Our terrific social guy Josh just finished the show for the first time last night and we were DMing about it. As someone dubbed "the Wire tweeter" (as if it's a bad thing) by certain shitty jerkoff wannabe gamblers, I decided to write a blog. The Wire is the greatest show ever and it's hard to understate the validity and realness of the show. It's gritty and raw and I love it. It should be a requirement that every person that lives in this country watch this masterpiece. A lot of people are watching this for the first time and I often think about how great it would be to erase it from my memory and watch it again. It's hard to rank these characters as they're all great, and I had to leave many out but here's my list. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE SHOW, I RECOMMEND TO STOP READING NOW, AS THERE IS A SPOILERS. I decided to keep the two main characters out, we all know how great they are.
HONORABLE MENTION: Avon Barksdale, Lester Freamon, Jay Landsman, Gus Haynes, Michael Lee, Prez, Bunk, Nick Sobotka, Norman Wilson, Carcetti
10. Ellis Carver: Most of the cops on the show were likable but also had their own flaws. Carver's development over the entirety of the show was magnifying. He started out as an immature cop who would rather joke and do the bare minimum to get by but by the end he was a compassionate leader moving up the ranks and actually seemed like one of the good ones who could actually make a difference. His arc was during Season 3, his work in Hamsterdam showed his ability to lead and go a different route as a cop as he took the advice from Colvin, a cop that saw the real vision to how to truly make a difference but he failed due to a failed war that can never be won. Carver's relationship with Randy Wagstaff was a tear jerker. It showed that he'd do what he could to go above and beyond the call but also showed he was helpless due to horrific state rules and restrictions.
9. Preston "Bodie" Broadus: As he said in his final scene, "You ain't putting me in one of those empty ass houses neither". He was more loyal than virtually anyone on the show and his ability for many years to survive and adapt and his ascension was honorable. The problem was in the end he was never willing to forget the old days and to just worry about himself and either make a move or get moved on. I still though respect him for his candid honor and loyalty to his friends. His pride was there until the end. In the end though, as his Season 1 chess scene emphasized, "the king stay the king" and pawns get capped quick.
8. Frank Sobotka: Most people with little guidance on the show don't like Season 2, which is nonsense. It was a needed season that delved into where the drugs come from and how there shoveled into Baltimore streets. It also magnified that the war on Drugs as a class problem no matter what race or nationality you are. Frank was a sad tale of America that has disappeared… industry. His care for his family and colleagues was passionate but proved deadly. He made it a point to ruin those relationships in the process. I'm not sure there's a character group in the series that made me feel more sad for over Frank and his family. He and his counterparts are the dilapidation of the fall of industry in our country. This scene where he says this was one of the best in show: "You know what the trouble is, Brucey? We used to make shit in this country, build shit. Now we just put our hand in the next guy's pocket."
7. "Proposition" Joe Stewart: I've said over the years, Prop Joe was one of my favorite characters. A spry, cold and calculated, smart crime boss, but one that could offer levity, intellect and old school values. His ability to be ahead of the law with wiretap info and grand jury statements was terrific and he stayed out of the can. Something few could do. His idea for the New Day Coop was smart and it worked. Make money, not headlines was his motto. The only problem was in the end he was out dueled by a younger more viscous crime boss with his eye on the prize and that didn't respect the older generation. Prop Joe was what he was, a vicious drug dealer who wore out the crown and like many before him had there day. His phone call in trying to find Herc is and always will be hilarious though.
6. Stringer Bell: A lot of people rooted for Stringer. And why not, his personality, zeal and business demeanor was fascinating. He attempted to become a Donald Trump type all the while selling kilos and offing witnesses. He's one of the more complex people in the show and in the end, his model just couldn't work. The drug trade was not meant to be reformed. He had to die. He was used by the rich and powerful and he used the stick up boys and runners. Still though, his final words were epic. he went out like the cold gangster he truly was and pretended not to be.
5. Marlo Stanfield: Marlo was and is the word gangster. A menacing, callous individual who loved only money and power. He had no vices. His only friend was his power. He literally saw no value in human life and was the truest form of what he was. He held no punches and as was mean as a lion hungry for food. His famous words in Prop Joe's living room when Joe says "I treated you like a son" and Marlo responds with "I wasn't made to play the son." Marlo always had his eye on the crown and all the compromise throughout the show was to gain in. He was ready to wear it for a long time. But he does represent a new school of thinking, the one steeped in chaos and destruction. His disregard for human life was that of a drug cartel boss. I will always say though, the putting of bodies in the vacants was genius.
4. Reginald "Bubbles" Cousins: The greatest redemption story outside of Cutty in the show is Bubbles for sure. Bubbles for most of the show is a clumsy, but sweet dope fiend who attempts sobriety many times but realizes he is who is in a place that largely accepts him. He experiences loss, embarrassment and despair and realizes his only way out is to finally give himself all he deserves. A life devoid of white powder. He finally by the end achieves it and it is one of the more satisfying parts of the series. He is likable and caring. He deserves it. Remember, "ain't no shame holding onto to grief, as long as you make room for other things"
3. Howard "Bunny" Colvin: Colvin was good police. In every sense of the phrase. He created an idea to open a sanctioned open air drug market. One with needle exchange, condom distribution, and even programs for some of the young kids involved. It was found out, and though did work was destroyed. He accepted that and was the only scapegoat and didn't take anyone with him, which was honorable. Instead of wallowing away in an early retirement, he still wanted to do good. The moonlighting security job didn't work. He begins to works with kids and in the end saves one and maybe others as well. He was a stern, terrific character who like many tried to make a difference but knew the war was lost. His morality was lost in a world full of corruption.
2. Slim Charles: He was the most loyal person in the show in my opinion and it was repaid to him. Slim was the Sopranos version of Silvio Dante, an old school get in line consigliere with a mix of enforcer and callous killer. He was also very real to me. He was cool as a cucumber and knew the game. He seemed to be to as gangster as gangster gets. He understood how the game worked and it was the reason he was able to preserve himself throughout. In the end, through being calculated and letting everyone either clean there act up, go to jail or die, he was on top. The thought was though like many before him his time would come and when Marlo had to retire, it did.
1. Dennis "Cutty" Wise: I know you're probably surprised right? How could he be number one? Cutty was the best redemption story in a show filled with very few redemption stories.. A cold criminal who did his time, dabbled in it again as he struggled with transition and gets out. He turns his back on the game. He takes bullets trying to rescue kids off the corner and early struggles with staying away from some of the mothers of the kids but eventually finds his flow and opens a boxing gym helping at risk youths. He is respected even after turning his back on what he knew. He gets out and creates a niche. Something most of the characters couldn't do. The game wasn't in him no more.