*On AMC’s “Hell on Wheels,” Common is back for a third season as Elam, a former slave who works his way up to a respectable position on the railroad just after the Civil War.
In fact, it’s all about respect for Elam Ferguson, who is consumed with both earning and demanding it from the people around him. Like any other man, he just wants an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work – something that had been robbed of him before the Emancipation Proclamation.
Over three seasons, Elam has developed a peculiar friendship with Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), a former slave owner who arrived in the railroad town of Hell on Wheels in the pilot episode looking for the Yankee soldiers who killed his wife.
Below, Common says the relationship between Elam and Cullen symbolizes the tenuous nature of race in America.
“Hell on Wheels” airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on AMC. Watch a promotional video below.