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The Wire perhaps gained the most fame for its sprawling cast of residents, which embodied a diversity from the alcohol-imbibing police officer to the heroin-imbibing heroin user. They are each unique in notability, given a boost above the residents of other cities by the heavy dose of authenticity that being citizens of The Wire affords them. Many were dramatized in the television show Baltimore by unconvincing actors who just couldn't replicate their natural realism.
Regrettably, the history surrounding most notable journalists in The Wire had to be disregarded after it was discovered that 95% of it was just bullshit made up by fabulist-in-residence Scott Templeton.
Jimmy McNulty is a detective in the The Wire Police Department. When he ain't policing he's a picture postcard of a drunken, self-destructive fuck-up. And when he is policing... he's pretty much the same person, actually. But on a good case, unfortunately, that's as close as a man comes to being right.
The Baltimore character of Timmy McNorbit was primarily based upon the real-life exploits of McNulty, who was said to "have the powerful nose of a schnauzer. It was always up in shit everyone else wouldn't touch."
Contrary to what McNulty would like to think, The Wire does not revolve around him. In fact, The Wire does not revolve at all.
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Roland "Prez" Pryzbytarianlewoinelrichielewski
Roland "Prez" Pryzbystanderlewberaceissogaylewski is a Polish-American detective in the The Wire Police Department. Though he doesn't seem to do much aside from enjoying crossword puzzles and making the occassional run to the local donut shop, you should see how light the trigger pull on his glock-
Shortly after littering numerous other things with accidental bullet holes, he was kicked off the force for professional misconduct. He started up a new life as a middle school teacher in one of The Wire's roughest districts, where he has successfully transformed many of his students into compulsive gamblers.
Morgan Freemon Lester Freamon is the wise old black man with the soothing deep voice. Beneath the lovable, placating exterior lies a soul of pure brash tweedy impertinence, which will stop at nothing to end crime in The Wire. He will solve your case, find the culprit and all his associates, seize all their assets, and still have time to take you out for ice cream and a cup of coffee. His expertise at police work is rivaled only by his expertise at miniature carpentry; he is the only police officer in The Wire to have appeared in Grandmother's Dollhouse Weekly.
Herc & Carver
While business in The Wire is typically a dark, sordid affair, the jolly antics of vaudeville duo Hercules "Herc" Hauk and Carverus "Carver" Carver never failed to lighten the mood. Cops by day and artists by night, the two men perform a variety of sketches, schticks, and schlimeckelicksticks for the impoverished masses of West The Wire. They have kept a stranglehold on The Wire's comedy industry, playing around the circuit all year round at big venues like The Laugh Package and Murderland Comedy.
Carver, the relatively straighter man of the duo, constantly plays off the oafish incompetence of partner Herc. The pair's routine includes live staples such as "The Immovable Object," in which Herc and Carver push a desk in opposite directions for fifteen minutes, and "The Tijuana U-Haul," in which the two clumsily relocate a corpse to fool police investigators. A frequent supporting player in their sketches is the character Fuzzy Dunlop, an invisible bear and confidential informant who helped solve their cases, voiced by Andy Richter.
Kima Greggs was by far the most interesting resident of The Wire—until she got shot, anyhow. A cunning lesbian cop whose partner disagreed with her career choice, Kima was a local legend until a drug bust gone wrong stripped her of her third dimension. Though she continues to investigate in the city, her prime years lie behind her, and she has gradually dwindled into obscurity as a prosaic has-bian.
Well well well, here we have Jay Landsman, that brobdingnagian oaf of a homicide detective. When his over-eloquent manhole of a mouth isn't running off all over the helpless mopes he shepherds for a living, he's stuffing the same orifice with meatball heroes and sausage sandwiches. Yes, Sergeant Jay Landsman is The Wire's leading epicurean: food, drink, names written in black ink, Landsman would soak them all in with utmost pleasure and ingest them to keep his fleshy cogs squeaking. His pornography stash rivals the fearsome mass of Mt. Etna, though a man of his taste and efficiency could conquer it with six Kleenexes in half a fortnight. Jay Landsman is a man with no class, but he is truly the classiest of the classless.
Ervin Burrell, age 14, had been The Wire's police commissioner for .2 years until his forced resignation in 208. Though he was far from incompetent, he had a nasty habit of "juking the numbers" to make crime statistics appear lower than they actually are. It is estimated that he juked off about 1.6 times a day during his reign, a statistic roughly average for men of his age. Since he resigned, he landed a cushy job at John's Hopkins University office of admissions, where his efforts to make the university appear more selective has ostensibly improved its ranking in the latest U.S. News and World Report.
