Olugbenga Enitan Temitope "Gbenga" Akinnagbe /ˈbɛŋɡə əˈknəb/ BENG-gə ə-KEEN-ə-bay is an American actor and writer, best known for his roles as Chris Partlow on the HBO series The Wire[2] and as Larry Brown on the HBO series The Deuce.[3]

Gbenga Akinnagbe
Gbenga Akinnagbe 2012.jpg
Akinnagbe in 2012
Born1978/1979 (age 40–41)[1]
  • Actor
  • writer
Years active2002–present
RelativesWale (cousin)

Early lifeEdit

Akinnagbe was born in Washington, D.C.,[1] the son of Yoruba Nigerian parents,[4][1] and was raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. He is the second oldest of six children, with one older sister and four younger brothers, and the first in his family to be born in the United States. He attended Colonel Zadok A. Magruder High School in Rockville, Maryland. He attended Bucknell University on a wrestling scholarship, and graduated in 2000 with a degree in Political Science and English. Akinnagbe's cousin is rapper Wale.[5]



Akinnagbe played Ben Ellis in the episode "Contenders" on the TV series Numb3rs. In the summer of 2006, Akinnagbe performed the role of "Zim" in the NYC Fringe Festival's "Outstanding Play" award-winning production of Modern Missionary.[6] In 2003, Akinnagbe auditioned for the role of Chris Partlow on the HBO series The Wire and starting in 2004 began a frequent recurring role. In 2008 during the show's fifth and final season, he was promoted to a series regular.

In 2007, Akinnagbe appeared in the film The Savages with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Laura Linney, and Philip Bosco. He appeared in the remake of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, which was released by Sony in June 2009. Akinnagbe made a guest appearance on a season 10 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode entitled "Hell" as Elijah Okello, a former Ugandan child soldier living in New York, facing deportation. Akinnagbe's former The Wire castmate Robert Wisdom also appeared in that episode as Father Theo Burdett. In 2010 in Seattle, Washington Akinnagbe starred in the world premiere play The Thin Place at The Intiman Theatre.[7] He was also in the movie Lottery Ticket and appeared on The Good Wife as Pastor Isiah Easton.[1] His former co-star from The Wire, Frankie Faison, portrayed his father on The Good Wife in several episodes. He also starred as Kelly Slater, a nurse in the third season of the Showtime series Nurse Jackie.[8] He also starred in leading roles in two independent films, as Jack in Home, directed by Jono Oliver, and as James in Big Words, directed by Neil Drumming. He appeared as a drug lord in the USA series Graceland and starred as Tom in The Following. He also starred as CIA Agent Erik Ritter in 24: Live Another Day. In October 2016 he began shooting the feature film Starbright.


Gbenga has had two articles published in The New York Times, one detailing a trip to Nepal to climb the Himalayas, and the other outlining the medical procedures he underwent to correct his severely flat feet.[9]



Year Title Role Notes
2005 They're Made Out of Meat Merlin Short film
2007 Man-Up Q Short film
2007 The Savages Jimmy
2009 The Taking of Pelham 123 Wallace
2010 Edge of Darkness Darcy Jones
2010 Overnight TMJ
2010 Lottery Ticket Lorenzo
2011 Clap (One Day) Police Officer Short film
2013 Fort Bliss Sgt. Butcher
2013 Big Words James
2013 Home Jack Hall
2014 Render to Caesar Dipo
2014 Mall Michel
2015 Knucklehead Langston Also producer
2016 Detour Michael
2016 Independence Day: Resurgence Agent Travis
2017 Crown Heights Sampson
2017 Detroit Aubrey Pollard Sr.
2018 Egg Wayne
2018 All the Devil's Men Samuelson
2019 The Sun Is Also a Star Samuel Kingsley


Year Title Role Notes
2004–2008 The Wire Chris Partlow 28 episodes[2]
2005 Barbershop Yinka 10 episodes
2006 Conviction Calvin 1 episode
2006 Conviction Gary Wade 1 episode
2007 Numb3rs Ben Ellis Episode: "Contendors"
2008 Cold Case Victor Nash '05/'08 Episode: "Street Money"
2009 Fringe Akim Episode: "The No-Brainer"
2009 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Elijah Okello Episode: "Hell"
2009 Dark Blue Dante Rollings Episode: "August"
2009 Maggie Hill Elliot Springer Television film
2010–2015 The Good Wife Pastor Isaiah Easton 7 episodes[1]
2011 Blue Bloods Pierre Episode: "All That Glitters"
2011–2012 Nurse Jackie Kelly Slater 8 episodes
2011 Chase John Macon Episode: "The Man at the Altar"
2011 A Gifted Man Dr. Leo 'Bax' Baxter 2 episodes
2012 Damages Walid Cooper 4 episodes
2012 Elementary Jeremy Lopez Episode: "The Leviathan"
2012–2014 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Father Biobaku 2 episodes
2013 Graceland Bello 8 episodes
2014 24: Live Another Day Erik Ritter 11 episodes[10]
2015 The Following Tom 11 episodes
2015–2016 Limitless Quentin Walker 2 episodes
2016 Madam Secretary Chris Santumari Episode: "Desperate Remedies"
2017 Mercy Street Saga Episode: "House of Bondage"
2017–2019 The Deuce Larry Brown Main cast
2020 Evil Lando Mutabazi Episode: "Justice x 2"


Year Title Role Notes
2001 The Oedipus Plays Soldier
2002 Romeo and Juliet Ensemble
2002 Cyrano de Bergerac Le Bret
2003 Henry V A French Messenger
2005 The Controversy of Valladolid A Black Servant
2006 Modern Missionary Zim
2007 A View From 151st Street Dwight
2008 Lower Ninth Lowboy
2010 A Thin Place Isaac
2013 The Rainmaker Bill Starbuck
2015 Fulfillment Michael
2018 To Kill a Mockingbird Tom Robinson


  1. ^ a b c d e Kim, Jae-Ha (24 May 2011). "Celebrity Traveler: Nigeria to Mexico, actor finds charm". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b Bale, Miriam (21 November 2013). "A Place, and Prescription, of One's Own". New York Times. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  3. ^ Berkowitz, Joe (15 September 2017). "Here's Everybody From 'The Wire' Who Now Works on 'The Deuce'". Fast Company. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  4. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/19/t-magazine/actor-gbenga-akinnagbe-chairs-enitan-vintage.html
  5. ^ Drake, David (25 June 2013). "20 Things You Didn't Know About Wale". Complex Music. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  6. ^ He also featured in limitless Modern Missionary
  7. ^ Berson, Misha (17 May 2010). "Actor Gbenga Akinnagbe stars in Intiman Theatre's 'The Thin Place'". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  8. ^ Ausiello, Michael (21 October 2010). "Exclusive: 'The Wire' grad Gbenga Akinnagbe joins 'Nurse Jackie'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  9. ^ Steed, Munson (19 July 2013). "'Big Words' Actor Gbenga Akinnagbe finds comfort in the uncomfortable". Rolling Out. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (20 December 2013). "24: Live Another Day Adds 2 New Regulars". Deadline. Retrieved 21 December 2013.

External linksEdit