Did HBO know what they had on their hands when the idea of a show in the gritty streets of Baltimore was being pitched? The Wire, with just five seasons to its name, has been labeled by some as the greatest TV show of all-time. It was great because it was real.
The characters were either someone we knew, had heard of or had seen before. They spoke to our hearts, which in turn made us fall deeper in love. The writing was so intense that we cheered for the bad guy to win and hoped the cops didn't come out victorious. While the story being told left many speechless, it was the characters we saw every week that pulled us back in. With the show long off the air, the question still being asked is: who was the best character? Here are some of the contenders.
To pass over Bubbles as a top character would be disrespectful in a few ways. His character was just as important as the dealers, politicians, journalists, and cops. Bubbles was the ear to the streets. When the cops needed info, it was Bubbles they went to. His fall from grace was epic, but his rise back to normalcy was special to see.
Bubbles went from stealing copper to selling t-shirts and socks to being locked in his sister's basement to rehab. The loss of his friend Sharrod changed his outlook on life. He was not the one selling drugs, but Bubbles' story was one that many in the inner city could relate to.
9 Wee-Bey Brice
Before Slim and Brodie, there was Wee-Bey. Bey was the muscle, the shooter, and the one who looked at life and knew there was nothing more to it than what was happening in the Baltimore streets. Wee-Bey ran the streets like a trained member of some military task force. As deadly as he was, he was funny too, with his facial expressions and one-liners.
But the true essence of Bey was summed up in two critical scenes, Wee-Bey gave two different life lessons to parents and one for soldiers. Never snitch. Wee-Bey took the heat just to keep it off his bosses. When he realized his son wasn't meant for the streets, Bey made the tough decision to let go and give him a better life.
8 Slim Charles
Slim can only be described as a loyal soldier. He started out as muscle for Avon and Stringer but then offered that same service to rival Marlo when Avon and Stringer's grip on the city fell. It wasn't betrayal. Slim understood the code of survival of the streets and did what he thought was necessary.
He managed to survive in a game that respects nothing but loyalty. He's quick to get involved and takes orders just as well as he started to give them later in the series. Slim was a rare gem trapped in a game that normally has no rules or code of ethics.
7 Jimmy McNulty
Were his tactics a bit out of bounds? Yes, but trying to solve homicides in Baltimore did not come with a handbook. At times, he had to color outside the lines as residents knew no boundaries. McNulty never profiled anyone, choked a perp or crossed some racial line. He did what he felt was necessary.
His drinking habits were a bit extreme and his personal life was a complete mess, but he got the job done. Mistakes were bound to happen given the way he conducted his plans, but in the end, he was one of the best at what he did.
6 Michael Lee
The surprise of The Wire. When Season 4 hit, it changed the show. Once focused on the streets, then the distribution, and then the political side of Baltimore, The Wire truly hit home in Season 4 with the Public School system. What that did was introduce viewers to cast members like Michael.
Mike never wanted anyone to see or hear him coming. His personality and the way he carried himself made Marlo want him on his team. Mike was smart, calculating, and determined. Mike's biggest hurdle was that he never saw more in himself.
5 Stringer Bell
Stringer Bell could be standing right next to you and you would never know he was a crime boss. He was just that smooth. He spoke directly and would let his intentions be known. But what set Bell apart from the others was that he wanted more out of that life.
He owned real estate. Went to school, lived in a nice apartment, and dressed the part of a businessman. When others looked to him for guidance, Stringer directed as a teacher and not a dictator. He came up with the idea of the Co-Op to make sure everyone ate.
4 Avon Barksdale
In the beginning, there was only one king-- Avon Barksdale. Although he had a partner in Stringer Bell, it was clear Avon called the shots. Avon was no-one's fool, but his power also came from muscle. "I just suppose I'm a gangsta" will always be a defining moment in The Wire's history.
Avon knew how to rule with power. The reason for his downfall was that he continued to rule as if he had something to prove. He never saw the world the way Stringer did. Still, his character spoke volumes to viewers and will go down as a solid leader.
3 Marlo Stanfield
The new hustler on the scene changed the way Baltimore was run. After Avon went to prison, Marlo took center stage. While the others were busy forming the Co-Op, Marlo continued to build his empire alone. A soft-spoken guy, he did his bidding with brute force. He was able to take over corners with his own muscle but was so smooth that he also enlisted some dealers from the Barksdale clan.
Barksdale was smart, but Marlo was intelligent. Just look at the last few moments of the series finale. His whole team is in a cell and only Marlo gets out. At the same time, where is Avon?
2 Bodie Broadus
Bodie was another loyal soldier. Even when he had to join forces with Marlo, Bodie wasn't feeling it. He just knew it was part of the game and the rule to survival. Unlike Slim, Bodie didn't have to put in any work. His job was to make sure the corner ran smoothly. His death was a hard pill for fans to follow.
Bodie didn't have much in life but he protected and respected his corner. Unlike most in that life, Bodie understood how the game was changing and didn't like it. He gave his life fighting for a corner that was really never his to begin with.
1 Omar Little
How did the most ruthless of the cast become the most beloved? It didn't hit home how important the show or Omar was until his death.
Omar was the neighborhood stick up guy who robbed drug dealers but did so with a code. Fear didn't exist for him. Everyone was afraid of Omar. He snitched on the stand, never wore a mask and walked the streets as if he didn't do a thing. On a show about drugs and the effects they have on a community, Omar Little stood out the most.