Ranked alongside Breaking Bad and The Sopranos, The Wire is recognized as one of the greatest television shows of our time. The series is full of unique, memorable characters, realistic depictions of the city of Baltimore, and the inner workings of the police, city officials, and life in the ghetto. The show became iconic not only thanks to the brilliant writing but also to the outstanding cast.
Let’s see how actors from The Wire have changed over the decades!
1. Idris Elba
These days, Elba is one of the most sought-after actors in the world, and it’s in part thanks to his role on the Wire. Of course, this was just the beginning. Soon after came movies like Thor and Prometheus, and let’s not forget Luther and The Dark Tower. Although, we should probably all forget about that last one. His next big project is James Gunn’s version of the Suicide Squad that’s coming later this year.
2. Michael B Jordan
Speaking of the most sought-after actors, have you noticed how Michael B Jordan blew up in the past few years? Black Panther, Fantastic Four, Creed — it’s insane how talented this guy is. I can’t wait to see him in Black Panther 2 in a few years.
3. Dominic West
Years before coming on the Wire as detective Jimmy McNulty, Dominic West appeared in Star Wars: Episode I, but it wasn’t his big break. After becoming a big star on the Wire, we saw him on 300 and Tomb Raider. But you probably know him better as Prince Charles from the Crown.
4. Pablo Schreiber
Pablo’s role on the Wire was his second official credit, but it opened a lot of doors for him. You may remember him on Weeds, Orange Is the New Black, Law & Order, and of course, American Gods, where he plays a 6-foot-tall leprechaun. In 2022, we’ll see Pablo in the role of Master Chief in the Halo series.
5. Sonja Sohn
For her role in The Wire, Sonja won the Image Award for Best Supporting Drama Actress twice — in 2005 and 2009. In 2008, after finishing the series, she went into politics and helped to support the future US President Barack Obama in North Carolina. She also started a social program to help rehabilitate teenagers who have been involved in criminal activities. In 2010, Sonja returned to the screens in the series The Good Wife. After that, it’s been one hit after another: Luke Cage, Utopia, The Chi, Star Trek: Discovery, and many more!
6. Aiden Gillen
Before becoming one of the most influential people in Westeros, Aiden actually played an ambitious mayor on The Wire. His HBO connections probably helped him get the role of Littlefinger on the Game of Thrones. Whatever he did, it was 100% worth it, as Petyr Baelish became one of the most iconic TV characters of the century.
7. Amy Ryan
On the Wire, Amy played Beadie Russell, McNulty’s cop girlfriend, but before that, we loved seeing her on The Naked Truth. Amy Ryan doesn’t have the most impressive resume, but she was pretty funny as Mrs. Michael Scott in the American version of the Office.
8. Lance Reddick
Before becoming one of the coolest characters on The Wire, Lance appeared in multiple true-crime series like CSI Miami and Law and Order. His subsequent career choices were getting more and more epic as time went on: Lost, Fringe, Jonah Hex, all the John Wicks, and the most recent hit Godzilla vs. Kong.
9. Michael Kenneth Williams
Michael played the role of Omar Little, a criminal who robbed drug dealers, guided by his personal moral code. Omar was originally supposed to appear only in a few episodes but became very popular among the viewers, and it was decided to make him one of the leading characters. This performance opened new doors for Michael, allowing the actor to test his mettle in many other movies and TV shows like 12 Years a Slave, Assassin’s Creed, and the most recent hit — Lovecraft Country.
10. Andre Royo
Andre Royo played one of the most memorable characters on the show — Bubbles the CI. Did you know that this quirky police informer was almost entirely based on a real Baltimore junkie? Andre did such a great job with Bubbles that one time he was approached by a shady guy on the street who wanted to sell him drugs because Royo “looked like he needed a fix.” After the Wire, Andre’s career took a huge leap forward, allowing him to star in amazing projects like Super, the Spectacular Now, and the Collection, with dozens of TV appearances and smaller roles in-between.