Damson Idris Was Raised on ‘Def Comedy Jam’ and Bagel King

The star of “Snowfall,” which is kicking off its final season on FX, talks about getting into character with a book about 1980s Los Angeles and why he always feels his best in a tuxedo.

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By Kathryn Shattuck

The British Nigerian actor Damson Idris can see the connections between his career trajectory and that of Franklin Saint, the character he plays on the FX cocaine saga “Snowfall.”

“I came as a kid, and today I’ve got a show under my belt, and I’m meeting new people and there’s a different level of respect that they give me,” said Idris, who was 23 when the show’s creators, including John Singleton (“Boyz N the Hood”), anointed him the lead.

“And that happened with Franklin, too,” he said. “He was this pushover kid who was getting beaten up every episode, and he grew into this guy who was running an empire.”

So the end of the road was bound to be emotional.

Idris, now 31, had just wrapped the sixth and final season and was still riding a wave of euphoria and exhaustion on a video call from his home in Los Angeles. That season begins on Wednesday, picking up a day after the events of the Season 5 finale, after Franklin sees $73 million of his nest egg vanish along with his dreams of a new life and a new wife.

Now, with his back against the wall, he’s willing to take out everyone by any means necessary. “The sweet kid has finally turned into the monster,” Idris said.

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