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Where Are the Characters From ‘The Wire’ Now?

We’re checking back in with Jimmy McNulty and Wee-Bey and the Sobotkas

(HBO/Ringer illustration)
(HBO/Ringer illustration)

For nearly six years, an HBO documentary film crew followed residents of Baltimore around, filming their lives and their interactions. During that time, viewers were introduced to many figures in what some called a Dickensian portrait of the city, some of whom were mostly good, others of whom were mostly bad, and none of whom were ever totally one or the other.

There were drug dealers, drug users, police officers, detectives, dock workers, political figures, newspaper employees, more and more and more, each one hoping to advance in life by helping or hurting others (or some combination of the two). It was a totally engrossing, devastatingly beautiful series. Since filming ended some nine years ago, though, little to no information about the people filmed has emerged. For example, last we saw, brilliant police detective Jimmy McNulty had been shamed and fired from his job. What’s happened to him since then? Or what about Marlo Stanfield, the drug kingpin who managed to evade arrest? The moral and unsinkable Kima Greggs? The on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again addict Reginald “Bubbles” Cousins? Namond Brice? Brianna Barksdale? Avon Barksdale?

This is Where Are They Now?: The Wire.

(HBO)
(HBO)

Where’s:

  • Avon Barksdale: Still in prison, serving out the remaining time on his 2004 conviction. He lives a comfortable life (as comfortable as it can be in prison, anyway).
  • Roland “Wee-Bey” Brice: Still in prison.
  • Chris Partlow: Still in prison. A surprising turn, though: Despite having been rivals in the free world, Partlow teamed up with Wee-Bey and Avon in prison. They are a powerful force. Also: He still likes Young Leek.
  • Ziggy Sobotka: Still in prison.

Where’s:

  • Felicia “Snoop” Pearson: Still deceased.
  • Omar Little: Still deceased.
  • Russell “Stringer” Bell: Still deceased.
  • Proposition Joe: Still deceased.
  • Wallace: Still deceased.
  • Preston “Bodie” Broadus: Still deceased.
  • Frank Sobotka: Still deceased.
  • D’Angelo Barksdale: Still deceased.
  • Cheese Wagstaff: Still deceased.
  • Butchie: Still deceased.
(HBO)
(HBO)

Where’s:

  • Spiros “Vondas” Vondopoulos and The Greek: They’re both still supplying Baltimore with drugs, only The Greek passed away three years ago. Vondas is now both Vondas and also The Greek.
  • Donut: Currently serving three to five years for stealing cars. He’ll be eligible for parole in 2019.
  • Slim Charles: He’s still fighting on that lie.
  • Howard “Bunny” Colvin and Namond Brice: Bunny helped raise Namond up and through college, where Namond graduated with honors. Namond visits his father, Wee-Bey, in prison periodically, though the visits have grown less and less frequent. “That was a lifetime ago,” says Namond of his days in West Baltimore. “Doesn’t even feel like me anymore when I talk about it.” Namond hopes to pursue a career in politics. Bunny hopes that he doesn’t, but also that he does.
  • Kima Greggs: Kima still works in the homicide division of the Baltimore Police Department. She remains natural police.
  • William “Bunk” Moreland: Bunk partnered up with Kima after Jimmy’s dismissal. They’re still together today. They make for a brilliant partnership; they’re both soft-eyed savants. Bunk occasionally tries to get Kima to do the good cop/bad cop routine him and McNulty would do at bars. Kima does not play along. (Unless she does.)
  • Jay Landsman: The former sergeant retired from the force in 2015. Shortly thereafter, he began writing a series of novels, the second of which, McCulloh Homes, a novel about a group of young teens who get caught up in the drug game based on the things he observed while serving in the BPD, was optioned to be turned into a TV series.
  • Clay Davis: In 2009, a year removed from nearly being prosecuted on assorted violations of campaign finance and corruption laws, Davis sat down for lunch with retired police commissioner Ervin Burrell and former Baltimore mayor Clarence Royce to discuss what opportunities the coming years might have for the group. Clarence told Clay that Clay was finished, that nobody was ever going to want to work with him again. Clay responded with, “Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii …” They are still sitting in that diner today. Clay is still stretching that word out.
  • Clarence Royce and Ervin Burrell: See above.
  • Nerese Campbell: She is in her third term as mayor of Baltimore.
(HBO)
(HBO)

Where’s:

  • Duquan Weems: He never stood a chance. He’s still alive, mind you, but only in the most literal sense. The corners took all the best parts of him.
  • Michael Lee: Michael was smart. Michael was clever. Michael was strong. Michael was handsome. Michael was thoughtful. Michael was fearless. And Michael was talented. He was also doomed. The cyclical nature of inner-city life was just too powerful a force, shoving him into the role of the neighborhood’s new Omar, famed stick-up man of drug dealers. He has not seen Bug, his younger brother, since he dropped him off at his aunt’s house all those years ago. He sends them money every month, though.
  • Dennis “Cutty” Wise: Cutty ran his boxing gym for four years. In 2012, he opened a second gym (this one on the East Side). “It feels good,” he says, when asked about what it’s like to watch the children from the neighborhood train at his gym. Neighborhood mothers are still giving him too much food.
  • Marlo Stanfield: He wasn’t able to move legit, but that makes sense because he wasn’t built to move legit. After dodging the charges drummed up via the Baltimore Police Department’s illegal wiretap, Marlo returned to the streets, consolidating power after winning a war for the controlling stake of East Baltimore, a vacancy left open by Prop Joe’s death. He’s more powerful today than he was nine years ago. The king has stayed the king, as it were.
  • Reginald “Bubbles” Cousins: HE STAYED CLEAN.
  • Tommy Carcetti and William Rawls: Carcetti served two full terms as governor of Maryland. During that time, Rawls served as the superintendent of the Maryland State Police. Following a super-scandal that involved him trying to convince a police officer to manufacture a string of serial-killer killings so he could use it as political capital, Carcetti was ousted from politics. (Rawls was fired, too.) They’re both rich, white men, though, so they both landed fine, though Carcetti was decimated in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.
(HBO)
(HBO)

Where’s:

  • Beadie Russell: She tried to make a go of it with boyfriend Jimmy McNulty, but their relationship turned toxic soon after filming for the documentary ended. She ended up moving out of Baltimore altogether, opting to leave behind not only her job and her ex-boyfriend, but also her children. Hoping to start anew, she legally changed her name and took a human resources job with a midlevel paper company in Pennsylvania. She now lives in Colorado with her husband and children.
  • Malik “Poot” Carr: Poot is actually still the manager of that shoe store he was working at in 2008. “They don’t really call me Poot anymore,” he says with a laugh.
  • Jimmy McNulty: Following his dismissal from the Baltimore Police Department shortly after the documentary ended, McNulty struggled to find work, and thus: struggled to find peace. He bounced from job to job to job, including a short stint at Edward J. Tilghman Middle School where he worked as a teacher’s assistant to former BPD coworker Roland Pryzbylewski. “It was awful,” says Pryzbylewski. “Jimmy was in a really bad place. The thing of it is, had he not been drinking so much, I think he would’ve excelled here. That’s just the way it was with him, though. All the talent in the world. All the anger, too.” McNulty is currently wanted for questioning in a new string of homeless murders.
  • Lester Freamon: Unlike McNulty, Lester settled into his forced retirement fairly easily. “I tried to tell McNulty early on that the job wouldn’t save him. Jimmy was smart, but that was one lesson he never learned.”
  • Roland Pryzbylewski: He’s still working as a middle school math teacher. After a shaky first year and a slightly better second year, he blossomed into a fine teacher. “It’s funny,” he says, “all of the things that made me a bad cop made me a good teacher.”
  • Randy Wagstaff: Randy never recovered from the trauma of being moved from his foster into a group home. He spent the subsequent years in and out of juvenile detention, all the way up until he was convicted of armed robbery at 17 and charged as an adult. He’s scheduled to be released from prison in 2023.
(HBO)
(HBO)

Where’s:

  • Rhonda Pearlman and Cedric Daniels: Rhonda is still a judge and Cedric is still a defense lawyer. They live together in Downtown Baltimore. They have been married for three years.
  • Leander Sydnor: After following so many of these people for so long, it became clear that many of filled spots in the community that others were vacating: Michael became the new Omar after Omar was murdered, Duquan the new Bubbles after Bubbles got clean, Marlo the new Avon after Avon was sent away, and so on and so on. Leander, in what may be a surprise to many, ended up becoming the new Lester Freamon. “It was that conversation we had that one day about paperwork,” says Sydnor. “I never forgot that.”
  • Nick Sobotka: [Unable to locate]
  • Brother Mouzone: [Unable to locate]
  • Kenard: [Unable to locate]
  • Gus Haynes: Gus left the paper eight months after the documentary aired. He started a Baltimore-based blog that gets a reasonable amount of traffic.
  • Brianna Barksdale: Brianna lives quietly on the West Side of Baltimore. She declined to participate in this story.
  • Maurice Levy: Levy, similar to what we saw near the end of the documentary, managed to outrun another potential prosecution when Rhonda Pearlman discovered he’d been paying others for access to sealed grand jury documents. “I guess I’m just lucky,” he said after Pearlman’s case fell apart. Three months later he was hit by a truck. He survived. Rhonda got a great, big kick out of it.
  • Thomas “Herc” Hauk: Herc spent three years working as a private investigator for Levy. He saved up enough money to buy a house in the suburbs, where he lives now with his wife and two sons. He hopes to buy a jet ski this summer.
  • Ellis Carver: Still serving as a lieutenant in the Baltimore Police Department. He was never able to outrun the guilt from what happened to Randy, but he was able to use it to become a smarter, better, more nuanced detective. The area’s drug dealers still don’t like him, but at least they respect him, which is really all he’s ever wanted.

You can stream the entirety of The Wire on HBO GO and HBO NOW.

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.