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Family Members of Police Officers
Kima's live-in lover at the start of the series, it's implied that the two have been happily together for some time. Their relationship is not without friction, however, as Cheryl frequently worries about the danger of Kima's job and tries to push Kima towards getting a law degree, or at least working a desk job in safety, especially after Kima is nearly killed during a bust. Between Kima's return to investigative duties, a growing distance between them when Cheryl pushes ahead with having a child despite Kima's obvious but unvoiced doubts about being a parent, and Kima's infidelity, the two break up.
- All Lesbians Want Kids: Played straight, unlike Kima.
- Armor-Piercing Response: When she and Kima finally fight over Kima's increased drinking, distance, and not acting like a parent to the baby, Kima says that she never voiced how much she truly objected to having the baby due to not wanting to disappoint Cheryl. Cheryl's response is devastating, and pretty much the signal that their relationship is over.Cheryl: [Looks at Kima, who's more than half drunk, angry, and confused] I don't think I could be more disappointed than I am now.
- Babies Make Everything Better: Averted, although it's largely Kima's fault as she went along with Cheryl's pregnancy plans despite not really wanting to be a parent without voicing that until after the kid was born.
- Demoted to Extra: She has a fair amount of prominence in season 1, but her role gets smaller and smaller as distance grows between her and Kima. She only appears in 2 episodes in season 3, and 1 each in seasons 4 and 5.
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Late in season 1 she and Kima are out with some friends, and Cheryl drinks everyone present (except for Kima, who opts out with the excuse that she has to work in the morning) into submission without putting much effort into it. She credits journalism school as the source of her alcohol tolerance.
- Intrepid Reporter: At one point Kima teases Cheryl about how she tries to act like this despite working backstage at a TV news channel.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: She's not exceptionally girly by any means, but in comparison to Kima she certainly is the girlier of the two. She's also the one who's interested in having a kid and appears to do most of the cooking and cleaning when she and Kima are together.
The wife of Cedric Daniels, she is an ambitious woman with a keen political eye. She spent years trying to support the career of Daniels and help guide him to the top of police hierarchy, but that fizzles out as Daniels increasingly comes to terms with the fact that he doesn't have the stomach for ladder climbing and political games and would rather dedicate himself to the job of what a policeman should be: a guardian of the city. As Cedric's ambition dies down so does their marriage, and Marla decides to live out her ambitions for herself by running in a city election when the two separate.
- Ambition Is Evil: Not necessarily evil per se, more amoral, but ambition is her defining trait and to satisfy it she recommends practical, if amoral choices. She also cites ambition as being the chief trait that first attracted her to Daniels, but his ambition has since given way to his conscience.
- Amicable Exes: With Cedric, after their separation. He's still willing to put his own private life on hold to support her political aspirations, and she's still willing to give him honest advice on difficult matters.
- Brutal Honesty: Surprisingly enough for someone as deeply into politics and ladder climbing, she seems to be a fan of this. At a debate with her opponent Eunetta Perkins it's Marla who flat out tells the voters what is true but they don't want to hear, despite the potential for losing votes, while Eunetta plays to the crowd and promises them anything. She also seems to approve of Colvin being honest in a town hall meeting rather than talking about matters in a politically smart and safe manner.
- Dead Sparks: Her relationship with Cedric has become this by the start of the show, and it doesn't take too much for them to drift apart for good. She does actually suggest giving their relationship another try at one point, but he gently says it's just not going to work.
- Honest Advisor: Played rather cynically, as her honest advice is tailored to the dirty and corrupt world of Baltimore politics, and thus often consists of advising people to make compromises with their integrity or do what they have to to get ahead.
- Iron Lady
- Social Climber
- Vicariously Ambitious: At first she seems dedicated to helping Cedric advance himself, and only looks to do the work of social climbing for herself when he announces he has come to care more about good casework than trying to become top dog in a horrifically dysfunctional and broken police department.
A real estate agent and the ex-wife of Jimmy McNulty. They met in college, and her becoming pregnant was what prompted Jimmy to drop out of college and join the BPD. They separated before the start of the show, and season 1 finds them in the midst of a sometimes bitter divorce and child custody battle. This becomes less bitter over time, and as Jimmy gradually realizes that his efforts aren't going to result in them getting back together. In later seasons, she and Jimmy even become somewhat friendly again.
- Amicable Exes: Very much averted in the first season, but in late seasons the interactions between Jimmy and Elena become much less charged and more affable. When she encounters him when he's gotten himself together with Beadie and has his drinking and other bad habits under control, you can see a look in Elena's eyes that seems to all but say "Now that's the man I first fell in love with."
