‘The Wire’s Most Memorable Character Takes On Racial Politics In The Film Industry

Written by Noah Remnick

“The Wire,” HBO’s five-season epic of Baltimore life (it first aired in 2002), is a perennial contender for the greatest TV series ever, and Michael K. Williams, in his role as the stickup man Omar Little, its most memorable actor.

Mr. Williams, as Omar, will forever be remembered for his scowl, his scar, his mordant wit and the sawed-off shotgun he held at the ready, but he has always wanted more.

Even today, when a film like “Moonlight” wins the Oscar for best picture, typecasting is still woefully commonplace, and black actors are still forced into one-dimensional roles.

Home for Williams is Vanderveer, a Brooklyn housing complex now known as Flatbush Gardens. Mr. Williams has made a career of bringing nuance and contrast to his roles, inspired by the swaggering characters he grew up with in East Flatbush.

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