The legacy of The Wire

the wire graphicHBO’s The Wire may have been the single best series in the history of television. But it was also extremely difficult to get onboard. I tried to watch the first episode of season one but tossed in the towel. The reason was simple, there were several simultaneous storylines at play and set in the streets of Baltimore’s ghettos. I couldn’t keep track of the many characters or understand the dialect.

When season two began I discovered the storylines had become more white working-class and the dialect more familiar to my rural Ohio ears. It grabbed my attention and during the season familiarized me with the many characters, including those from the first season, and better tuned me into the street jargon of Baltimore’s gangs.

At season’s end I obtained a DVD of the first season’s episodes and became a huge fan. Before the series had run its course of five seasons and sixty episodes I was eaten up and since have watched the series two more times and wouldn’t hesitate to start again if there wasn’t so good drama currently on TV.

Today’s television is what prompted this article. The number and frequency of actors from The Wire who are playing roles in current programing is a huge testament to the quality of The Wire. It has occurred enough to motivate me to compile a brief list of some major characters from The Wire and the programs in which those actors are now regular cast members.

  • Avon Barksdale – Justified
  • Russell “Stringer” Bell – BBC’s Luther
  • Cedric Daniels – Intelligence
  • Bunk Moreland – Treme
  • Lester Freeman – Treme & Person of Interest
  • Spiros “Vondas” Vondopoulos – True Detectives
  • Omar Little – Boardwalk Empire
  • Howard “Bunny” Colvin – Brooklyn Nine Nine
  • Norman Wilson – House of Cards
  • Denny “Cutty” Wise – The Walking Dead
  • Brother Mouzone – True Detectives

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