- Armor-Piercing Question: Her line to Jimmy about how she's ever supposed to trust him, as seen in her quote above. It finally destroys Jimmy's stubborn hope of them getting back together, and helps instigate one of Jimmy's most impressive and self-destructive drinking binges. (The one where he crashes his car twice in the same place.)
- Demoted to Extra: Much like Cheryl, starting in season 3 her screentime goes way downhill, resulting in her being in only 1 or 2 episodes per season.
- Good Parents: She's much better at being a parent than Jimmy is and much more considerate of the boys.
- Sex with the Ex: Does this once with Jimmy, but because she feels she cannot trust him and his vices are always about to get the better of him, she decides not to go any further towards a reunion.
- Women Are Wiser: Not that it's hard to be wiser than Jimmy...
A stripper working at Orlando's, the "gentleman's club" that operates as a front for the Barksdales. She's more or less completely uninvolved in The Game, and only works at the bar, spending time with the men who sit there drinking... as long as they keep buying drinks and tipping, that is. She begins a relationship with D'Angelo and even moves in with him, but is infuriated when Kima and Lester reveal that a group of the Barksdale lieutenants let a friend and co-worker of hers die unattended of an overdose at a party they had, and promptly moves back out and helps the MCU get some badly needed info to help put Avon away. During the investigation she grows close to Lester and remains in a relationship with him throughout the rest of the series.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Shardene poses one to Dee after finding out her friend was found in a dumpster."Do I look like trash to you? Do I look like the kind of girl you wrap in a carpet and throw in the trash?"
- Birds of a Feather: This is part of what first draws her toward D'Angelo, both of them are more empathetic and sensitive souls than the people they work with and find themselves surrounded by, and both of them long to escape the world they live in. A similar sort of kindness and bonding over Lester's dolls and dollhouse furniture is the first sign that relationship will bud between those two.
- Demoted to Extra: Appears again all of twice after the end of the first season, once in the second season and then not again until almost the very end of the very last episode.
- The Glasses Gotta Go: Is nearsighted and wears huge granny glasses, likely received for free or nearly so from some charity. She gets a "corrected vision" (either surgery or contact lenses) courtesy of the BPD.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Well, she's not exactly a hooker, but the trope is close enough in spirit.
- Innocent Bystander: Despite working mere feet away from the heart and command center of Baltimore's most powerful and deadly drug empire, she's completely uninvolved in the game and while she realizes that the true owners of Orlando's aren't exactly legit, she didn't know just how deep into the Game they were.
- MayDecember Romance: Lester is at least old enough to be her father, but the two forge a long lasting and successful relationship together.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The fates of Avon, Stringer, and everyone within the Barksdale empire might have been very different if Wee-bey, Stinkum, and the others had just treated a stripper with a little more respect and tried to help her when she started having an OD...
- Neutral No Longer: Goes from being a bystander unaffiliated with either criminals or the cops, (aside from a relationship with D'Angelo where they both discuss leaving their current lives behind them) to being willing to risk her life to help the cops get information on the Barksdale empire in the wake of her friend's death.
- Nice Girl: Discussed in universe, as Kima and Lester say that there's something about her, some quality that shows up in her picture that makes them think she'll be the best person from Orlando's to talk to.
- Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: Says something like this when Kima and Lester ask her to come with them. This is a sign of her innocence and relative naivety, as pretty much everyone else knows better than to deal with the police without a lawyer present.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man:
- The reason why she liked D'Angelo was because he was as empathetic and sensitive as she is.
- Sardene gets together with Lester because of his kind nature.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Not only does she play a key role in the first season investigation, but because of her help the group is able to put away Avon but not Stringer, leading to the gulf that grows between those two, planting the seeds that eventually leads to their final falling out, the death of Stringer and the final collapse of the Barksdale empire. Damn.
The two young sons of Jimmy and Elena.
- Morality Pets: For Jimmy, not that he does everything he can or should to take good care of them.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted. It's a bit shocking when, after not having seen them for quite awhile, they appear in later seasons and the little boys we knew are gone and they're now in their early teens.
- Sibling Rivalry: There's a mild and realistic older brother tends to lord over the younger brother vibe between them.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Not as bad as many cases of this, but two little kids who apparently often employ police procedures to tail a target and find out information about them will give a normal person pause. Bunk does a downplayed What the Hell, Hero? when he finds out about Jimmy using them to spy on Stringer, but Jimmy is oblivious as he so often is.
