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What The Cast Of The Wire Is Doing Today

In 2002, journalist turned television writer David Simon launched an ambitious new series on HBO. The Wire began with the makings of a solid police procedural, telling the story of a group of detectives launching a wiretapping operation in an effort to take down a drug dealer in Baltimore. However, it quickly became clear that Simon was after more than just another cop show.

Over the course of five seasons, The Wire expanded to include numerous other aspects of Baltimore life, covering everything from shipping operations and public schools to the political machine and the media. And it did all through a sweeping, constantly intertwining narrative starring a massive ensemble cast of cops, criminals, politicians, reporters, and people just trying to survive. The result was a show packed with brilliant performances from recognizable faces, many of whom have gone on to even bigger things. Here's what the major players in The Wire are up to now.

Dominic West launched his career as The Wire's Jimmy McNulty

Dominic West began building his screen presence with a series of small roles in the 1990s, with projects like Richard III, A Christmas Carol, and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Then The Wire came along, and with it came the role of Jimmy McNulty. A character present in the series from the first scene to the last, McNulty often established himself as the audience's way into the various investigations and inner struggles at the Baltimore Police Department, and viewers became well-acquainted with West as the brilliant but often self-sabotaging detective whose arrogance cost him quite a bit throughout the series.

West's performance on The Wire earned him critical acclaim and no shortage of new opportunities, and roles soon followed in projects like 300, Hannibal Rising, Punisher: War Zone, and The Hour, which earned him his first Golden Globe nomination. In 2014, he joined the cast of another long-running, acclaimed drama, Showtime's The Affair, for which he earned his second Golden Globe nomination and more rave reviews from TV critics. He continues to work regularly, with recent projects including Brassic and the upcoming I Feel Fine and The Pursuit of Love.

After playing William 'Bunk' Moreland, Wendell Pierce teamed up again with David Simon

With his distinctive voice and knack for balancing drama and comedy, Wendell Pierce was already pulling in several acting jobs a year for a decade before The Wire came along, putting in appearances on everything from Law & Order to The Weber Show to Third Watch. As Detective "Bunk" Moreland, Pierce quickly became one of The Wire's most frequent scene-stealers, sharing certain self-destructive tendencies with his best friend, Jimmy McNulty, but finding ways to hide it better so he could maintain his perch as the resident gifted curmudgeon among the detectives.

Pierce has continued to work frequently since The Wire, with major appearances in everything from The Michael J. Fox Show to The Odd Couple to Ray Donovan. In 2010, he reunited with The Wire creator David Simon for a drama series set in his hometown of New Orleans, Treme, which ran for four acclaimed seasons on HBO. More recently, he's been seen in films like Selma and TV series like Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, and he played the voice of Death in the Terry Pratchett-inspired series The Watch.

Lance Reddick went from playing Cedric Daniels to working at the Continental

Lance Reddick began his on-screen career with smaller roles in the late 1990s before landing major appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and HBO's acclaimed prison drama, Oz. As Cedric Daniels on The Wire, he became one of the show's steadiest presences, a police commander well-known for focusing on the case itself and placing it over the egos of his detectives, which was easier said than done when cops like McNulty worked under him. And as Daniels rose through the ranks of the Baltimore PD, viewers got to know Reddick as a powerful acting presence.

Since The Wire, Reddick's profile has continued to rise steadily, with small-screen roles including Lost, Fringe, Intelligence, and American Horror Story. He's also had film roles in titles such as White House Down, Little Woods, and The Guest, not to mention his scene-stealing appearances in the John Wick films. Most recently, his projects have included Bosch, Corporate, and the acclaimed film One Night in Miami. He's also an accomplished voice actor with recent credits such as the Destiny series of video games and the Netflix animated series Castlevania.

Sonja Sohn made a name for herself as Kima Greggs on The Wire

For Sonja Sohn, her on-screen acting work started taking off in the late '90s, with parts in films like Perfume, Shaft, and Bringing Out the Dead. And as with so many other cast members on the series, her role on The Wire turned out to be a career-maker. As Shakima "Kima" Greggs, Sohn established her character as a key player in virtually every major investigation over the course of the series, portraying a determined detective who built the right connections, found the right way in, and fought against obstacles, even the ones she seemed to put in place for herself.

After staying with The Wire through all five seasons, Sohn continued to work regularly, frequently nabbing recurring and starring roles in high-profile TV series. Her other credits include Brothers & Sisters, Cold Case, Body of Proof, Burn Notice, The Good Wife, The Originals, and Shut Eye. More recently, she could be found on the acclaimed Showtime series The Chi, the Amazon series Utopia, and the CBS All Access sci-fi drama Star Trek: Discovery.

