I already had a lot to say about this series earlier, but didn’t get into the terrific cast of characters both because my post was already long, and I had this post in mind. If you’ve never watched the show, you may think a list of 25 characters is a touch of overkill. However, if you have watched it, you’re probably thinking to yourself: only 25?
There’s never been an ensemble as deep as that of The Wire, which completely eschewed stars and delved into the lives of dozens of characters and how they affect, and are affected by, the city of Baltimore. The cast grew exponentially as the seasons went on, with the show introducing several new characters at once in an attempt to expand the scope of the show and the picture of Baltimore. Managing all these characters was a Herculean task, one that the show managed on an incomparable level. All the characters mattered, and each fit into the puzzle perfectly. When you consider that other shows have difficulties managing casts of less than ten, you start to get an appreciation of what The Wire did with five times that amount. When putting together this list, I came up with a list of over 50 names of characters I enjoyed that were vital to the show, so that should give you an idea of why a list of 25 top characters is a perfectly acceptable number.
By “top 25″, I’m taking a few things into consideration. “Best” is too abstract an idea to apply to any type of standard, but I did try and decide which characters were the most unique, which actors performed the best in their roles, which characters were most significant for the show, who was the most memorable, etc. Then my personal tastes and favourites were factored in, and viola, a “Top 25″ is made.
A note on spoilers: because I know not everyone is caught up on all five seasons of this show, but I still want as many people to read this as possible (I’m vain that way), this list will be as spoiler-free as possible. I will have to reference some events in order to talk about the characters, but no major events will be discussed (especially the ultimate fate of any character). Also, since characters move up and down their career fields throughout the series, I’ll avoid referring to character by title as much as possible. When it is needed to refer to a character by their job title (i.e., Lieutenant, Judge, Mayor, etc), I’ll only refer to the job title the character holds when we are first introduced to them. That said, if anyone wants to get into spoilers, I’ll gladly do so via comments (with spoiler warnings).