Even with continually excellent shows coming out of HBO, The Wire will always be remembered as one of the greatest TV series of all time. Its five-season run certainly gets a lot of (deserved) praise because of its slow-burn storytelling, the stark and desperate settings, and most of all, its characters. The Wire could take scummy drug dealers and make viewers care about them (before Breaking Bad and Weeds made it cool). But what about the people behind those characters? No, not just the creators and writers of the series — the show drew from real life to make its cast as complex and rich as it is.
David Simon, one of the creators of the show, worked as a crime reporter in Baltimore, while co-creator Ed Burns worked as a police detective. They drew on people they encountered and stories they heard to come up with many characters from The Wire. We already mentioned some of the major players that helped shape the series, including beloved anti-hero Omar Little, ambitious Mayor Carcetti, and drug kingpin Avon Barksdale. Snoop, one of Marlo’s lieutenants, was also based on a living person, and she just so happened to play herself. Felicia “Snoop” Pearson starred as the terrifying female soldier based on her own life as a former drug dealer who served time for second-degree murder. Bubbles, the lovable addict who’s continuously building toward redemption, was created from Possum, an informant for BPD. He used hats to mark drug dealers for the cops, much like his onscreen persona. Other characters based on real people include Bunk (BPD Detective Oscar “Rick” Requer) and Marlo (drug kingpin Timmirror Stanfield).
Who’s your favorite character from The Wire?