William Rawls is a senile old police commander who passes his time yelling at people he only-kind-of recognizes, and wandering obliviously into gay bars.
Cedric Daniels is that tall, dark, handsome stranger everyone's always talking about. Notably the only character played by a Terminator. Not only that, but he's got a mysterious past that's come back to haunt him, too. And if you think he looks great in that decorated command uniform, you should see him with the uniform off. Abs so hard you can grind a sword on it. Daniels is cold as ice, hard as a motherfucker, and has a statuesque grandeur that puts the Colossus of Rhodes to great shame.
Could you believe it? A bona-fide Adonis. Just thinking of him makes me... makes me feel... so... ohhhhhhhhhhh ah ah ah ah...!
Stanislaus "Stan" Valchek is a kindly police captain on The Wire Police Department. He is the genial commander of the Southeastern district, home to many of the remaining white ethnic neighborhoods in The Wire, and moreover, is a kindly father figure and mentor who provides sage advice for younger up-and-coming officers. But you probably wouldn't know about that. No, it's all about the drunken exploits of those two idiots in homicide. Or maybe the perverted sex lives of Daniels and that broad from the DA's office. If you knew how many cases he started - with his own men and resources - and how is he repaid? Right up the god damn ass! And don't get me started on his shitbird son-in-law...
Bunny Colvin is the little pink fluffy major who took it upon himself to legalize drugs in The Wire without telling anybody. The writing was on the wall much of the time, but none of his coworkers suspected him of taking such drastic measures. They simply patted him on the head, dangled a carrot in front of him, and carried on with "adult stuff" like street busts.
When word of his experiment leaked to the public, people stopped being so nice. Carrots were no longer offered; friendly head pats were replaced by furious boot kicks. Bunny resigned in disgrace before Rawls, his superior at the time, could have him shipped off to the glue factory. Since his resignation, he found employment as the class pet for a collection of troubled teens at a The Wire city high school. His understanding of the streets from his years as a police rabbit gave him a unique perspective on the plights of the inner city children, one of whom eventually adopted him.
The Kingpin. The Chief. Big Dog. Top Banana. Head Honcho. The Great Gatsby. For better or worse, Avon Barksdale ran The Game in The Wire better than Garfield ate lasagna. People crept away and shadows grew large when his countenance shone in the West The Wire projects. Not a single soul would dare breathe a whisper or lift a finger against him or his inner circle, dubbed The Kitchen Cabinet, lest they drew the ire of Avon's terrible, slow-motion wrath.
Avon's descent from power started when he was double crossed by Stringer Bell, his best friend and partner in crime. Stringer, who was more interested in making a buck than being scary-and-a-half, betrayed the organization as Barksdale simultaneously slipped him the proverbial mickey. Barksdale's imprisonment and Bell's death left a power vacuum so imposing, only the spawn of Satan could fill it adequately.
Stringer Bell: ruthless businessman, drug kingpin, copy shop manager. Co-owner of the real estate conglomerate B&B Enterprises and co-founder of heroin confederacy The New Day Co-op, Mr. Bell was a businessman first and a purveyor of gangsta bullshit second. To the untrained eye, his approach to The Game may have made him look like some kind of a punk-ass bitch, but beneath his kindly, leather-bound exterior lay a cold heart of absolute ruthlessness. Anyone daring to question the potency of his economic analysis got acquainted with his two knuckled friends Supply and Demand.
Much like the stock market, Stringer's life in the Wire operated in cycles. Unlike the stock market, Stringer was unceremoniously gunned down by a guy in a bowtie and his homosexual frenemy.
Wee-Bey Brice is the primary enforcer for the Barksdale Organization, eliminating threats to the cartel with his army of genetically modified superfish. Born with the natural ability to command sea creatures, Brice spent the greater part of his pre-prison life nurturing his pet marine life and employing their sharp, scaly teeth in his field of business. Unfortunately, since he devoted so much time to his Pets O'War, the care of his misguided son Namond was left to his wife, vitriolic she-devil DeLonda.
D'Angelo Barksdale was the George Michael Bluth of the Barksdale criminal empire. A smart, misunderstood young man born into a crazy world he doesn't understand, D'Angelo is held in a state of arrested development by his parasitic family ties. Though he just wanted to escape the game, become a chess grandmaster, and marry his cousin, D'Angelo could have none of it. After being pressured by his cold mother Lucille Barksdale, young D took the words of his uncle Avon to heart: "Family first." D was ready to fall on his sword for the good of the Barksdales until Stringer Bell beat him to the punch. Come on!