A special agent with the FBI, he's an old friend and major ally of Jimmy McNulty. In the first season he inspires McNulty to use modern electronic surveillance against the Barksdale organization by showing live surveillance during the bust of a drug production ring. He tells Jimmy it would be the last major bureau drug investigation in Baltimore because they are shifting resources to counter-terrorism.
- Butt-Monkey: His lack of familiarity about how two cars should be placed during an unofficial meeting in the middle of nowhere - with adjacent driver's windows - is turned into a Running Gag at his expense by Jimmy and Lester, who joins in the joke eventually.
- Cowboy Cop: His extracurricular, personal assistance is not sanctioned or known by the bosses most of the time. In season 3, he expedites a wiretap by registering Stringer Bell as a homeland security threat named "Ahmed". He fears that he will end in "fucking Montana" if he's ever found out.
- FBI Agent: FBI agent working from the Baltimore field office.
- Friend on the Force: Jimmy usually goes to him for assistance because the overwhelming resources and prowess of the Bureau make him a real law enforcer working for a real agency, unlike the guys from the Baltimore Police Department.
- Knight In Sour Armor: He's not very happy with the The War on Terror monopolizing the resources of the FBI and is bitter about it. Still finds the time and need to help McNulty with the so called war on drugs.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Regularly goes out of his way to help the struggling BPD. He even apologizes to Daniels as he reveals that a greater success in the Sobotka case was prevented by a mole inside the FBI, and later makes up for it.
A hitman from New York hired by Avon Barksdale in season 2 to intimidate rival dealers working for Proposition Joe into leaving Barksdale turf, due to Avon not knowing that Stringer has secretly cut a deal with Prop Joe that makes the two organizations unlikely allies. After he is all too successful at driving off Prop Joe's dealers and puts the alliance and emerging Co-op in trouble, Stringer Bell sets him up by telling Omar that it was Brother Mouzone who tortured Brandon and where to find him. Omar seriously wounds Brother, but as the two men talk Omar realizes Stringer lied to him and gets medical attention for the wounded Mouzone.
- Affably Evil: Very much, saying "Good day to you sir" after kicking "Mister" Cheese's ass is a must.
- Badass Bookworm:Puddin: All damn day, he just sit there, reading. And damned if those East Side bitches don't stay away.
Bodie: That's real muscle, right there.
Puddin: True that.
- Badass in a Nice Suit
- Big Applesauce: New York City is his home turf, but he comes down to Baltimore as a hired gun.
- Cultured Warrior: When he's not working as a ruthless killer-for-hire, he's reading intellectual magazines like The Nation and Harper's.
- Dissonant Serenity: The guy is always speaking and behaving in a perfectly calm and methodical manner, even as he threatens people or lies seriously wounded after Omar has shot him.
- The Dreaded: To anyone who does their research like Prop Joe. To the extent that Joe not only refuses to let his nephew try and take revenge for Brother shooting him (knowing that whoever he sends won't be coming back) but also refuses to set a bounty on his head for fear of Brother hearing about it and hunting Joe down.
- Enemy Mine: He eventually teams up with Omar to kill Stringer Bell. The two are opposites in many ways, and make it clear that they don't exactly like each other, but they do understand each other and dealing with Stringer comes first for them.
- Establishing Character Moment: His first scene as enforcer; he politely debriefs Mister Cheese, emphatically asks him to move his ass where it belongs, calmly gives him a bullet for his troubles, says goodbye and then continues about his reading business.
- Face Death with Dignity: Even though he survives the confrontation with Omar, his behavior still says it all. Lying seriously wounded with Omar looming over him, preparing to finish him off, Mouzone just calmly tells him that he has made his peace with God and really doesn't mind dying.
- Foil: Lamar, his Dumb Muscle and affably patronized sidekick.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: His glasses really brings out his ice-cold glaze.
- Holy Hitman: Implied to be a member of the Nation of Islam, but the stance on drugs of this collective casts some doubts about his official membership.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Stringer Bell tries to set this up between him and Omar, hoping to at least get rid of one them in the attempt. It backfires spectacularly when both of them realize that they were set up by Stringer, and they instead decide to team up and kill him.
- Malcolm Xerox: To the point that Cheese initially thinks he's a recruiter from the Nation of Islam until he gets a very rude surprise in the form of a bullet to the shoulder.
- Meaningful Name: His name is fairly clearly a variation on the Arabic mawzūn, meaning "balanced; judicious; careful." The man is nothing if not these things. He also shares his surname with a real life Baltimore hitman mentioned in David Simon's early book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. The real Mouzone, however, was eventually imprisoned.
- Professional KillerProp Joe: You think I'm gonna send any of my people up against Brother?! Shit, that nigga got more bodies on him than a Chinese cemetery.
