Wednesday 27 May 2015

My Top Twenty Favourite Characters in THE WIRE

... I'm currently watching all five series all over again, and seeing so much more in it than the first time round ~ all the parallels between the streets and the corruption in politics/the upper echelons of the police force, and how there are good people the wrong side of the law, and evil people the right side, etc etc etc!  I'd recommend watching it again if you loved it as much as I did.  I tried to start making my list for a top ten, like I've done before with Boardwalk Empire, The Walking Dead and Mad Men, but soon realised I needed a whole twenty, like I did with 24.

Here goes (and I've put my most hated at the end!):

20.  Dispensing words of wisdom to Omar at number 20 ~ there was something about the relationship between Mr 'Rip and Run' and 'mostly blind' Butchie, played by S. Robert Morgan, that was kind of touching, wasn't there?  Butchie's death was soooo sad, especially when Omar left his happy life in rural simplicity with Renaldo, to avenge it.

19.  At number 19 is Bow Tie himself ~ Michael Potts as the ice cool man from New York, Brother Mouzone.  I admire anyone who can stay that unruffled, even at the moment of possible death.  Loved his and Omar's mutual respect, and the sight of them teaming up against the charismatic but detestable Stringer Bell.

18.  I had a certain amount of time for Aiden Gillen as Mayor Thomas Carcetti.  Sometimes totally self-serving, as is par for the course, but the only politician in the whole show who had something genuine going on as well.  Or perhaps he was just not quite as awful as the rest of them!  Quite liked the scene in series 3 which caught him naked at the sink with a random female, too...

17.  Hanging around on the corner at number 17 is poor Dukie, played by Jermaine Crawford.  Didn't you just want to take him home and look after him?  If only Mr Prezbo had....  

16.  Doing that secondary-character-who-grows-on-you thing at number 16 - Corey Parker Robinson's Leander Sydnor, for no other reason than he's a sound guy.  

15.  I kind of liked Nick Sobotka.  Played by Pablo Schrieber, he was about the only one who gave his appalling cousin Ziggy any time, and although his choices were way off beam he saw the error of his ways in the end (albeit too late for the unfortunate Frank).  Nice cameo appearance heckling Carcetti in Series 5, but I liked him best when he pointed out to Frog, who talked more extravagant Baltimore street drug talk than Bodie, Poot and Snoop put together, that he was actually white.... 

14.  Mending a toaster at number 14, I present Proposition Joe.  One of the many smart criminals of Baltimore who would probably have excelled in a legitimate way if the stork had dropped them elsewhere.  Pretty reasonable chap, mostly.  For a drug baron.  Loved his quiet way of making a point.  Played by Robert F Chew.

13.  A late favourite.  Made me want to work on a newspaper with him.  Gus Haynes, editor of the ever failing Baltimore Sun, played by Clark Johnson.  Ethical dude, high fives to him for slamming down the awful Templeton, who tried to build a journalistic career for himself based on lies.  For we ladies of a certain age, he's got it going on, too.

12.  Look, I know he killed Wallace, but he so didn't want to, and it wasn't easy for him.  I grew fonder of Bodie, played by JD Williams, as the series went on - and I think the Western District cops did too.  I enjoyed his banter with Carver and McNulty.  I won't talk about his end...  sooooo sad.

11.  Pushing along a supermarket trolley full of whiteys at number 12, one of the most tragic characters in the show.  Everyone loved Bubbles, played by Andre Royo.  Weren't you just rooting for him to find a way to turn his life around, all the way through it?  Of course he wasn't without chances, but the pull of the smack was always too strong.  So glad the writers resisted what must have been a temptation to make his end sad, too.  And remember the hat game?  Genius!

10.  Into my top ten - you've gotta love Bunk MorelandWendell Pierce did a marvellous job with him.  The ultimate fat drunk guy who still thinks he's a bit of a catch, but does it with such charm, and I did like the drunken conversations with Jimmy, at night by the railway line.  And their ploys for pulling women.