Sim Charles was your typical inner-city tall, gawky nerd-type person, hanging out in the alley with his ladyfriend who was obviously out of his league, when all of a sudden the biggest bully in all of The Wire decided to kick some broken glass into his face. He stood up the the bully, but couldn't fight for his honor since, though he was quite tall, his slimness failed to make him imposing.
In a fit of frustration, Charles rushed home, kicked over every chair in the house, and decided how to get back at the bully once and for all. He traded his copy of vintage Charles Atlas advertisements for a gun at a local pawn shop and subsequently shot the big bully to death. Avon Barksdale took note of his excellent shot and hired him onto the team at once.
These excellent survival skills proved to be Slim's most valuable asset, as he is one of the few surviving residents of The Wire by the time of its downfall.
Bodie Broadus is the only kid growing up exclusively in The Wire to make it past the age of sixteen. In fact, he made it all the way to twenty. Such a feat of longevity was unprecedented, resulting in unexpected demeanor shifts some theoretical scientists loosely define as "growth." Since most children of The Wire are shot to death before their testicles drop, Bodie's growth manifested itself in strange ways. He developed the peculiar habit of befriending the policemen he once vilified, started to question and rebel against authority, and discovered within himself a shrewed intellect and solid moral compass.
Naturally, once the Powers That Be discovered a black youth went unmurdered for four whole years, they had Bodie shot in the back of the head. So it goes.
Poot Car, despite probably being one of the ugliest motherfuckers in The Wire, gets enough pussy to keep a Korean sweatshop well-fed. 'Nuff said.
Marlo Stanfield is The Wire's crown prince of darkness. He survives on a strict diet of human flesh and the blood of the innocent; after these balanced meals, Marlo relieves himself by shitting evil and pissing violence. Rising up rapidly in The Wire's drug game, his empire grew for just three corners in 2004 to covering nearly all of West and East The Wire in 2008, putting Mom & Pop Heroin Emporiums out of business one by one. His absolutely ruthless approach to the drug trade has led some to criticize Marlo as being "too evil." Those critics have never been seen again.
When The Wire was marked to be razed, Marlo channeled the idea of his thematic ancestor Stringer Bell and struck an odious deal with Simon and Burns to sell all his real estate before the plots vanished and take his investments elsewhere. Emerging from the city as a strict businessman, Marlo found himself in the doomed Stringer's identically doomed loafers: a man without a country out of touch from the streets he once ruled. Never one to brood or worry, Marlo spent little time wallowing in this poetic justice, and his menservants prepared a hearty meal of viande du Simon.
Chris Partlow is Marlo Stanfield's right hand man, his chief advisor and enforcer, and best friend for life. He is a gentle soul and a family man, strongly opposed to controversial topics such as gay marriage and sexual molestation. When he isn't attending his son's little league games or daughter's violin recitals, he is murdering hundreds of innocents at his boss's command.
Snoop serves as Marlo Stanfield's guard dog during the reign of his criminal empire, fending off opponents with its vicious teeth and distinctively East Coast marksmanship. Snoop has been called "the scariest motherfucker in The Wire" despite its small size, channeling historical terrors such as The Red Baron during its killing sprees. Though it is never shown, it is implied that Marlo abused Snoop, holding it on a tight leash to keep it loyal. Snoop is euthanized in The Wire's dying days by her surrogate owner Michael Lee, immediately after revealing Snoop's hidden identity as a (SPOILERS!) girl.
Calvin "Method 'Cheese' Man" Wagstaff was one of the rare tourists of The Wire to take up residence. A professional actor/rapper who earned the first nickname "Method Man" for his immersive training techniques, Calvin traveled to The Wire for some undercover study on an upcoming role as a mentally challenged drug dealer. Unfortunately, as his dug himself too deep in the game, his manufactured persona overtook his genuine character. He paid for the change with his life.
Francis "Frank" Sobotka was a respected longshoremen's local union leader who became involved with an organized crime smuggling operation in order to finance a political campaign to sustain the docks.
What were you saying? That's right. Sorry friend, we don't have anything to tell you.
...you still here? I told you we don't know shit, goddamn it! You want us to dance with a grand jury, we will! What do you say Johnny? What do you say to any question?
Johnny "Fifty" Spamanto
I take the fifth commandment.