- Put on a Bus: Twice, first after being shot by Omar and then he finally disappears after helping Omar murder Stringer and is never seen again; presumably he returns to New York.
- Shrouded in Myth: Has a reputation that makes even drug kingpins fearful of crossing him. When Cheese demands they try to kill him, Prop Joe launches into a tale of a whole group of hardened heavy hitters that failed to kill him.
- Also, he may or may not be the the man who killed The Notorious B.I.G. (his strange manner of dress is apparently based on eyewitness accounts of Biggie's shooter).
- Sophisticated as Hell: He always speaks in a very formal and polite manner. He has no problems with being crude if the situation calls for it though:Mouzone: Am I correct in assuming that you are not employed by Mr. Barksdale?
Cheese: Hell, yeah!
Mouzone: Because, if that is the case, then I have to insist that you leave.
Cheese: This nigger serious?
Mouzone: Let me be emphatic: You need to take your black ass across Charles Street where it belongs.
- Wicked Cultured: He prefers intellectual reading material and is never seen without a suit and tie.
Introduced during his last days in prison, Cutty was a notorious soldier and enforcer in the drug game who served 14 years for murder. Although he is reluctant to get involved with The Game again, Avon attempts to recruit him before he leaves jail, and when he has difficulty adjusting to life outside prison he agrees to soldier for the Barksdale organization. However he soon finds that he doesn't have the killer instinct and urge needed in him any more, and leaves.
- Badass Decay: Discussed in-universe after quitting the game.Slim: B, he was a man in his time, you know?
Avon: He a man today, he a man.
- Boxing Battler: Although it's downplayed, he has a few scenes where he shows how much damage a guy with his size and physique could do in a fist fight once it's combined with his in-depth boxing knowledge.
- Chick Magnet: Many of the women can't get over how handsome he is.
- Demoted to Extra: He's a fairly major character in the third and fourth seasons but his role in the final season is reduced to one short scene in which he gives Dukie some advice.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Manages to navigate through a minefield of temptations and situations that would land him back in jail (or worse) to run a successful boxing academy.
- Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age: He learns Revolvers Are Just Better no longer applies; now sheer firepower is more important than a reliable weapon.
- Foil: Dennis' story paralleled that of String. String got conned by politicians and contractors. Dennis was helped by legitimate and good people.
- Handsome Lech: For a while. Eventually he grows into more of a Chivalrous Pervert because his dalliances (usually with their single mothers) are hurting his reputation with the boys he teaches; after being called out on it by Michael, he soon settles down with a real girlfriend.
- HeelFace Turn: "The game ain't in me no more".
- Mentor: He becomes a boxing coach once he detaches himself from the game.
- Mistaken for Pedophile: Specifically by Michael. "He just too friendly, you know? That shit creep me out, man, like he some type of faggot or something." This has more to do with Michael than with Cutty. It's very strongly implied that Michael was molested by his stepfather, and since Cutty serves as a father figure to him, Michael doesn't know how to respond to Cutty's kindness.
- Parental Substitute: Acts as a father figure to the boys who come to his boxing gym.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Objects to Sapper and Gerard beating a guy to death... because then he won't be able to pay them the money he owes. This also becomes one of the many reasons he doesn't fit in with the drug game anymore: before he went to jail the whole thing ran on pragmatic villainy, now everyone is just out to screw each other over without a thought for the long term.
- Reformed, but Rejected: Subverted. Initially it looks like his efforts to go straight will be thwarted by bureaucracy and lack of means, but with the aid of the Deacon and Avon he manages to start up a successful boxing gym.
- Retired Badass: Dennis stared down a known drug dealer.
- That Man Is Dead: After going straight, he preferred being called Dennis instead if Cutty.
- Would Hit a Girl: If that's the only way to get her to talk about her dealer boyfriend who's stealing money from the Barksdales.
- You Can't Go Home Again: A large part of his story arc after being released from prison is about this. He's ambivalent about going back into the Game, but can't find much outside of it. His old friends and girlfriend have all moved on, are dead, or destroyed their lives. When he goes back to the Game, he finds he doesn't fit in there, as there's no longer even a semblance of good faith in transactions, and the ranks are staffed either with guys like Bodie (who Cutty can literally remember in diapers) or incompetents. Even when he decides to leave the Game for good, his old girlfriend makes it clear that while she wishes him the best, she's not interested in him anymore. He literally has to start a new life from square one.
Cutty's girlfriend before he was sentenced to prison. Having managed to escape the life of the streets for a teaching position, she's disinterested in reviving the relationship, but helps him move forward with his life. As the head teacher for eight graders at Edward Tilghman Middle School, she easily grabs the respect and fear of the students. She's a valuable mentor to an overwhelmed Pryzblewski as he tries to gain his bearings as a teacher.