9.  Talking sense at number 9, another one of those who stayed in the background at first but I got to really like - Slim Charles, played by Anwan Glover.  Earned a place in the top ten for dealing with the detestable Cheese, right at the end ~ "That was for Joe".  He was sharp enough to change allegiances when the time was right, mild mannered, reasonable, and someone who, like Prop Joe, might have been a thoroughly decent guy if he'd been born elsewhere.  I loved the dressing down he gave the two who shot Omar's grandmother's 'crown'.  Not on a Sunday, right?!

8.  At number 8, Sonja Sohn as Kima Greggs.  Kind to Bubbles, dedicated to the job, not afraid to say what she thinks, a match for any man and bored shitless by all that baby stuff - that's my girl!

7.  At number 7 the often fiery and impulsive but thoroughly decent Carver, played by Seth Gilliam; he climbed the ladder in my estimation when he tried to help poor Randi Wagstaff.  So many great scenes with Hauk, too; a real straight man and buffon comedy double act.  Excellent.  I won't mention the fact that he's quite cute, of course.

6.  This is in the top five most tragic, too - D'Angelo Barksdale, played by Lawrence Gillard Jnr.  Yes, he'd just killed some poor guy in the opening episode, but he soon showed his truer and much more deep thinking colours ~ he tried to make the luckless Wallace go back to school, and seriously wanted out by the end.  If only he'd been born into another family; his speech when he described to McNulty why he wanted a different life was one of the most moving scenes in the show.  And didn't you love his demonstration to Wallace and Poot about how the game of chess was just like the Barksdale organisation?  Mos' def. 

5.  Ah, dear Prez - Roland Pryzbylewski, played by Jim True-Frost.  Started off as Valchek's cocky son-in-law, blinding a relatively innocent bystander in episode one, then turned his wordsearch puzzle aptitude into genius with the 'paper trail' - and he earned a place in my top five when he became the best sort of teacher any disadvantaged kid could hope for.  

4.  At four, the lovely Bunny Colvin.  Yes, Hamsterdam could have worked, it really could!  His experiences typified one of the main themes of the show - that those who tried to do good were thwarted at every turn by politics and the self-serving theories of those in charge.  Liked him most when he tried to get through to the hopeless kids in Series 4.  If only he could have taken on Randi, Dukie and Michael, as well as Namond...  played by Robert Wisdom.

3.   I dunno, I didn't like Dominic West's Jimmy McNulty so much when he went all straight in Series 4 - I wanted to see him waking up in his bedroom that looked as if he'd only just moved in, coming to work with a hangover, drinking with Bunk.  Though I felt so sorry for Beadie in Series 5 when he started being an arse again - and was in two minds over the mock serial killer thing - but there's something so engaging about someone who does and says what he wants without fearing the consequences, is there not?  Maybe we all wish there was a bit of McNulty in us...  (I have already anticipated the answer to that!)

2.  Carefully painting his dolls house miniatures in second place, the wonderful Lester Freamon, alias Clark Peters.  The voice of reason, always with something intelligent and wise to say, quietly singled minded and focused throughout.  Don't think he said one dumb thing in the whole five series.  One of his most hilarious moments was in Series 5 when, much to Bunks's surprise, he started to advise McNulty on how to do the serial killer scam to greater effect.  Just loved him.  Lucky old Shardene, I say!

1.  Who else could be Number One but the sensational Omar?   Michael K Williams has created one of the best fictional characters ever, I reckon.  So many snippets of TV heaven - the trip out for the honey nut cheerios, the court scene when he testified against Bird, his 'high noon' thing with Brother Mouzone.  Stroke of brilliance on behalf of the writers to make him gay, too.  Indeed.  And he never shot no citizens.

I found a wonderful video on Youtube of all his finest moments, but you can only watch it on that site, so if you'd like to see it, it's HERE.
The first bit is not very good quality, but don't be put off, the rest is fine.

