How Michael K. Williams' 'Black Market' Will Honor the Late Star: 'The Show Is Mike's Legacy,' EP Says

Michael K. Williams' Black Market returns for its second season on Vice TV

Michael K. Williams' Black Market is gearing up for its second season premiere on Monday, months after his untimely death.

Nonetheless, the team behind the Vice TV docuseries has every intention of continuing to honor the actor's legacy and mission. Speaking to PEOPLE exclusively, Black Market executive producer Matt Goldman reveals how the show will proceed forward following Williams' passing.

"I think this show was kind of a life mission for Michael to share stories of the underserved and those that are ignored and don't have a voice and bring light to the decisions that, in a way, sometimes they're forced to make, and tell these stories with compassion and empathy from an unprejudiced lens," he says.

"He really wanted to give people the truth, and there's not another crime show out there that does that, that looks at it from that lens," Goldman continues. "I think that's the biggest way to honor Michael is to share these stories and, hopefully, people can learn and change and be inspired, in a way. So ultimately, I think the show is Mike's legacy and that's how we can honor him, is by sharing it with the world."

Goldman also notes that because "there's no other show" that explores this side of illicit trade or crime in the same manner, making Black Market was even more crucial.

"[Michael] had this ability to evoke compassion and understanding for all the people he spoke with. I think the audience can really grasp onto that and see the other side of it," he says. "It's not all black and white. I think we need to realize that and share — that's why that's important for this show to be shared with the world and that's why Michael was so passionate about it. It's very rare that the whole story is ever told."

Williams died in September 2021 at age 54. At the time, an NYPD source said the five-time Emmy Award nominee was found dead in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment.

Michael K. Williams
Michael K. Williams. Arturo Holmes/Getty

The New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner later confirmed that Williams died by "acute intoxication by the combined effects of fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl, heroin and cocaine." The manner of the Lovecraft Country alum's death was ruled an accident. (Before his death, Williams talked openly about his substance abuse and mental health struggles.)

Goldman says he was "in disbelief for a long time" over Williams' death.

"When it hit me, it just crashed and [I] cried. I worked with Mike for over a decade and I don't know, he became a brother to me," he recalls. "To lose someone like that, right as we were really starting to get to do some really interesting work and continue on the creative journey that Michael had been carving out — you lose a friend, you lose a business partner. It hit me from every angle and there's just a void in my life right now. It's been very, very difficult, but I still speak to him and he gives me the strength to continue. And all I want to do is make him proud and carry on his legacy."

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Continuing to carry out Williams' legacy meant moving forward with the remainder of Black Market's second season, which was in production at the time of the actor's death. Tracy Morgan, Rosie Perez and William's The Wire costar Felicia "Snoop" Pearson were tapped to narrate the season's final three episodes.

"It would be a shame to not allow people into these worlds and share what some of these characters are going through," says Goldman. "Also, the insightful and thoughtfulness that Mike has throughout the show — some of the things he says are just gold. People need to hear that and hear it from him, it's truly important."

Goldman says "the look and the feel" of Black Market's second season are "very similar to the first season," but there's now "a little bit more of a redemptive angle."

michael k williams - black market
vice tv/ youtube

"Towards the end of the episodes, we tried to find a way to be impactful on some of the people that we're speaking with. Michael wouldn't do the show unless we [made sure] to include that part," he continues. "It was very important for him. He thought that was missing in the first season. So that's probably the biggest change, but I think the topics and illicit markets that we look into are a little broader. They're not as, kind of, on the nose as the first season."

As for a possible third season of Black Market, Goldman says the team hasn't "really spoke about it in terms of what that would look like" but he does "believe we want to carry on [Williams'] legacy."

"This show was important to him. Telling these stories was important to him. I think it's important for people to see and to gain perspective," he shares. "Especially, a lot of the second season is also how technology is affecting black markets. So as technology advances, things change as well and adapt to what's out there."

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Additionally, Goldman shares that moving forward with the series is "something that Mike would want us to do."

"I would say we'd have to see what that looks like," Goldman adds of a potential season 3. "Mike was our guiding light in this show, and not having him being a part of it is a hard pill to swallow. But then again, we know the importance of these stories, and the importance of the show to Michael. We want to continue that to honor him."

Season 2 of Black Market with Michael K. Williams premieres Monday at 10 p.m. ET on Vice TV.

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