And if they offer you immunity to testify against your union brothers?
Thomas "Horseface" Pakusa
I don’t remember.
Vernon "Ott" Motley
Don’t remember what?
Little Big Roy
PO-litics and Courts
Though Maurice Levy frequently defends goyims and ganefs, he's an integral enough part of The Wire's drug trade to consider schwarzes like Stringer Bell and Marlo Stanfield mishpocha. His sleazy counsel is the challah-und-chbutter of the criminal element's legal department, though he has drawn controversy with such advice as "You want I should order more heroin for you, or you have enough chutzpah to do it yourself?" and "Moida? Gunish. Kill the witness for Moses' sake."
Levy is one of the few residents of The Wire to wear his religion on his sleeve like a Star of David. He is a strict disciple of amorality, having long abandoned his Jewish heritage to live a life devoted to the Green God of Profiteering.
The Honorable Judge Daniel Phelan is an honorable goddamn sleazebag. He is not a religious man, repeatedly refusing to believe that homophobic thugs are returned messiahs, against better judgment.
Rhonda Pearlman slept with Jimmy McNulty a lot. Like, a lot a lot. She slept with him more times than he slept with his wife and sister combined, and he probably never even slept with his wife. But that's all besides the point. The point is: Jimmy McNulty liked to sleep with her.
At some point, she decided to stop being a mattress and suddenly morphed into a buttress against McNulty's sultry advances. Cedric Daniels, freshly divorced, was remarkably attracted to her big buttress. The rest, they say, is history.
Thomas J. "Tommy" Carcetti is the "shining golden boy" of The Wire's political machine who rises from a seat on the city council to the office of the Mayor of The Wire. Carcetti was idealistic and ambitious, and had the backing of The Wire's powerful first district Democrats. Carcetti aimed to effect real change and hoped to improve the city of The Wire, perpetuating his persona as The Wire's "Unfortunately White Hope." He had a strong ambition to become mayor and had formed a plan to unseat the African American incumbent, Clarence Royce.
Morgan Freemon Lester Freamon Norman Wilson is the other, other soothing black man with the cool, deep voice. Except this time, he's into politics. Norman served as deputy campaign manager to Tommy Carcetti during his mayoral run, during which his duties amounted to doing hilarious impressions of political rivals and imparting some much-needed ebony flavor to the vanilla milkshake that was Carcetti For Mayor.
Clay Davis is a corrupt politician that, in 2008, was made a scapegoat for the whole damn machine. He won over the hearts and minds of his public with his passionate speeches, contagious charisma, and incredible pronunciation of the word "shit."
The Street/Other Connections
Reginald "Bubbles" Cousins is a professional actor based in The Wire who made his living playing struggling heroin addicts for a living. He is said to be so good at his job that many people often mistake him for a real heroin addict, which Bubbles eventually became. He guest starred as a fictional version of himself on Baltimore, though his performance has been called "phoned in," "gimmicky" and "an obvious piece of stunt casting with no emotional depth."
In a desperate move to get back onto The Wire's A-List, Bubbles spent months developing a father-son relationship with a street urchin named Sherrod. Three months later, he spiked Sherrod's heroin with rat poison and grieved loudly over his death, a move that would later be called "almost Emmy-nomination worthy."
Omar Little, a stick-up man with a strict moral code, is perhaps the most legendary resident of The Wire. After sticking up drug dealers and taking their stashes for nearly a decade, he retired in 2006 to become the corporate spokesman for Honey Nut Cheerios.
He was dragged back into the game in 2007 when kingpin Marlo Stanfield murdered his agent Butchie and set fire to his entire Cheerios stash. An incensed Omar attempted to get revenge on Marlo, but narrowly escaped an ambush by his enforcers by jumping out of a fifth-story window and walking away unscathed. He narrowly escaped death again mere days later, when a little boy shot him in the head, only for Omar to walk away unscathed once more. Marlo has since put an enormous bounty on his head; however, Omar sightings since then have been few and incredible. Reports from inside the The Wire police department suggest he is hiding in the city morgue until the heat dies down.
Omar is the only man in the city to be openly gay. Studies have suggested that his multiple boyfriends may also be gay, though it is never openly stated.
