Top 10 ‘The Wire’ Characters (Spoilers!)

April 4th, 2012
by Gabe

Since I just finished watching it, I would like to make my top 10 list of my favorite characters in the Wire. So, without further ado, here they are.

10. Scott Templeton

Not that he’s a good person (he’s actually the complete opposite), he’s just a really interesting character. He first comes off as an ambitious reporter who, in order to get attention, makes up stories. But, he does this so much, it becomes a compulsive thing and by the end, he comes as mentally ill. That’s why I love his development. Not much to say, only more of a psychological character than other ones. So, yeah. Moving on.

9. Howard “Bunny” Colvin

In my opinion, there are only 3 characters in season 3 that fully develop. Carver, Cutty, and Bunny. Out of all of them, Bunny’s my favorite. He starts out a really tough cop. While he’s incredibly interesting here, this is his least interesting stage. Then, for the briefest time (like 2 episodes), he works at a casino. But, his hard cop antics cause him to get fired, again. Then, he starts working with delinquent kids at a urban school. This is where he learns to be mild mannered and shy, which is a contrast to him beating the crap out of a casino customer a couple of episodes earlier. Then, even MORE happens! He adopts Namond, after he runs away from home because of his abusive mother. He turns Namond into a highly educated student, in contrast to his delinquent behavior at the school. Those are more than enough reasons to include him on the list. Nuff said.

8. Kima Greggs 

 This counts for mostly seasons 1, 2, and 5. Kima is one of those characters that doesn’t change that much, she’s just a fun character. The best part about her is she isn’t a damsel in distress type. She’s tough and aggressive. Also she’s lesbian, which adds a really interesting and awkward twist. Anyway, not much to say, only she’s the Dirty Harry of women.

7. Bubbles

Bubbles is one twisty character. In season 1, he’s the comic relief character. You think he’s gonna die right off the bat. But, in seasons 2 and 3, he becomes the addict with a friend/apprentice and a shopping cart full of worthless sh*t. While this is the Bubbles we know and love, his persona in these two seasons seems unnecessary and forced. But, when Johnny weeks (his buddy) dies, he has new beginnings with a kid named Sherrod in Season 4. This is where things get interesting. Bubbles wants Sherrod to learn more and become more mature, but fails when Sherrod skips school and dives deeper into drugs. At the same time, Bubbles is getting his ass kicked by a “customer.” So, he gets a poisonous drug ready. But, Sherrod takes it and dies.

In Season 5, Bubbles has been clean for more than a year, but still has a bad reputation as being a junkie. Plus, he still feels guilt for being responsible for Sherrod’s death. This, in my opinion, is my favorite personality of Bubbles. He’s a very interesting character here. And at the end, he finally gets excepted into society, when he gets to eat dinner with his sister. It’s a touching story arch. While the Season 2/3 Bubbles can be annoying, it’s needed for Seasons 4 and 5. So, Bubbles is a great character. Nuff said.

6. William “Bunk” Moreland

He’s on the list. You happy now, bitch? Bunk is a funny character for the first 4 seasons. But, in season 5, when McNulty makes up the serial killer, Bunk becomes the straight man and honest cop because he believes in truth and justice. While my favorite Bunk is the season 1 Bunk, Bunk in season 5 proves he’s more than comic relief. He’s a good and honest cop. It just proves at least one thing, David Simon = Best TV writer ever!!!

5. Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski

Prez in season 1 is the weirdest character on the show. But that’s not the end of it. He’s also selfish, brutish, sick, and even a little racist! But, in season 2, he becomes a very likeable character. He’s assigned to the Frank Sobotka case and is essentially a rookie on the team. But the moment when I think everybody earned respect for him was when he punched Valchek in the face. That made me think he was awesome! Then he had some hard times (he accidentally killed a cop, got arrested). But, when he became a teacher he earned back the respect. He’s definitely an up-down character. But, that’s why he’s great. He’s realistic. Add a great actor to play him (Jim True Frost) and you have an awesome character.

4. Jimmy McNulty

You know I had to include the main character on the list. McNulty is the best in Season 2. He has the most boring job in the world. But, knowing McNulty, he has to wander in the major crimes unit. And he becomes a major detective on the case. Classic McNulty. He also becomes the most interesting character in season 5, but also the biggest douchebag. But he’s a badass. It’s a shame he wasn’t in season 4. Well, anyway, McNulty is one of the greatest protagonists in the history of not only cinema, but in writing in general. That’s how awesome he is.

3. Lester Freamon

Lester is the wise man of the series. He’s a veteran and he always has the best quotes of the series. One of my favorites is, “All the pieces matter.” That’s a great quote. But, Freamon is also very enthusiastic about police work, which leads to his flaws. He decides to work on the fake serial killer with McNulty, which turns out to lead to nothing. But, Lester did it simply for the fun. I think his best moment is when he sets up the Frank Sobotka case in season 2. He’s great at making those tack boards. Anyway, a great wise man who has many flaws.  A great character in the least. That’s Lester!

2. Russell “Stringer” Bell

Stringer Bell is a great character. He’s a cold-blooded gangster, but he thinks like a businessman. He kills people, but he has manners. Plus, without him, the Barksdale organization would collapse. That actually happened when Stringer died at the end of season 3.  There are a lot of great Stringer moments, but one I can’t forget is the first time you see him in the courtroom in the pilot episode. He sees McNulty and draws a black Superman flipping McNulty off saying, “F*ck You, Detective!” That has to be, hands down, Stringer’s best moment. Stringer is the one cold-blooded bastard we all know and love.

1. Omar Little

You had to see this coming! He’s EVERYBODY’s favorite! And there’s a reason for that. Omar robs drug dealers and kills people left and right, but he only does this to people in “The Game.” So, you don’t feel bad for liking him. I also think he has the best death scene. Instead of a cop or criminal killing him on the run, he gets shot in a grocery store by a 10 year old kid! But, that’s the point of the Wire. It proves that our perception of tough is stupid because the most badass character on the show is killed by a kid. Also, Omar has the best quote. He’s testifying against the Barksdale organization. He’s asked his occupation. He casually replies, “I rip and run.” BADASS!!!!! Omar is a great character and should be respected. If you don’t respect him, you know what happens. Two words, OMAR COMIN!!!!


Posted in Posts | Comments (1)

  • Cassie says:

    Great post, Gabriel! I think this was a really awesome analysis of the characters and their roles in the story. I think The Wire is the greatest television series ever written. The brilliance is in the empathy. We understand the motivations and care about all of the characters, even when they are doing terrible things. David Simon tackles big problems, like corruption, by honing in on these characters and their worlds. For this reason, I find it hard to rank my favorite characters – because I like all of them so much – but I definitely agree that Omar is my absolute favorite. Great post, Gabriel! Thanks for writing it!

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