Want to see my most hated, too?
Here they are, in no particular order, though the last three pictures definitely show the most evil...

Lying journalist twat
I don't care how old he is - he KILLED OMAR
Bell and Barksdale ~ they may have been clever, charismatic and both kinda hot, but still a pair of evil bastards!
Nasty piece of work or what!
Loved seeing his downfall..

The woman who saw drug dealing as the best career move for her son
I can't forgive him for the duck...
The shot in the head - served him right for robbing nice Dennis Wise
Omar got his shotgun, Levy got his briefcase...
They'll pop you off if Marlo doesn't like your face ~ it's all in a days' work
True evil, with no saving grace at all

It did occur to me that I've hardly mentioned two of the main characters, Stringer Bell and Avon Barksdale, but I imagine much has been written about them elsewhere, and they didn't quite fit into my 'most detestable'.  

 ....and, lastly, the prize for most ludicrous hairdo goes to....


  1. We never watched The Wire, but have all the DVDs. We'll have to dig them out and give the show a try.

    1. It's up there with the very best, Judith!

  2. Am I the only person in the world who has never seen THE WIRE??

    1. If so, I envy you. I'd love not to have seen it all so I could watch it fresh, it's terrific!

  3. This is great, Terry and really makes me want to join you in watching them all again. Like you my fave was Omar but I also had a soft spot for Stringer and his chunky knitwear and Bubbles. And I quite liked Ziggy - he was such a disaster in everything he did bless him :D

    1. Bless him???? E, you know what you said about attracting the nutters? I've just worked out why...!!! :^D I quite liked Stringer, too, until he had Wallace killed. Still had admiration for him, because I admire intelligence and smarts - but D'Angelo was a step too far, and he went on my hit list!!

    2. Ha ha - I don't think Ziggy was bad just a total mess ;-)

    3. Know whatcha mean, but he wasn't a very nice person, was he?

    4. His desperation to be one of the bad boys over rode everything else. He needed taking in hand but no, you're right, in the end he wasn't very nice :D

  4. Absolutely essential viewing, one of the greatest TV dramas of the past decade or more. I guess every fan's list would be a little different. No Cedric Daniels and Rhonda Pearlman? But glad you included Bubbles, my number one.

    1. Daniels & Rhonda would have been in my top 30, Mel, and Rhonda was touch and go for this list - I couldn't stand her at first, but really warmed to her in the last series. Did like Cedric, but a bit too disapproving and straight backed for me!!! TOOO many to choose from - so many were added at first then discarded!!

  5. Still, in my humble view, the greatest show ever to air on any channel/tv set. The fact that so many of us can remember, so fondly, the huge range of amazing characters, tells us how wonderful this was!

    Another great list, Terry, with many of my faves on there, and with so many more you could have included, it says everything about The Wire.

    1. Oh yeah, I had to revise the bottom 10 over and over as I changed my mind! I think it's my top one too, closely followed by Boardwalk Empire, with 24 and Breaking Bad next :)

    2. I think I am with you there! The Wire stands tall, with Boardwalk and 24 following closely behind, and of course, who could forget Breaking Bad.... have to say I am pretty hooked on Sons of Anarchy at the moment :)

    3. Yes, I like SOA, but thought the later series were not so good. Oz is great, have you seen that?

    4. I'm on S7 now - and still loving it, though I have not recovered yet from the shock of the S6 finale. Oz? No, I haven't - will have to check that out. Thanks.

  6. I can't believe Slim Charles made your top 10 over such greats as Carcetti, Bubbs, and Snoop! But overall, great list. Seriously, has there ever been a show as amazing as this one? Answer: NO.

    1. Ah, Carcetti was a bit of a snake, I know Bubbs was lovely, but I detested Snoop! I loved Slim Charles, his manner and all that. Really appealed to me. And NO, there hasn't!!!!!