Brother Mouzone, meaning "juicylicious" in Arabic, is an articulate and well-mannered gentleman from Law & Order, New York. "The Brother" does not fit the usual picture of an ordinary African American, always wearing a suit, glasses, speaking politely and precisely, and reading magazines such as Harper's, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and The Nation. His dress, along with an extremely proper and pious persona is a manner typically associated with the Nation of Islam, more particularly its paramilitary wing, the Fruit of Islam, although it is never explicitly stated that he belongs to either organization. He reveals himself as a Muslim by mouthing "Allahu akbar" repeatedly after Omar shoots him, and he believes he is about to die, just in case the bowtie didn't give it away. He is always accompanied by his bodyguard Lamar, his idiotic foil.
The Greeks are a criminal network of odious purpose, mysterious import, and dubious fashion sense. The head of the Greeks, aptly named The Greek, oversees the business's dirty dealings from a distance, while his underboss Vondas manages the personnel. This business model is based on the structure of ancient Greek underworld enterprises, where slave-smugglers would brutally rape their cargo while their lords watched from afar. Staying true to these pleasurific inspirations, The Greek stood back and watched with an analytic eye as his underlings executed the vicious, nearly literal rape of The Wire's once-great Sobotka family. Vondas died of a heart attack following a round of golf with Ari Gold.
Despite the name, no one in The Greeks is actually Greek. One guy named Boris is Russian, another guy is Israeli, and virtually everyone else is some hybrid of Jamaican and Inuit. However, they all get together on Sundays to watch reruns of Greek on ABC Family.
Proposition Joe was the drug kingpin who had all of East The Wire under his control between 2002 and 2005. His generous dealing strategies differed greatly from the aggressive tactics observed in West The Wire. He started, with business partner Fat-Faced Rick, the New Day Co-Op to distribute The Wire's drug supply in accordance to the eons-old tenant of "share the love, get better drugs." In an interview conducted with Ebony magazine, Prop Joe gave his insight on the issue:
|They say it's better to be feared than loved. I don't subscribe to that particular ideology, you feel me? In 2005, I made a proposition to myself: put the reverse of that already-ass-backwards theory into motion and share the love, in exchange for being loved. I already got the fat down, I just had to secure the jolly. And it turns out The Wire took up their end of the deal too.|
That is, until 2008, when he was betrayed by his nephew Cheese and brutally murdered by his own protégé Marlo Stanfield, the proverbial Grinch to Prop Joe's Santa Claus. His bleak demise falls in line with The Wire's theme of "burdensome niggas" negatively affecting their more competent relatives.
[Alma Gutierrez / Randy Wagstaff / Wallace]
[Alma Gutierrez / Randy Wagstaff / Wallace] is a [idealistic / young / young and idealistic] [journalist / child / homeless child drug dealer]. (S)he [wrote in-depth, well-researched pieces / was an innocent little kid / began to question the inherent immorality of his trade] until the corrupt [chief editors / other kids / drug bosses] [demoted her unreasonably / completely destroyed his innocence / had him murdered by his best friends]. [Her / His / His] presence in The Wire serves primarily as a thematic illustration of how [being a journalist / being a kid / being a drug-dealing kid] will inevitably [ruin your life / really ruin your life / really really ruin your life. Seriously].
Dennis "Cutty" Wise
Dennis "Cutty" Wise is a reformed criminal who, under the alias Doc Louis, sets up a boxing gym for neighborhood children. After getting out of prison he joins back up with the Barksdale crew as muscle, couldn't murder his target because he had too much heart. With his ex-boss's blessing, he leaves the criminal world and starts up a boxing center in an attempt to reach out to local street youths. He is later wounded after one of them mistakes his encouragement for a sexual advance. He reappears in Season 5 to briefly train Dukie as well as to give him advice on how to deal with people that give him trouble.
- ↑ Including, but not limited to, a Black police officer.
- ↑ Though Herc Hauk is an avid reader.
- ↑ And don't get me started on his grindin' sword.
- ↑ "Whatsa' matter sweetie, can't find a single man?"
- ↑ From the goodness of his heart, mind you.
- ↑ An odd place for a bunny to go, in retrospect, but a terrifying end nonetheless.
- ↑ See: Stanfield, Marlo.
- ↑ See also: Daniels, Cedric.
- ↑ Sound familiar?
- ↑ Contrary to popular belief, his mother did not dress him.
- ↑ Especially not The Greek. Where the Hell did you get that idea? He's Dominican, for Christ's sake.
- ↑ Which lends to a surprisingly convincing Greek accent.
- ↑ See also: Valchek, Stanislaus.
- ↑ No one bothered to tell Cutty that the heart is also a muscle.
- ↑ Which roughly equates to "I will not kill you... for now."