Playing A Character On The Wire Was A Study In Paranoia

After season 2’s expansion to the docks, effectively claiming the entire city instead of one street corner as the arena for Simon’s dystopia, the third season of “The Wire” returned to the human element that hooked viewers in season 1. The Barksdale organization and the BPD surveilling them were back (including Sonja John’s detective Kima Greggs, who wasn’t supposed to last beyond her season 1 stint), with new, leavening threads. The politics fueling the drug war stepped into the spotlight, as well as the emergence of a new gunslinger in town: The Stanfield organization, led by Marlo (Jamie Hector) and its aggressive enforcers. As the body count began to rise, so did the chances of ending up in the unemployment line if you were an actor on the show.

The Guardian quotes Clarke Peters:

“People started disappearing and my paranoia kicked in. I could pick up the script and someone might say: ‘Did you hear what happened to Freamon the other night?’ That was an ever-present specter. In hindsight, that’s what living in Baltimore is like. You can catch a bullet filling up your car with gas.”

It worked the other way around, too: Isiah Whitlock Jr., who filled the role of the unscrupulous senator Clay Davis, originally showed up for a brief stint in season 1, but found his character dealing with the Barksdale crew all the way through the final season.

“Initially, I just thought I was going to do a couple of episodes. I had no idea where it was headed. It was quite a ride.”

Leave a Comment