noone says:

          agree with you. Rick is the weak char in the spot. even he is the main char but when the strongest char dies, a lot of peoples will slowly stop watch this TWD. I agree if you taking side about reality. Mchonie or Daryl is the stronger chat atm.

        • Norman Reedus does DEF. draw a huge # of viewers for sure – I also agree with the ratings would def drop I think if they kill of Daryl – WHICH I don’t think they will this season – no way that would be SO stupid of AMC. Yes like that person commented the show is about “Rick” yes it is hey Rick is my #1 fav. them Michonne then Daryl.

        • aplwrites says:

          Except if Rick dies, the narrative has no grounding anymore and the plot lines would fall apart

        • Kristen says:

          I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think the ratings would drop “in the toilet” if Daryl was killed off. Yes, people like to make that claim, but I don’t see it happening. The show has too large of a following, not to mention, I don’t think the ONLY reason people watch the show is because of Daryl. So, yes, while it would suck HORRIBLY for Daryl to die, I don’t expect him dying to be the demise of the series; however, again, it would be a HORRIBLE idea to kill him off as Daryl is one of my favorite characters. LOL

      • Does anybody actually like Rick?

        • Teag says:

          Yup! And I’m in the camp that wants Daryl dead.

          • will says:

            I for one want Daryl to meet his maker and I really like the character. However, this is The Walking Dead and people have a short life expectancy. Rick and Carl are gonna be safe for a long time coming and Michonne is too, as she is pertinent to the series and highly popular and pretty fresh to the show. The Grimes gang is too deep at this point with Tyrese and his hammer, Michonne and her katana, Daryl and his crossbow, and Rick and Carl taking headshots from any distance. Then you have to factor in Sgt. Abraham joining the fold and the team seems too strong that it takes away all sense of urgency. Daryl has been there since day one and he is out there putting himself behind enemy lines all the time. It is only natural that it will catch up with him. Maybe, the Governor can kill Daryl or even Negan to make people hate them even more and to establish themselves as truly vile human beings.

    • Karin says:

      I TOTALLY agree with this opinion. If Norman Reedus goes, I would not be very interested in watching.

    • donny says:

      I think you’re right. i know i would stop watching! Daryll is a badass and the reason the Walking Dead has so many loyal viewers. Oh and Michonne. They make a kick ass pair!! and both dont really use guns. crossbows and Katanas!!

    • Blake says:

      I know I’d stop watching when they kill him off. He is my fave character , I like the characters who have a bit of an edge to them like Daryl, Merl, Shane

  4. jess says:

    very good!

  5. Wrstlgirl says:

    I guess this is “huge” news if you were a Southland fan.

  6. Cassie says:

    Best casting news ever! I love Michael Cudlitz.

  7. amycorvus says:

    Reblogged this on Neon Disease.

  8. Lisa Buckler says:

    Abraham is coming, and there’s a mid season tragedy. Sounds like Hershal and the prison (and Judith) are out by then, you think?

  9. majamababe says:


  10. april-ann says:

    Cool! I’ve loved this guy since Tony tried to get Brenda Walsh into bed on prom night.

  11. Jimmy says:

    Yes! Great casting news! I think he and his character will be an awesome addition to the show. Now, how do we steal Laurence Fishburne away from Hannibal to bring in Ezekiel…

  12. Eric says:

    ABRAHAM!!! Yes, I am quite excited indeed for this. Abraham is one of my favorite characters in the history of Walking Dead.

  13. Joey says:

    Best casting news ever! One of my favorite actors gonna be on one of my favorite shows. I can’t wait to see him on the show later in the new season.

  14. Cheeky says:

    Love this! He was in Band of Brothers too if people were wondering where to see him

  15. Brian says:

    I’m so excited for this! I’ve been saying he should play Abraham for ages! Very deep character so he can play the role but he’s also got the exact look. He was great on Southland and I’m so glad one of my favorite actors landed on my favorite show.

