The Wire
The Wire

Frankie Faison, born June 10, 1949 in Newport News, Virginia, USA, is an actor. He was born Frankie Russel Faison and is also sometimes credited as Frankie R. Faison. He stars as Ervin Burrell in first and second seasons. He has appeared in the Hannibal Lecter film franchise.



Faison started his acting career in 1974 in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of King Lear, with James Earl Jones in the title role. Faison's next role came in TV, in the small series Hot Hero Sandwich in 1979. Faison did make it to the big screen in 1980, when he appeared in Permanent Vacation however he was credited in the film as 'Man in Lobby'. A string of small roles followed, until 1986 when he played the part of Lt. Fisk in Manhunter, also that year, he appeared in the Stephen King film Maximum Overdrive. In 1988 he starred alongside Eddie Murphy and again James Earl Jones in Coming to America, when he played the Landlord. Another big break came for Faison when he appeared as Barney in the classic thriller The Silence of the Lambs. The Silence of the Lambs would later bring more work Faisons way, as he later appears as Barney in the sequel (Hannibal) and the prequel (Red Dragon). In The Silence of the Lambs Faison gets the opportunity to work with legendary actors, such as Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. During the 1990-1991 season, he starred in the Fox situation comedy,True Colors, with Stephanie Faracy and Nancy Walker, about an interracial couple. Following the first season he was replaced by Cleavon Little. In 1991 Faison again appears alongside Hopkins in the film Freejack, which also stars Mick Jagger and "Maximum Overdrive" co-star Emilio Estevez. In 1998, he was a regular on the science-fiction TV show Prey. Faison has a starring role as the Baltimore City Police Commissioner Ervin Burrell on the HBO drama The Wire.

Faison is the only actor to appear in the first four Hannibal Lecter films. He played Lt. Fisk in Manhunter, and Barney in The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Red Dragon.

Personal life

Faison was born in Newport News, Virginia to Carmena (née Gantt) and Edgar Faison.[1] He studied drama at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois. He is married to Jane Mandel and they live in Montclair, New Jersey. He is not related to Scrubs and Clueless star Donald Faison.

Faison received an honorary Doctorate Degree from his alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan University, in 2002 and was the keynote speaker at the commencement ceremony.



Season 1 credits
"The Target" "The Detail" "The Buys" "Old Cases" "The Pager"
"The Wire" "One Arrest" "Lessons" "Game Day" "The Cost"
"The Hunt" "Cleaning Up" "Sentencing"
Season 2 credits
"Ebb Tide" "Collateral Damage" "Hot Shots" "Hard Cases" "Undertow"
"All Prologue" "Backwash" "Duck and Cover" "Stray Rounds" "Storm Warnings"
"Bad Dreams" "Port in a Storm"
Season 3 credits
"Time after Time" "All Due Respect" "Dead Soldiers" "Amsterdam" "Straight and True"
"Homecoming" "Back Burners" "Moral Midgetry" "Slapstick" "Reformation"
"Middle Ground" "Mission Accomplished"
Season 4 credits
"Boys of Summer" "Soft Eyes" "Home Rooms" "Refugees" "Alliances"
"Margin of Error" "Unto Others" "Corner Boys" "Know Your Place" "Misgivings"
"A New Day" "That's Got His Own" "Final Grades"
Season 5 credits
"More with Less" "Unconfirmed Reports" "Not for Attribution" "Transitions" "React Quotes"
"The Dickensian Aspect" "Took" "Clarifications" "Late Editions" "-30-"


Year Film Role Other notes
2008 The Wire season 5 Ervin Burrell Guest star


Law & Order: Special Victims Unit season 9 FBI Agent Tom Nickerson Guest star

Episode: "Signature"

2007 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit season 8 FBI Agent Tom Nickerson Guest star

Episode: "Florida"

My Blueberry Nights Travis
2006 Premium Phil
The Wire season 4 Ervin Burrell Star


2004 In Good Company Corwin
Crutch Jerry
The Cookout Jojo Anderson
Messengers Tom Mabry
White Chicks Section Chief Elliott Gordon
The Jury Nick Van Lier Guest Star

Episode: "Bangers"

America Brown Coach Bryant
The Wire season 3 Ervin Burrell Star


2003 The Wire season 2 Ervin Burrell Star


Gods and Generals Jim Lewis
Highwaymen Will Macklin
2002 Showtime Lieutenant Winship
Red Dragon Barney Matthews
The Wire season 1 Ervin Burrell Star


2001 Call Me Clause Dwayne TV movie
Thirteen Conversations About One Thing Richard "Dick" Lacey
Down to Earth Whitney Daniels
Hannibal Nurse Barney
The Sleepy Time Gal Jimmy Dupree
Gina, An Actress, Age 29 Albert
2000 Where the Money is Security Guard
1999 A Little Inside Tom Donner
The Thomas Crown Affair Detective Paretti
Oxygen FBI Agent Phil Kline
All My Children Frank Dawson Guest Star

Episode: 27 January 1999

Orson Welles Sells His Soul to the Devil Carter
1998 Prey Ray Peterson Star


  • "Hungry for Survival"
  • "Existence"
  • "Discovery"
  • "Pursuit"
  • "Origins"
  • "Revelations"
  • "Infiltration"
  • "Transformations"
  • "Veil"
  • "Collaboration"
  • "Sleeper"
  • "Vengeance"
  • "Progeny"
  • "Deliverance: Part 1"
Cosby season 2 Ron Guest Star

Episode: "On the Rocks"

1997 Cosby season 1 Ron Guest Star

Episode: "I'm OK Your're Hilton"

Julian Po Sherrif Leon
Oz season 1 Cornelius Keane Guest Star

Episode: "Capital P"

1996 The Rich Man's Life Detective Ron Lewis
Albino Aligator Agent Marv Rose
Mother Night Robert Sterling Wilson
The Stupids The Lloyd
New York Undercover season 1 Captain Wilton Guest Star

Episode: "Fire Show"

Jaded Henry Broker
1995 The Langoliers Don Gaffney TV Movie
Roommates Professor Martin
Heading Home Unknown
1994 I Love Trouble Police Chief
The Spider and the Fly Lieutenant Turner TV Movie
1993 Money For Nothing Madigan
Sommersby Joseph
1992 Freejack Eagle Man
1991 The City of Hope Levonne
The Silence of the Lambs Barney Matthews
1990 Law & Order season 1 Lester Crawford Guest Star

Episode: "Out of the Half-Light"

True Colours season 1 Ron Freeman Star

Episodes: Unknown

Betsy's Wedding Zack Monroe
Common Ground Unknown TV Movie
1989 Monsters season 2 Unknown Guest Star

Episode: "The Mandrake Root"

Do the Right Thing Coconut Sid
A Man Called Hawk season 1 Mr. Carver Guest Star

Episode: "Choice of Chance"

1988 Mississippi Burning Eulogist
Coming to America Landlord
1987 The Equalizer season 3 Zudo Guest Star

Episode: "Mission: McCall: Part 1"

1986 Manhunter Lieutenant Fisk
Maximum Overdrive Handy
The Money Pit James
1985 Kate & Allie season 2 Detective Guest Star

Episode: "The Bad Seed"

1984 Exterminator 2 Be Gee
C.H.U.D. Sergeant Parker
1983 Sessions Intern TV Movie
1982 Hanky Panky Cop Driver
A Little Sex Electrician
Cat People Detective Brandt
1981 Ragtime Gang Member #1
1980 Permanent Vacation Man in Lobby
1979 Hot Hero Sandwich Season 1 Unknown Star
1974 King Lear Captain TV Movie


External links