*THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS*
Last night I finally completed the fifth and final season of HBO’s epic drama, The Wire. Let me go ahead and be the 40 millionth person to say that I don’t think there is a better television show. At least that I’ve seen.
How many television shows can you say give you a realistic portrayal of the drug trade and police department, along with problems within the black and white community? If I had to describe the show in one phrase, I’ll take a page from beloved stick-up man Omar Little and say, “It’s all in the game yo.”
All of the criminal characters exhibit human qualities(Marlo Stanfield excluded) and allow the viewer to almost feel sorry for them. Even though some of them have participated in some horrible activities and maybe played the less-righteous side of the fence, you feel sorry for them because it’s the only life they know or feel they can live with. The characters you’re supposed to root for are extremely flawed, so much to the point that I found myself disliking some of “the good guys.”
Throughout the course of the show, I’ve been asked about who my favorite and least favorite characters are on the show. After finishing the show, I feel like I can give a true list of my top five. Certain to change as time passes, one day after finishing the show here is my top five favorite characters in ascending order:
5. Stringer Bell
Other than maybe a couple of other guys, maybe the third most ruthless character on the show. Idris Elba did a great job of making you hate but respect Stringer. I absolutely hated Stringer for some of his actions but could respect his plans to go legit and his overall on-screen presence. String was the brains behind Avon’s entire operation and in the end, his own sneakiness did him in. His best scene in my opinion is his balcony scene with Avon. Both men are reminicising about old times and talking about how their present life is. The best part? Both men are obviously uncomfortable due to the fact that they are essentially giving each other up behind each other’s backs. It’s a powerful scene between two alpha dogs.
4. Cedric Daniels
I don’t see how you can hate Daniels. The guy was one of the few characters who remained true to his morals throughout the show. I enjoyed watching how he went from Lieutenant and getting stepped on by his superiors to a step away from Police Commissioner before walking away due to his values. The guy went above and beyond for McNulty, Kima and the rest of the team and did what he could in order to finish a case. I saw his magnetic relationship with Rhonda Pearlman as a form of vindication for Daniels and his troubles throughout the series.
3. Michael Lee
Michael Lee makes my list purely off of his character growth. At the beginning I found Michael too forced and emotionless. It wasn’t until I began to appreciate his affection shown towards Dukie and his little brother Bug that Michael really changed my mind. I began to look at him as relief from the loud and obnoxious Namond Brice. As disappointed as I was to see Mike lean towards Chris as a dominant male figure in his life, I was equally satisfied to see Michael question why Marlo did business the way he did. Michael’s kill of one of my least favorite characters, followed by his ascension onto the “throne” previously held by Omar Little were the final two actions I needed to in order to justify Michael’s position as my third favorite character.
2. Bunk Moreland
This was a hard one for me. From seasons 1-4, Bunk was my favorite on The Wire. His quick wit, easygoing attitude and his ongoing quest to keep Jimmy McNulty in line were some of my favorite character traits of his. My issue with Bunk? Season 5. Along with the greatness that is Season five came a less exciting Bunk Moreland. Not all of his fault as he was busy with a case but his demotion came mostly came to my realization of how truly great my #1 was. In my opinion, Bunk had the funniest lines in the show. Not always meaningful, but always entertaining. Who else refers to themself in third person……..?
1. Omar Little
Omar Little of course! Before I had ever even began watching the show, I had heard about the greatness of Omar. “Greatest TV Character of All-Time” was all I heard for years. Even while watching, Omar held a secondary place in my heart behind Bunk. It wasn’t until the 5th and final season that Omar became my favorite character. I watched the man struggle. For once he didn’t seem so invincible. I found myself rooting for Omar as if he was some kind of hood superhero trying to save the streets of Baltimore from the horrible Marlo Stanfield and his crew. As the show drew to a close, I realized something: Omar had the most memorable lines in the entire series and it’s not even close. “I robs drug dealers.” “Day at a time I suppose.” “You come at the King, you best not miss.” The guy was a magical moment waiting to happen on-screen. This guy was easily the toughest guy in the whole show and guess what…he was homosexual and not trying to hide it. It’s amazing that such a character was created and played so well because we may not see anything like Omar again on our television screens. I’ll leave you with arguably his most famous scene.
I began AMC’s Mad Men yesterday and so far so good. The show has won multiple awards and I hear that it could be one of those shows that we may talk about 30 years from now. I don’t doubt that. What I do doubt, is that this show will have anywhere near the impact The Wire had on people everywhere. The Wire has jumped ABC’s Lost as my favorite show ever and I don’t see any show ever coming close. New shows will come along and I’ll eventually finish Mad Men and Breaking Bad and then we can really see how The Wire stands up in my mind. I welcome the addition of new shows until my small world of great television; as Omar says, “all in the game though.”