  16. Williwasnt says:

    Since reading the comics in April, I’ve tried to think of who would play Abraham when they brought him on the show and I couldn’t think of anyone who could do it justice. After reading this article I can’t believe how I didn’t realize how perfect Cudlitz is for the role before. I can’t wait to see him in action.

  17. Williwasnt says:

    Josh McDermitt was cast as Eugene.

  18. Beth Martin says:

    I am thrilled that Michael Cudlitz will be on The Walking Dead. I loved him on Southland. John Cooper is one of my all time favorite character. He is a great actor and will be wonderful as Sgt Abraham Ford.

  19. dreamlife613 says:

    This makes me so happy :) He’s a fantastic actor.

    As for job security, I think the core male characters (Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Chandler Riggs, and Steven Yeun) are all safe. Not only are they fan favorites but also pretty central to the story. I would hope that they improve Michonne’s character because I would like to see her last for a long time.

  20. L says:

    I think if Rick gets a right hand man that Daryl will be killed off.

  21. nannremp says:

    Wait! What? I thought Daryl was Ricks right hand man…AMC don’t you do it! Daryl is needed on the show…

  22. jazzyt2u says:

    I was just saying to my husband last night if Daryl goes I may not be interested in the show anymore… Don’t do it!!!!

  23. Better not be killing off Daryl!!!!! He and Carol need to hook-up/become a couple on TWD.

  24. Jimmy says:

    I feel like Daryl not being in the comics, and Norman Reedus being such a fan-favorite character, he will be fine. There’s so much story potential with Daryl because they can do anything with the character, and not jeopardize the credibility to the comics, because he isn’t in them. Also, I really can’t see them killing off Daryl, knowing that his character has probably the biggest fan-base of anyone on the whole show.

    In all likeliness, they will probably kill of Hershel and Abraham will sort of take his place, because, let’s face it, Hershel is getting old and in a sense, he is also one of Rick’s right-hand me. Daryl is the muscle, but Hershel is the wisdom. So maybe that’s how Abraham will factor in.

  25. tomas says:

    Daryl is goin to get killed off didn’t yall see what he did in the beginning of the show when he was with Carol and the other young boy wanted to shake daryl hand and he licked his fingers before he shook his hand and at the end the young boy got ill and died then became a walker…so ya they might kill off daryl

  26. Peggy says:

    I bet they will kill off Daryl and then this guy will be Ricks go to guy. Kirkman said he will kill off Daryl because everyone likes him so much. If that happens its going to suck.

  27. dogsoldierspoon says:

    Can I just say that you’ve got some really great casting suggestions and I’m hoping they (the writers)’ll read it :p

  28. Reblogged this on HORROR BOOM and commented:
    Good casting. Hope he sticks around…

  29. rose says:

    ive been in love with norman reedus ever since boondock saints & all saints day of which I favored cause all saints day is my b-day r they ever going to do a 3rd …I am so happy hes on walking dead so cool as a biker & archer how could u not b in love I hear u ride the back roads of Georgia etc if ur in cape coral florida I wish u come visit… I make a good lasagna lol luv u norman rock & ride on luv u rose

  30. rose says:

    re: my luv 4 norman

  31. Edwin Torres says:

    why don’t they cast a puerto rican caractor who maybe was an N.Y.P.D cop that manages to survive in an urban maze like the Bronx New York. Show more diversity other than just black and white survivors at least Glen is asian and representing a large audiance which is great.

  32. Kristy says:

    How crazy, I had Kevin Durand pegged as the perfect Negan months ago when I read the comics featuring his character.

  33. luy says:

    I’m not a “Daryl fan” but despite that his character is the most bidimensional in a tv series about a comic book, has potential. Because all the “Daryl fans”, that watch the show because him and long for a romantic relationship between Carol and Daryl, are going to feel the sense of danger every time when Daryl is catched in a pinch situation, and get excited when he resolves it in a spectacular manner. That only keeps the show alive for years…