As Rhonda Pearlman, Deirdre Lovejoy stood up for law and order

Deirdre Lovejoy got started in the miniseries The Kennedys of Massachusetts, and after filling out the 1990s with a series of guest TV and film roles, she joined the cast of The Wire in the first season as Rhonda Pearlman. Perhaps the biggest player on the legal side of the series' stories, Rhonda quickly established herself as one of the most persistent moral centers of the show. However, over time, even she was seen to bend the rules a bit to advance her career. Through relationships with both McNulty and Daniels and a steady rise through the legal system, she remained a major player all the way up through the final season.

After The Wire, Lovejoy continued to pull in steady work in the film and television world, including prominent guest roles in a whole host of beloved TV shows. For example, we've got The West Wing, Without a Trace, Judging Amy, NYPD Blue, Cold Case, Lie to Me, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Bones, Body of Proof, and Orange is the New Black. Her recent work also includes prominent roles on Raising Dion, American Gothic, and Trollville, and she can regularly be seen as Cynthia Panabaker on the hit NBC thriller The Blacklist.

After playing Ellis Carver, Seth Gilliam went from arresting crooks to fighting zombies

After showing up in movies like the cult classic Starship Troopers and the critically lauded Courage Under FireSeth Gilliam landed two major projects at the turn of the century that helped launch him to a new level. The first was Clayton Hughes on the HBO drama Oz, and the second was Detective Ellis Carver on The Wire. As Carver, Gilliam became a key member of the backbone crew of cops that formed the foundation of the show, and his relationship with best friend and partner, Thomas "Herc" Hauk, formed a key case study in how various types of people play different roles in powerful institutions.

Following the success of The Wire, Gilliam racked up a series of major guest starring roles on shows including Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Person of Interest, Criminal Minds, The Good Wife, and Elementary before landing a major recurring role on the hit MTV series Teen Wolf. In 2014, he followed that success up with an even bigger genre series, joining the cast of the AMC survival horror hit The Walking Dead as Father Gabriel Stokes.

Domenick Lombardozzi played Thomas 'Herc' Hauk on The Wire, and he's still showing up on HBO

Domenick Lombardozzi kicked off his career by popping up in films like 54 and For Love of the Game. And soon afterward, the actor found himself joining the cast of The Wire as Detective Thomas "Herc" Hauk. As one half of the duo that included Ellis Carver, Herc was a key player in the initial wiretap crew that formed in season 1. And as the show went on, viewers watched as he and Carver evolved in opposite directions, with Herc taking the more brutalist route, while his partner tried to focus more on solid police work and building a knowledge base about the city.

As with so many other stars of the series, The Wire helped to make Lombardozzi's career, and major roles followed in the wake of the show. After a series of guest appearances on programs like Entourage and Bored to Death, he landed a major part in the series Breakout Kings in 2011. Lombardozzi then followed that up with a major role on the HBO period crime drama Boardwalk Empire. He remains an HBO mainstay to this day, with important roles in both The Deuce and Mrs. Fletcher, and his recent projects include The King of Staten Island and the upcoming film Boogie.

John Doman has played many intimidating characters, like The Wire's William Rawls

John Doman spent the 1990s building a character actor resume before landing roles on Oz and then The Wire over the course of about a year. On the latter series, as William Rawls, he played the vital role of the hard-nosed police authority figure with an eye toward career advancement and a taste for leveling punishment on maverick cops. In other words, his ire was frequently focused on characters like McNulty. The role helped cement Doman's place as an unforgettable presence in the TV landscape, and he would continue to play imposing figures.

After The Wire, Doman began compiling a long list of guest credits on series like CSI, Hack, Without a Trace, as well as numerous appearances in the Law & Order universe of shows dating back even to the time before The Wire. The 2010s brought with them a number of major starring and recurring parts on series ranging from Rizzoli & Isles to Borgia to Person of Interest, and in 2014, he joined the cast of the FOX series Gotham as notorious Gotham City mobster Carmine Falcone. That same year, he joined fellow The Wire alum Dominic West on the acclaimed Showtime drama The Affair, and his recent roles include the TV series For Life and the upcoming film Iron Terry Malone.

In addition to Lester Freamon, you've definitely seen Clarke Peters before

Over the course of two decades, Clarke Peters had already established himself as a serious character actor by the time The Wire came along, with roles in films like Outland, Notting Hill, and K-PAX. Plus, he played in the miniseries The CornerThe Wire creator David Simon's previous serious about drugs in a Baltimore neighborhood. But as Lester Freamon, Peters established himself as a figure of wisdom and calm observation throughout The Wire's run, often standing in contrast to the more fiery tendencies of his fellow detectives.

Steady work continued to follow Peters after The Wire, and he's grown into a beloved figure thanks to work in films like John Wick and Harriet and TV series like Damages, Jericho, Bulletproof, Person of Interest, The Divide, and more. He's also continued to work with David Simon, with a major role in the New Orleans-set Treme and the miniseries Show Me a Hero. His recent work includes an acclaimed starring role in Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods and an appearance in the HBO series His Dark Materials.

