Forest Whitaker Joins Cast of Thriller Series ‘Emperor of Ocean Park’

Forest Whitaker at the unite4:good and Variety present unite4:humanity, Sony Studios, Culver City, CA 02-27-14 — Photo by s_bukley/Deposit Photos

Forest Whitaker has lined up a role on the upcoming MGM+ suspense thriller, Emperor of Ocean Park.

The cable network, previously called Epix, made the announcement Wednesday, saying Whitaker (Godfather of Harlem) joins previously announced cast members Grantham Coleman (Lawman: Bass Reeves, Power Book III: Raising Kanan), Tiffany Mack (Jessica Jones), and Paulina Lule (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D).

Based on author and law professor Stephen L. Carter’s best-selling novel, Emperor of Ocean Park follows a Black family with ties to the worlds of politics, Ivy League academia, and the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard.

Related Story: Forest Whitaker to Return for ‘Godfather of Harlem’ Season 4

The series comes from Warner Bros. Television and John Wells Productions. Damian Marcano (Lawman: Bass Reeves) is set to direct multiple episodes. Marcano, John Wells, Sherman Payne, Shukree Tilghman, and Erin Jontow will serve as executive producers.

Whitaker will pay intelligent and calculating Judge Oliver Garland, who’s a devoted father with deeply conservative principles.

“I’m excited to be playing Judge Oliver Garland, and thank John Wells, Sherman Payne, and Michael Wright for this opportunity to join the cast and crew of Emperor of Ocean Park, as we bring Stephen L. Carter’s extraordinary novel to life,” Whitaker said in a statement.

The series begins production in Chicago this month and is scheduled to premiere on MGM+ this summer.

“Forest Whitaker brings his unique gravitas and grace to every role he plays,” said Michael Wright, head of MGM+. “We are beyond fortunate that Forest will inhabit the complex and layered role of Judge Oliver Garland, and once again put his unparalleled stamp on an MGM+ Original Series.”

Here’s the official description: “The series centers on Talcott Garland (Grantham Coleman), an Ivy League law professor whose quiet life is shattered when his father, Judge Oliver Garland, dies of an apparent heart attack. The nature of the judge’s death is questioned by Tal’s sister, Mariah (Tiffany Mack), a former journalist and inveterate conspiracy theorist, who believes that the judge, a failed Black nominee to the Supreme Court, met with foul play.”

Whitaker will pull double duty on Emperor of Ocean Park and MGM+ crime drama Godfather of Harlem, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In November, MGM+ renewed Godfather of Harlem for a fourth season, as previously reported. Whitaker leads the cast of the series as crime figure Bumpy Johnson and is an executive producer.

The Oscar-winning star is represented by Linden Entertainment and WME.