'The Chi': Guest stars Shamon Brown Jr., Barton Fitzpatrick, and Michael Epps are now series regulars

Shamon Brown Jr., Barton Fitzpatrick, and Michael Epps will see themselves become series regulars for second season of 'The Chi'

                            'The Chi': Guest stars Shamon Brown Jr., Barton Fitzpatrick, and Michael Epps are now series regulars

Showtime drama 'The Chi' was received well by viewers and was renewed for a second season in January. Further good news for the fans of the show comes in the form of favorites Shamon Brown Jr. (Papa), Barton Fitzpatrick (Reg), and Michael Epps (Jake) having their roles upped from guest stars to series regulars for the highly-anticipated upcoming season.

Chronicling life on the South Side of Chicago, an official description for the show suggests it follows "a fateful turn of events that sends shockwaves through a community on the Southside of Chicago and connects the lives of Emmett, Brandon, Ronnie, and Kevin in unexpected ways."

Michael Epps and Shamon Brown Jr. in 'The Chi' (Source: IMDb)
Michael Epps and Shamon Brown Jr. in 'The Chi' (Source: IMDb)

The brainchild of the Emmy Award-winning Lena Waithe (Master of None), the first season of the drama saw best friends Kevin (Alex Hibbert), Papa (Brown Jr.), and Jape (Epps) navigate the rocky terrains of teen life on the South Side in their journey to adulthood.

In addition to the normal adolescent pitfalls of girls, school hierarchies, and bullies, they were also exposed to some of the darker elements of the inner-city life, at times by Jake's older brother and guardian Reg (Fitzpatrick). Kevin and Papa battled Reg’s influence over Jake, praying that their friend would maintain his innocence and avoid temptations. But whether they succeed in shielding their friend from his brother's twisted lessons in street survival will only be answered in season 2. 

Besides the trio, the show's ensemble cast includes Jason Mitchell (Mudbound, Straight Outta Compton), Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine (Queen of Katwe), Jacob Latimore (Sleight), Alex Hibbert (Moonlight), Tiffany Boone (The Following), Yolonda Ross (Treme, The Get Down) and Armando Riesco (Bull). 

The show's debut season earned it rave reviews and heady comparisons, with a critical consensus reading: "Like an optimistic companion to 'The Wire,' 'The Chi' explores the complexities of life in the South Side of Chicago, with a tender touch and clear affection for its captivating characters."

The second season is currently in production in Chicago and will return to the network in 2019. The renewal would not have come as too much of a surprise considering it averaged 4.5 million weekly viewers across platforms and ranked as the highest-rated Showtime freshman season since 'Billions' in 2016.

Academy Award, Emmy, and Golden Globe winner Common (Selma) serves as executive producer alongside Waithe and Ayanna Floyd Davis (Empire, Hannibal), who will be acting as showrunner for the upcoming season. 

In addition to Waithe, Common, and Floyd Davis, Aaron Kaplan (Santa Clarita Diet, Divorce) also serves as an executive producer, along with Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), who also directed the pilot episode, and Derek Dudley and Shelby Stone of Freedom Road Productions. The series is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios.