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Boys of Summer

Dukie: Remember that day one summer past...?
Mike: I don't.

A collection of adorable children from West Baltimore's projects and rowhouses, who the show uses to examine the school system and how it utterly fails in the struggle with "the corners" for the futures of Baltimore's children. Each child follows a different path, and each one ends up at a different conclusion - although, sadly, it is not always the ending they or the audience hope for.

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    Duquan "Dukie" Weems
There ain't no special "dead". Just "dead".
Played by: Jermaine Crawford

How do you get from here to the rest of the world?

Eighth-grade student. Living in dire poverty, he is bullied by everyone, including his friends Randy and Namond, and especially Namond's "friend" Kenard. The clothes he is given by the school get stolen and then sold by his parents to feed their drug addictions. He is the one who shows Randy and Michael the bodies in the vacants.

He comes to depend on his teacher, Mr. Pryzbylewski, who does his best to try to help Dukie through his troubles. Eventually he is compelled to graduate by the school bureaucracy even though he is not ready for and incapable of dealing with the abuse he will get at the high school level, so he drops out and starts dealing alongside Michael. When this falls through, he tries to find work, only to end up with a junkie scrap metal thief.

We last see him asking Pryzbylewski for money, and then shooting up in the final montage, with heavy implications that he's set down the road that Bubbles is escaping.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic (with Namond, Michael, and Randy).
  • History Repeats: A likable and intelligent guy victimized by others on the street who winds up a junkie and working by selling aluminum scraps? Sure does sound like Bubbles.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Dukie is quite intelligent and perceptive and could have done more with is life if he'd been born into a different walk of life.
  • The Pig Pen: Dirt-poor. Kindly reconstructed by Mr. Prez, who noticing how unkemptness and marginalization go together, takes measures to amend it.
  • A Pupil of Mine, Until He Turned to Evil: His relationship with Mr. Prez, his kind mentor, gets terminated when the teacher realizes all too well that Duquan has been deceiving and swindling him for money. A genuine tear jerker both in and out-universe.
  • Shrinking Violet: Quiet and shy as a result of being bullied and the subject of mockery from the other kids.
  • Tragic Dropout: Despite his circumstances he shows that he's quite intelligent and has at least the potential to be a talented student. However when faced with a new school he isn't emotionally ready for, a system that does little to help or support him, and the grim reality of Baltimore he decides to dropout.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Due to a hard life. While Namond, Randy and others come up with elaborate stories of how Chris Partlow is a voodoo master who bewitches people and controls them, Dukie knows the cold truth that Chris simply murders them and leaves their bodies in abandoned buildings.
  • With Friends Like These...: Namond, Randy to a lesser degree, and most of the other kids in the neighborhood spend a lot of time picking on Dukie. He's essentially their designated Butt-Monkey. About the only peer never seen picking on or teasing him is Michael.

    Randy Wagstaff
You promise?
Played by: Maestro Harrell

You gonna look out for me?

An eighth-grade student who is an earnest and mostly warmhearted entrepreneur being raised by a tough but fair foster mother. Friends with Namond, Michael, and Dukie. Because he always has his ear to ground about ways to make a buck, he hears about Marlo's fondness for pigeons and traps several so he can sell them to Marlo. The Stanfield gang later use him as a patsy to lure a disobedient dealer to his death. This, combined with the revelation by Dukie that the slain are sealed in abandoned rowhouses, eventually lead to him talking to the police.

Unfortunately when Herc is questioning a suspect he gives away that Randy is his source of information and the Stanfield gang spreads the word that Randy is a snitch, which causes him to be ostracized by his peers and makes him a target for retribution. Carver attempts to give him police protection, which isn't enough to stop his house from being firebombed, hospitalizing his foster mother for the foreseeable future. Carver fights to find him another foster parent, even offering to adopt him himself, but nothing can be done to keep him from a group home.

As we see in Season 5, the bullying and abuse break him until he is just another anger filled thug.
  • Break the Cutie: Nothing like a Trauma Conga Line and a beating from a gang of older boys at a group home to nip that pesky childhood innocence in the bud.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Randy turns into a thug after being failed by the Baltimore Police.
  • Demoted to Extra: He's a central character in season 4, but only makes a single appearance in season 5.
  • Disappeared Dad: Word of God states that Cheese is his father, yet they have no contact with each other.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric (with Namond, Michael, and Dukie).
  • High School Hustler: This is Randy's M.O. during the fourth season. He buys candy from stores outside the schools, then sells it inside at a markup because it can't be acquired during school hours. To facilitate his sales, he steals a mound of hallway passes so he can move freely about the school, has a collection of different school uniforms (his school color codes the students, with each year wearing a different color shirt) so he can go to the cafeteria any time and sell to any grade level, etc. With Prez' help, he even plans to start buying his candy at a discount online so he can buy cheaper and in bulk.
  • History Repeats: A kid who loses his mother figure early in life, whose talents go mostly overlooked and unappreciated, is repeatedly screwed over by the system, and winds up adopting a thug attitude. Sounds like Bodie, although we don't see if he ends up the same way.
  • Missing Mom: According to the show's website, Randy lost his real mother to the streets at a young age.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Goes from a clever and entrepreneurial youngster with a good heart to a jaded, angry thug who seems certain to get involved in the drug trade or other criminal activity.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: By the time we see him in season 5, he has lost all of the kindness and decency he had in the previous season.
  • Tragic Villain: Randy is the poster child for the inability of police to defend citizens, and how society's lack of care for its worst off members winds up creating criminals.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Starts off mild. Taken Up to Eleven in the Wham Episode as his house gets burned down, his foster mother gets badly injured, and eventually he is sent back to a group home where is mercilessly bullied and beaten until he becomes just as cruel and hardened as his tormentors.
  • Young Entrepreneur: Is the most enterprising and business-savvy of kids focused on in season 4, with dreams of opening up his own convenience store as adult.

    Namond Brice
"I love the first day, everybody all friendly and shit."
Played by: Julito McCullum

We do the same thing as y'all, 'cept when we do it, it's "oh my God these kids is animals!" Like it's the end of the world coming. Man that's bullshit, alright? That's like, what's it...hypocrit-hypocritical.

An eighth-grade student and the son of Wee Bey and De'londa Brice. Friends with Randy, Michael, and Dukie. The money given by the Barksdale Organization as a reward for Wee-Bey taking the fall means he is (relatively) well off... except that his mother spends it almost as quickly as it comes in, because she is sure that there will always be more money coming from the Barksdales. When the Barksdale organization disintegrates, however, Brianna cuts De'londa off and as a result De'londa promptly begins trying to push Namond into the game as a drug runner. When placed in Bunny Colvin's experimental classroom, he is one of the most disruptive students, but is soon recognized to be considerably smarter than he acts.

As De'londa increasingly pushes him into dealing despite the fact that he has no operation to protect him and is surrounded by vicious factions like the Stanfield gang, it becomes understood by all who know him that the game will take his life. Cutty, Carver and Colvin all begin to try to help him, culminating with Colvin going to Wee Bey to plead for another life for Namond. When Wee Bey hears how De'londa turned Namond out of their home, he agrees to allow Colvin to adopt Namond. After this, Namond abandons street life entirely and becomes an excellent student.
  • Demoted to Extra: Is a central character in season 4 but only appears briefly in one episode of season 5.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine (with Michael, Randy and Dukie)
  • Happily Adopted: From the end of season 4 onwards.
  • Heel–Face Turn: When we see him in season 5 Namond has turned his life around and become a good student, winning an urban debate championship.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Colvin notices an intellectual potential below his obnoxiousnesses and overcompensation.
    • That he manages to win a statewide debate championship as a high school freshman indicates he possesses a rather astounding intellect.
  • History Repeats: Namond takes elements from two figures. First, he comes from a family noted for their connection with the drug trade and it's assumed that he will take up that mantle as well despite having no heart for the game. Sounds like D'Angelo, but he gets a rare happy ending because Wee-Bey realizes the drug trade isn't right for him and allows Namond to be adopted by Colvin instead. On the other hand, he uses the exact same line as Clay Davis "I'll take any motherfucker's money if he's giving it away!" and shows an interest in politics and debate after being adopted by Colvin.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Nay can't live up to his father's rep.
    Dennis: He got the same blood but not the same heart.
  • Paper Tiger: Textbook example of a preteen who talks tough and gives off an over-confident vibe only to bitch out whenever push comes to shove and it's time to put his money where his mouth is.
  • The One Who Made It Out: The only kid from his group of friends who is able to escape the doomed background of a troubled childhood, a dysfunctional family -at best- and the notion that crime is the only way to earn a living. Sadly, it only happens thanks to a remarkable, extremely unusual or non-repeatable White Knight named Howard Colvin.
  • The Scrappy: In-Universe — He's kind of The Load to the remnants of the Barksdale organization; he's lazy and not a very good dealer, but Wee-Bey's influence is still strong enough that Bodie puts up with him and tries to take care of him nonetheless. Meanwhile his friends put up with him partly (if not entirely) because he seems well off in comparison.
  • Significant Haircut: He is enormously fond of his huge, frizzy ponytail, but is repeatedly encouraged to cut it because it will make him easily identifiable to the police. He tries to make himself do it but ultimately can't, choosing instead to restyle it into cornrows. After being adopted by Colvin, he returns to the frizzy ponytail style.

    Michael Lee
"Everything so serious now."
Played by: Tristan Wilds

Yo look, I'm not tryin' stand around and let some chump ass niggas think I'm shook, I ain't.

Another eighth-grade student. Friends with Dukie, Randy, and Namond. Deeply introverted, he lives with his junkie mother and little brother, who he has to take care of because his mother isn't up to the task. Shortly into season 4 his stepfather gets out of prison and moves back in, and it is strongly implied that his stepfather sexually abused Michael when he was younger.

Michael starts boxing in Cutty's gym where he shows promise, but he is uncomfortable being the target of Cutty's fatherly attentions. It's not long before he starts dealing and focuses less on boxing. Increasingly fearful that his stepfather will abuse his brother Bug the same way he did Michael, Michael contacts Chris Partlow and asks Partlow to kill the stepfather for him. Partlow agrees, on the condition that Michael begin working for the Stanfield gang. Michael agrees, and is taken under the wings of Chris and Snoop, who train him to be a soldier.

Michael works for Marlo as both muscle and the head of his own corner in large part so he can take care of his brother and Dukie. He soon finds himself feeling out of place, as he frequently questions the necessity of the many murders that Marlo orders and finds the street life undermining his attempts to look after Bug and Dukie. When Marlo is arrested Michael's frequent questioning of his boss places him under suspicion of having talked to the police, and Snoop is sent to assassinate him. He recognizes what's going on and kills her first. He is last seen on the run from Marlo's people, having been forced to split from Dukie and his brother permanently, and become a stick-up boy like Omar.
  • Badass Adorable: A middle school student who stares down Marlo Stanfield. Marlo is suitably impressed and starts looking to recruit Michael afterward.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Michael's a good and loyal friend who rarely starts trouble and is mostly The Quiet One, but he's vicious in a fist fight and becomes skilled with firearms after becoming part of the Stanfield gang.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He diligently takes care of his brother and protects him from his sexually abusive stepfather.
  • Combat Pragmatist
  • Dark and Troubled Past: He was molested by his step-father and grew up with an Addled Addict of a mother.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic (with Namond, Randy, and Dukie).
  • Hates Being Touched: A consequence of having been molested by his step-father. With the exception of a few people like his brother, just about any time that someone goes to touch Michael he jerks away from it or becomes visibly uncomfortable.
  • History Repeats: Becomes a stick up man like Omar. In fact, the last thing we see him do is shoot someone in the knee during a robbery, just like we saw Omar do during Omar's first robbery in Season 1.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: He distrusts Cutty because he finds him "too friendly", as a result of his backstory. Rather than go to a responsible adult with his problem, he falls in with Stanfield.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Michael showed early promise as a boxer.
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: After the Stanfield Organization turns on him, he sends his brother Bug off to their aunt along with all the money he has, (with the promise of more to come) so that Bug will be safe and away from the game.
  • Kick the Dog: Kenard may be a little shit, but seeing Michael pound on a kid half his size over and over again is still disturbing.
  • Nerves of Steel: Despite the many stressful situations he's put under he only shows fear once in the series, when Omar visits his corner for a friendly chat at gunpoint. (He is nervous that Omar will recognize him from being part of a Stanfield ambush and likely is also fearful about forced into close contact with a Gayngster due to his childhood molestation.) Still doesn't break, though.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: On Kenard, when Namond catches Kenard trying to steal Namond's drug package. Namond is so disturbed by the sight that he refuses to take the package from an unconscious Kenard afterward.
  • Pet the Dog: Diligently takes care of his little brother and Dukie, and he stands up for Randy when a couple of kids accuse Randy of being a snitch.
  • Promotion to Parent: Michael was essentially functioning as a parent to his younger brother when he first appeared on the show because his mother was consumed by her addiction. This goes up another couple of notches when he moves Bug out of his mother's house and they start living on their own in Season 5.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Most likely Journey to Anti-Villain, since Michael appears to be taking over Omar's role as a Karmic Thief, but he moves from a tough but good hearted schoolboy to a hardened thief with blood on his hands.
  • Rape as Backstory: Michael is implied to have been molested by his stepfather.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Much like Hates Being Touched, as a result of being sexually abused by his stepfather. As a result of the molestation and the whole thing being covered up by his mother, Michael has a difficult time handling or expressing affection for others, particularly other men. He eventually leaves Cutty's gym in part because Cutty's attempts to be kind and mentorly to him make Michael uncomfortable, and even with Bug and Dukie, Michael sometimes has a difficult time being truly openly or affectionate.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Stares down Marlo in one of his earliest scenes.
  • The Stoic: Michael tends to keep his feelings to himself and seldom show what he's thinking or feeling.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Started off as just another kid on the block. He toughens up with boxing and Marlo's tutelage so much he becomes the "new Omar".
  • Two First Names: "Lee" can also be used as a first name.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: Part of his training is facing off with experienced professional killers Chris and Snoop with paintball guns that look like real handguns. Despite his complete lack of experience at that point, he wins anyway.
  • Young Gun: His training session with Chris and Snoop shows that Michael has the ability to be quite a dangerous fighter, he just needs experience and to become hardened to it. By the end of the series, he's got both of those, and is on his way to acquiring a reputation reminiscent of Omar's.
  • Would Hurt a Child: 14-year old Michael is technically a child himself, but the fact that he would pound Kenard again and again is an example, due the latter's smaller size.

"Ain't no school can hold me if I wanna leave."
Played by: Thuliso Dingwall

It's my turn to be Omar!

Very young "friend" of Namond Brice. Torments Dukie every chance he gets. He joins the Stanfield Organization as a dealer in Season 5, and goes on to assassinate Omar Little. Last seen in the final montage of the series being arrested by the police, presumably for Omar's murder.

  • Boisterous Weakling: Talks a lot of shit and has a lot of attitude, but whenever the show sets him up for a fistfight, he either gets his ass kicked or needs someone else to step in for him, hell even Dukie managed to beat him. Of course, size and fist fighting ability don't matter if he has a gun in his hand...
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Rare genuinely evil variant.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Albeit unintentionally - the actor who plays Kenard, Thuliso Dingwall, first appears as one of the children re-enacting the shootout outside the Barksdale stash house in season 3.
  • Enfant Terrible: The youngest character of the cast to get noticeable attention in the story with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
  • Hate Sink: Never shows a single redeeming quality at any point.
  • History Repeats: He shows the text-book signs of being a sociopath and has dreams of becoming a great street legend. Sounds like Marlo Stanfield, who himself is a sociopath that had dreams of becoming a street legend and saw his chance to act on it after the Barksdale crew was brought down. Kenard saw his chance by killing Omar Little, knowing the Stanfield crew was looking for him. It's suggested Crutchfield arrests him for Omar's murder, but it's not known if he'll get charged as an adult and convicted. Given that he's very young, there's a chance he might just get sent to a behavior correctional center, which in a way is a Karma Houdini example, just like Marlo.
  • Jerkass: An irredeemable little shit who deserves every beating he takes.
  • Kids Are Cruel: His treatment of Dukie, not to mention a scene where he is dousing a cat with lighter fluid until Omar passing by distracts him and allows the cat to get away.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: He has an absolutely filthy mouth.
  • The Sociopath: Strongly hinted to be one.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Despite the large age difference, with Kenard's constant swearing, homophobic slurs and conflict with Omar it's not difficult to see the parallels between him and Omar's hated nemesis Bird...who himself seemed pretty determined to take down Omar.

Played by: Nathan Corbett

A sixth grade student who occasionally hangs out with the group of Namond, Michael, Randy and Dukie. He's both very talented at and obsessed with stealing cars, despite the fact that he doesn't try to make any profit off it and never seems to drive them far before crashing them. This has gotten him into some trouble, most notably when the corrupt Officer Walker broke several of his fingers after crashing into multiple cars during a joyride.



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