- Amicable Exes: Initially one-sided, but when Cutty runs into again at Tilghman he's much happier about how they split ways.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Much more supportive of Colvin's experiment than Donnelly and she comes in handy when Prez is in over his head.
- Stern Teacher: Students behave quick when she enters a room.
A well connected West Side church figure involved in many community projects. He plays a role in helping various figures over the course of seasons 3 and 4, including helping Dennis "Cutty" Wise get his boxing gym up and running, helping Colvin to first improve the atrocious state of Hamsterdam and later to be able to do the study of inner city school kids that Colvin takes part in during season 4.
- The Conscience: Gives Colvin a What the Hell, Hero? because Hamsterdam has been conceived as a wild zone that needs some regulation, safety messures and social assistance.
- Cool Old Guy: The Deacon is an elder gentleman both looked up to and sought out for counsel by senior police officers, respected politicians, and feared ex-gangsters alike. And more often than not, they take his advice.
- Meta Casting: Melvin Williams, a former gangster arrested by Ed Burns, is one of the inspirations of Avon Barksdale.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: A pillar of the community.
Doctor and professor of sociology at the University of Maryland with a special interest in repeat violent offenders. After receiving a grant from the university for a pilot study aimed at reducing this behavior, he plans to target 18-21 year olds and enlists Howard Colvin as an assistant. The former cop convinces him that they should focus on younger teenagers.
- Admiring the Abomination: Shows traces of fascination towards sociopathic specimens.
- Bookworm: An academic who is out of touch with the street reality. Colvin needs to give him a reality check by showing that 18+ year old boys are literally too feral for the study.
- Hot-Blooded: Downplayed, but when others challenge him about things like the purpose of his study, the methods it uses, etc., Parenti's first instinct seems to be to angrily retort and get in their face instead of using tact and diplomacy. On a few occasions this means that he becomes a detriment to his own cause.
- Naïve Newcomer: He is extremely naive about the truths of street life, and doesn't anticipate how much it hardens people and how young. He's very much a well meaning but completely out of touch academic.
- The Professor: Doctor and professor of sociology at the University of Maryland.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Colvin needs translation from the Deacon after hearing things such as:We're looking for a specific target group to inoculate, epidemiologically speaking [...] A liaison operating in the, urban environment.
The Assistant Principal of Edward J. Tilghman Middle School, Donnelly's job is to keep the chaos of the school to a minimum and protect Principal Withers while he focuses on dealing with the school board and parents.
- Apathetic Teacher: More world-weary than uncaring, but she's got traces of it.
- Cutting Corners: Frequently, to save the budget. Without a truant officer in a decade, she keeps custodian positions open so they can round up absentee students.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Like many other Number Twos on the show, she handles far more of the details and day to day operations, putting her more in touch with what is going on than the nominal head of the organization.
- Hyper-Awareness: Teacher version. Despite being the Assistant Principal in a school that serves hundreds, if not thousands of kids, she nonetheless seems to know the vast majority by name and appearance, knows details about them all, and is wise to all their tricks, hustles, and games.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: She plays the numbers game well to keep the school's funding. Prez is discouraged from deviating from the core curriculum and Cutty is told he's only supposed to grab certain kids once a month rather than go through the effort of bringing them to school every day.
- The Stoic: Barely raises an eyebrow when a student gets slashed in the face...
- Not So Stoic: But even she's alarmed when Randy tells her about Lex's murder.
- Dies Wide Open
- Disproportionate Retribution: Killed him for stealing. Usually they'd just kick his ass.
- Establishing Series Moment: His death sets up the dynamic of The Wire's universe as an examination of "the dark corner of the American experiment".
- The Evils of Free Will: Despite him being a thief, people still let him play dice with them because America is a free country.
- Plot-Triggering Death: Subverted. The series start with McNulty inquiring about his death. In most shows, this would be the setup of the Mystery of the Week (or season), but in The Wire it serves instead as the Establishing Series Moment.
- Posthumous Character: The first dead person on the series.
- Evil Is Petty: While he may not actually be evil, he certainly is petty, as he's willing to spite Carcetti and everyone in Baltimore just to score political points and stay in office.
- The Ghost: Never seen.
- No Name Given: He's just the Governor.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Snubs his meetings wth Carcetti to get a rise out of him.
- The Rival: Knows Carcetti is gunning for his job. Eventually he loses.
- Smug Snake: Does whatever he can to humiliate Carcetti.