Community has made its first big casting call of its fifth season and it’s quite the doozey. You should all be familiar with Jonathan Banks by now, and if you aren’t you can leave. The actor is well known for his stellar portrayal of Mike in several seasons of Breaking Bad and now he’s lending a considerable amount of his free time to the struggling, but well loved, NBC comedy.
According to EW, Banks has been hired for 11 out of 13 episodes in Season 5, where he will be playing Pat Nichols, an intense criminology professor with a mysterious background in military and police work. He will make his first appearance in the second episode and Annie will be taking his class. I’m glad to see, now that Dan Harmon is back as showrunner, aspects of Season 4 are not being ignored. It was in that Harmon-less season that Annie’s major in criminology first surfaced. Now it’s quite apparent Harmon intends to follow this path and turn it into a major plot point of the new season.
But it’s my opinion that Banks won’t be around just to serve as a criminology professor. We’ve had many teachers at Greendale over the years, but none – with the exception of Chang – have had such extended arcs. However, with Chevy Chase not returning there’s an emptiness that needs to be filled and Banks just might be the right size. Harmon has said he would be looking to find someone to become the new Pierce, in a manner of speaking, and my guess is it’s this Pat fellow.
Banks isn’t the first Breaking Bad star to appear on Community. Giancarlo Esposito, who played Mike’s boss Gus, has appeared twice as Pierce’s half-brother, Gilbert. If only the two could appear together in a scene as a nod to their time together on Breaking Bad. I’m sure Harmon would love to make it happen if he could.