It’s been 10 years since we saw Det. Jimmy McNulty staring at downtown Baltimore from the highway, following a “where are they now?” montage set to “Way Down in the Hole,” The Wire’s opening theme song. It’s the final scene of what is, for my bread, the best show of all time.
Several shows have since attempted to replicate David Simon’s nearly perfect melding of realism and sensationalism, but nothing has quite hit the mark. Also, no show not named Game of Thrones managed to amass a cast that’s the size of a small Nebraskan town, yet manages to also be memorable, meme-able and pop culture touchstones in and of themselves.
Here are the 10 best characters of The Wire, in descending order:
10Augustus Haynes (Clark Johnson)
The best character of the show’s final (and weakest) season, Gus connected with me because I was also a daily newspaper man and I admired his unwillingness to sell out and compromise everything he believed in. Also because, like me, Gus is a waffle-complected Negro.