Welliver worked steadily from his debut in 1990, but in the first decade of his career, he owed most of his biggest parts to what became a lengthy working relationship with the TV creator David Milch, who cast him in “NYPD Blue” as well as the short-lived series “Brooklyn South” and “Big Apple,” and finally his 2004 HBO Western series “Deadwood.”
On “Deadwood,” Welliver played henchman Silas Adams, who enters the series as a collector for Magistrate Claggett (Marshall Bell) but switches sides to work for Al Swearengen (Ian McShane) when the latter pays him to murder his old boss. From there, he becomes one of Swearengen’s chief lieutenants, aiding and abetting all manner of his boss’ old conspiracies.
The experience, Welliver said, helped him grow, just as his past encounters with Milch had. “David has always presented me with characters that completely change me as an actor,” he told The Off Camera Show. “I would learn a staggering amount about not only myself as an individual but also as an actor.”
Silas survives to the end of “Deadwood” the series, but unfortunately scheduling commitments prevented him from rejoining the cast for “Deadwood: The Movie” in 2019.