Mykelti Williamson’s birthday: Looking at Chicago PD’s Denny Woods

CHICAGO P.D. -- "Fallen" Episode 506 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jason Beghe as Hank Voight, Mykelti Williamson as Woods -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC)
CHICAGO P.D. -- "Fallen" Episode 506 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jason Beghe as Hank Voight, Mykelti Williamson as Woods -- (Photo by: Matt Dinerstein/NBC) /

Sunday is the birthday of Chicago PD recurring player Mykelti Williamson, so we’re looking at his character fans love to hate, Lieutenant Denny Woods.

Today we’re saying happy birthday to Chicago PD actor Mykelti Williamson, whom fans are now very well acquainted with as the nefarious Denny Woods.

Woods was introduced in the season 4 episode “Grasping For Salvation” as the former partner of Hank Voight (Jason Beghe), who became an enemy when he tried to throw Voight under the table for an old case.

In Chicago PD season 5, the character was brought back to investigate Voight and the rest of the Intelligence Unit, and it’s clear he’ll stop at nothing to tear his ex-colleague down.

But while Denny Woods is someone that we’ll be happy to see the back of when this season ends, TV fans know and love Mykelti Williamson for a number of roles.

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If you watch a lot of NBC, you probably recognize him as homicide cop Bobby “Fearless” Smith in the network’s crime drama Boomtown where he starred opposite Donnie Wahlberg (Blue Bloods).

He also recurred in the final season of FOX‘s 24 as Brian Hastings, the head of the New York office of the Counter Terrorist Unit.

Other credits include playing the enigmatic Ellstin Limehouse in FX’s Justified and recurring as one of the military officials on ABC‘s Designated Survivor (which, amusingly, airs directly opposite Chicago PD so technically he can be on two channels at the same time).

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So as much as we don’t like his character, having Mykelti Williamson in One Chicago is definitely what one would call a casting coup. And he has undeniably been a great fit in the role of Woods, the former Voight ally turned obsessive enemy.

Williamson can perfectly play the absolute jerk that Denny Woods is, being that condescending and narrow-minded bad guy that Chicago PD fans can revel in hating. But he’s also got a large enough screen presence that he seems like worthy opposition for Jason Beghe and he gives us cause to genuinely worry about Voight and whether or not Woods can take him down.

Plus, when he’s given something other than arguing to do, he’s done his best to try and shade the character; he’s the only guest star to earn our Performer of the Week honors.

There’s no doubt that Mykelti Williamson has been a big part of this season and we’ll miss him when he’s gone, because we’re waiting for Voight to put Woods in his place, if Woods doesn’t get to him first.

Next: What happened in the latest Chicago PD?

Join us in wishing Mykelti Williamson a happy birthday in the comments, and look out for him in new Chicago PD season 5 episodes every Wednesday on NBC.