HBO's The Wire was more than just a simple cops-and-robbers procedural. Just about everyone who has watched it -- including the most powerful man in the world, Mr. Barack Obama -- raves about the way it fearlessly depicts modern society in an urban setting. But one thing that sometimes gets lost in the praise are the performances of the actors who brought these thugs and shields to life.
These days, it's almost impossible to flip through the channels without seeing a Wire cast member playing a new role -- so we thought we'd take a look at some of our favorites to see what they're up to now. First up: Baltimore's finest (use the tabs above to navigate to the others).
(Warning: There are Wire spoilers peppered throughout the article, for those of you who are still catching up!)
Role: Lt. Cedric Daniels
Even if you've never seen The Wire, Reddick is unmistakable. Shortly after The Wire wrapped, Reddick was booked on Lost as the mysterious Matthew Abaddon, and he continues his J.J. Abrams partnership as Phillip Broyles in Fringe. In short, Reddick is the luckiest man in the world when it comes to landing awesome roles.
Role: Lester Freamon
Peters has had quite a bit of screen time since playing the once-quiet dollhouse furniture-maker Lester, appearing as a mentor to Sam in the US version of Life on Mars, and as a sneaky business man in season two of Damages. Next up, he'll reunite with Wire creator David Simon as the lead in Treme, which we're really excited for.
Role: Jimmy McNulty
One would have expected more from West in the aftermath of The Wire, but the Brit (yes, he's British) has been fairly quiet. His biggest role was Jigsaw in the "film" Punisher: War Zone -- but most people probably heard him in a bit part on Eminem's latest album, Relapse. How that match was set up, we'll never know.
Role: Commissioner William Rawls
Doman has done what several other Wire vets have done: star in several variants of Law & Order. But it was his turn as Walter Kendrick in Damages (where he shared scenes with Peters in a pseudo-reunion) that had us riveted.
Role: Detective "Bunk" Moreland
Possibly the most gifted member of The Wire cast, Pierce has appeared in several guest spots since leaving Baltimore, playing roles on In Plain Sight, Numb3rs, and Hawthorne. But we're really excited to see him work with Simon and Peters again in Treme. Really, really, excited.
Role: "Bunny" Colvin
Wisdom has been popping up in totally random places. He was Lechero in Prison Break, appeared in an episode of How I Met Your Mother, and played the jerk angel Uriel in Supernatural. Next up for Wisdom is ABC's Happy Town, which has yet to be scheduled.
Next up: The corner kids.
But what about the shady individuals who pushed WMDs and ran the corners?
Role: Stringer Bell
The world is still reeling over the death of Stringer Bell -- one of the most shocking turns of events in any show, ever. But the charismatic man behind the intimidating Bell is doing just fine, thank you. Elba played roles in 28 Weeks Later, RocknRolla, American Gangster, and Obsessed, and tested out his comedy skills as a new boss at Dunder Mifflin on The Office.
Role: Marlo Stanfield
Hector has played roles such as "Jogger 2," "Pedestrian," and "Rasta" -- but once you play Marlo Stanfield, you get respect ... sort of. Most of you will recognize him as Knox from Heroes, a character who turned people's fear into his strength. On second thought, Knox was a pretty lame character and Hector deserves more. Marlo would never stand for this!
Michael K. Willams
Role: Omar Little
Omar comin'! Everyone's favorite stick-up kid met an untimely end while shopping for smokes, but that was just the beginning of Williams' career. He's done several smaller parts since leaving The Wire, and recently finished playing Dax on NBC's The Philanthropist. His big break, however, will be as The Thief in the big-screen adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road -- alongside stars Viggo Mortensen, Robert Duvall, and Charlize Theron.
Role: Michael Lee
The most unusual post-Wire move belongs to Wilds, who went from brooding thug to ... Beverly Hills High? Yes, Michael, the hoodlum who took over for Omar as king of the neighborhood nightmare, is now gallivanting around 90210 as Dixon. We are so disappointed in you, Tristan. Win us over by stabbing Shannon Doherty.
Michael B. Jordan
When Wallace died, we bawled our eyes out. Thankfully, it looks like the character Wallace was just the beginning for the talented Jordan, who moved onto All My Children and The Assistants after The Wire ended. But we're really pumped to see him on the football field in Dillon, Texas, in the next season of Friday Night Lights. He'll play East Dillon running back Vince, and hopefully his best friends won't shoot him this time.
Next up: The in-betweeners.
And we'll finish with the guys caught between the po-po and the dealers.
Role: Frank Sobotka
Though he was only on The Wire for one season, Bauer's performance as a man torn between his union and his own well-being left a big impression. He's had no trouble finding work since The Wire, with guest roles all over the place. Now, he's best-known as bumbling drunk Andy Bellefleur in True Blood; previously, he played Frek Yokas on Third Watch.
At the top of our "people we want to see get bigger roles" list is Royo, who played the lovable crack-smoking, accidentally-kid-killing, crap-selling Bubbles. Unfortunately, what he got instead was a role on Heroes. And not just any role, but a role with both the worst super power ever (the ability to create black holes? not very practical) and the worst special effects ever. Come on, TV producers! Bubbles deserves better!
Role: Scott Templeton
God, Scott the lying journalist was such a sleaze bag. Which is why I was so surprised when I looked further into McCarthy's bio and discovered he's only a part-time actor. His real claim to fame is as a writer/director, with 2003's The Station Agent and 2007's super-awesome The Visitor under his belt. Oh, AND he co-wrote Pixar's Up. Tom McCarthy is now my favorite person in the world.
Role: Dennis "Cutty" Wise
When Coleman speaks, you listen. He has a certain cadence that just flows forth, adding importance to anything he says. He could talk about his shoelaces for three hours and it would be riveting. That's why we need to find him a job. Now. He played Queeg in a few episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and was signed up for Boldly Going Nowhere (yes!) before the project fell apart (dang!). However, he did have a mind-blowing reunion with fellow Wire actors Chris Bauer and Clarke Peters in an episode of Life on Mars.
Role: The creator, showrunner
Post-Wire, all eyes were on Simon to see how he could possibly follow one of television's finest hours, and he did pretty well. Generation Kill, about Marines in Iraq, was a seven-part HBO miniseries that's up for a ton of Emmys (way more than The Wire ever received, for some reason). We can't wait for his next show, Treme, which follows musicians in New Orleans and stars some Wire alums, including Clarke Peters and Wendell Pierce.
Got any more Wire actor sightings to share? Post 'em in the comments section below!