Fans of AMC’s “Hell on Wheels” waited six episodes for fan-favorite character Elam Ferguson to return to the show, but when he finally did, it was not for very long. Elam Ferguson, played by rapper and actor Common, was killed off in episode 7 after reportedly asking the producers and writers to write him off the series in 2013.
The Season 3 finale of “Hell on Wheels” left off with Common’s Elam Ferguson becoming entangled in a fight with a bear while searching for Cullen Bohannon. Fans were left in suspense as to the result of that encounter until the character finally reappeared in episode 6 of Season 4.
The entirety of the sixth episode was dedicated to catching fans up on Elam’s story. Despite killing the bear, Elam was greatly injured and was found by a Comanche tribe who nursed him to health believing he had obtained special powers by killing the bear. While Elam eventually got his health back, he was clearly not the same. Suffering from brain damage or trauma, Elam killed Jimmy when the old frontiersman came looking for him. However, Elam returned to Cheyenne in episode 7 where Bohannon was forced to kill Elam after he attempted to sell three women into slavery on the town’s streets.
The reason Elam was killed off was apparently Common himself, who asked to be written off so he could give more of his time to refocusing on his music career. Common spoke to Deadline about his character’s exit saying, “It pulled at my heart because I really cherish the character. It wasn’t the easiest thing for me to do, but I have a lot of aspects to my career that I wasn’t able to nurture. ... Acting is very, very important to me, but music is very important to me too.”
Fans will surely miss the character, who was one of the show’s most popular story lines, but Elam’s exit did make for two very exciting episodes of television in episodes 6 and 7 of Season 4. Now, Cullen Bohannon must deal with the aftermath of having killed his friend in the next episode. Fans will have to tune in to see how Bohannon copes with this latest tragedy.
“Hell on Wheels” airs Saturday nights at 9 p.m. EDT on AMC. Will you miss Elam Ferguson? Answer below and Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.