House of Lies
House of Lies

After five seasons, “House of Lies” will conclude its run on Showtime this Sunday, June 13th at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Shot entirely on location and directed by series creator and executive producer Matthew Carnahan, the final episode, “No Es Fácil,” marks the first time an American scripted series was shot in Cuba since the restoration of diplomatic relations.

Don Cheadle headlines the cast, which includes Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz, Josh Lawson, Donis Leonard Jr., and Glynn Turman.

“‘House of Lies’ is a comedy that has frequently been ahead of the curve,” said David Nevins, President and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc. “Over the course of its five seasons, it has tackled such hot-button topics as gender identity, wealth inequality, white privilege, police brutality, interracial relationships, and code-switching with honesty and a biting sense of humor. Matthew Carnahan and Don Cheadle have been dream partners and impeccable leaders. The core cast of Don, Kristen, Ben and Josh are one of the best comedy teams on television. They have brought the series to an incredibly satisfying conclusion with this historic final episode shot in Cuba.”

For his work as Marty Kaan, series star Don Cheadle won a Golden Globe award, was nominated four times for an Emmy Award, and three consecutive times for a Golden Globe Award. He also took home two NAACP Image Awards (the series earned 13 nominations) and two NAMIC Vision Awards. And, Kristen Bell earned two People’s Choice Award nominations and one win.

So it’s goodbye to the series for good.

As I typed up this post, it suddenly hit me – what does Don Cheadle have lined up to do next? I checked his IMDBPro page, and there’s nothing listed, which initially worried me. He’s been doing “House of Lies” for 4 years now, and, during that time, he’s appeared in 3 superhero movies playing James Rhodes / War Machine, although, quite frankly, he’s been woefully under-used in those films, appearing in very few scenes, and having really very little to actually do. But I assume the paychecks have been healthy and worth it. So I’d guess that he’s comfortable financially. Although he is a performer, and I’m sure he’s in this for more than just money. He’d like to act too.

Of course there’s his Miles Davis film, “Miles Ahead,” which has grossed around $2.5 million so far. But that was a labor of love, and it took him many years to finally raise the necessary funds to get the film made. It’s not a studio film. It’s theatrical reach has been limited, as many still haven’t been able to see it. But I hope that will be rectified with its eventual home video release next month, July 19.

It may not be immediately obvious, but “Miles Ahead” gave him the juiciest role he’s had in a film in years. And playing Marty Kaan in “House of Lies” gave him the chance to headline a series on the small screen. These aren’t opportunities he’s had very often, throughout his career, and it’s unfortunate that his talent isn’t being fully exploited, and more often.

You’d have to go back to 2008 to a crime drama titled “Traitor” to find Cheadle headlining a film. Since then, in terms of non-superhero movie roles, he appeared in Antoine Fuqua’s ensemble crime drama “Brooklyn’s Finest” in 2009; “The Guard” (2011), which starred Brendan Gleeson (a sort of interracial buddy-cop comedy caper); and he had a supporting role in “Flight” (reuniting with star Denzel Washington in 2012).

So it isn’t that he’s not working; he most certainly is. He’s been headlining a TV show for 4 seasons on top of the films I’ve mentioned. It just feels like we haven’t really seen much of him on the big screen lately – especially in meaty roles (whether lead or supporting), where he gets to flex. Some of us still remember him most fondly for work he did 21 long years ago – playing Mouse in Carl Franklin’s “Devil in a Blue Dress” film adaptation. But he’s done a lot since then.

As for what he’s going to do next, again, nothing definite is listed on his IMDB page; it certainly doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything in the works. And I may have missed an announcement recently, although I try to make sure that I’m up-to-date on what our black film and TV talents are doing, since that’s what this blog’s focus is. But based solely on his IMDB page, and the S&A archives, once the last episode of “House of Lies” airs this Sunday, he’s a *free* man.

There are a couple of projects listed on his IMDBPro page, but on the first one – a film on the life of Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard, who, in 1920, became the first African American to play in the NFL – he’s listed as producer, and it’s been “in development” since 2007; meaning, who knows if/when it’ll actually become a reality; and if it does, he’s producing it, not starring. And the second one is a documentary that he’s also producing, titled “Run the Voodoo Down,” which is described as “a musical journey through the creative process of all artists.”

So what’s next for Don Cheadle? If only I had a direct line to him, so that I could just pick up the phone and ask myself. Alas, I don’t. But I’m sure he knows what’s next; at least I’d like to think so. We’ll just have to wait to find out what exactly that is.

If you’ve read or heard anything that I have not, feel free to say so in the comments section, or provide a link.