Michael K. Williams stole the show as Omar Little

Michael Kenneth Williams began establishing his distinctive acting prowess in the 1990s and early 2000s with roles in projects like Bringing Out the Dead and The Sopranos. And then, the actor grabbed everyone's attention by landing arguably the most enduring character on The Wire: Omar Little. Because of the shifting nature of the show's perspective, not everyone gets to be a persistent part of the narrative outside of the police at the show's core. But Omar's point of view as a hold-up man with a very strict moral code and a rich private life made him both a fan-favorite and a key part of the show's emotional core.

Playing Omar made Williams into an unforgettable presence. And since the show ended, he's appeared in high-profile films like 12 Years a Slave, RoboCop, Inherent Vice, and The Gambler. Plus, he's held major parts on TV series ranging from Boardwalk Empire and The Night Of to When They See Us and Hap and Leonard. Most recently, he co-starred as Montrose Freeman on the hit HBO horror series Lovecraft Country.

After playing Stringer Bell, Idris Elba became a big-time star

Before making it into the big leagues, Idris Elba was a constant presence in the world of British television, appearing on series like Degrees of Error, The Governor, Insiders, Family Affair, Ultraviolet, and Dangerfield. With The Wire and the role of Stringer Bell, he was arguably the show's most prominent antagonist, and in the years since the series has ended, he's become the biggest star to emerge from the series' main cast.

Following the success of The Wire, Elba landed roles in films like American Gangster and 28 Weeks Later, then flexed his comedy muscles for a while with a guest-starring role on the American version of The Office. From there, the blockbusters started rolling in, as he landed a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Heimdall in Thor (a role he would hold for nearly a decade), Janek in Prometheus, and Stacker Pentecost in Pacific Rim. Plus, he journeyed to The Dark Tower as Roland, and he played one of the best Fast & Furious villains in Hobbs & Shaw

Then, of course, there's Luther, a franchise in which Elba has starred as the title character since 2010. Elba is set to reprise his role as DCI John Luther in an upcoming Luther feature film, and his future projects also include the role of Bloodsport in the much-anticipated The Suicide Squad.

Aidan Gillen went from playing Tommy Carcetti to playing the game of thrones

Before joining The Wire, Aidan Gillen racked up a string of impressive credits with roles in films like Gold in the Streets and Shanghai Knights, as well as series like Dice. And when he did eventually join HBO's critically acclaimed series, he showed up in the third season as Tommy Carcetti, a key player in the Baltimore political machine who'd soon became a major part of the series' final seasons. His evolution from an idealistic but flawed councilman to a major political mover is one of the most important pillars of the series' depiction of Baltimore as a whole.

Following The Wire, more high-profile work followed for Gillen, most famously his work as the manipulative nobleman Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish on the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, a role he played for seven seasons. Other major roles include film work in The Maze Runner franchise, The Dark Knight Rises, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and Bohemian Rhapsody. As for his work in the world of TV, the man has shown up in series like Love/Hate, Quantum Break, Peaky Blinders, and the History original series Project Blue Book. His upcoming projects include The Ulysses Project and the James Joyce film James and Lucia.

The Wire features a ton of familiar faces

The Wire was a massive ensemble series, introducing a vast cast of characters over the course of five seasons and 60 episodes. The stars in the above list represent the cast members who stayed with the show the longest or made the biggest impact, but they're far from the only major The Wire players still working regularly today. 

For example, after playing Beadie Russell, Amy Ryan went on to steal Michael Scott's heart in The Office as Holly Flax. And long before he became a boxer in Creed or fought T'Challa in Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan left us all devastated with his turn as Wallace. Andre Royo played the struggling drug addict Bubbles, and afterwards, he showed up on series like Empire and Interrogation. And if you thought Ervin H. Burrell looked familiar, that's probably because you've seen Frankie Faison appear in projects such as Banshee, The Village, and The Grudge.

As for Wood Harris, he left an impression as drug lord Avon Barksdale, and since then, he's appeared in Empire, The Breaks, and Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television. (Marvel fans also probably recognize him from his detective role in Ant-Man.) The late, great Reg E. Cathy played Norman Wilson, and afterwards, he cooked up some mean barbecue on House of Cards, as well as appearing in Outcast, Luke Cage, and Fantastic Four. Plus, Jim True-Frost went from portraying the well-meaning Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski to showing up on Treme, Hostage, and American Odyssey, while Jamie Hector went from the terrifying Marlo Stanfield to playing in titles such as Heroes, The Strain, and Queen of the South.

Each of these actors represents a key part of the ensemble, but even they just scratch the surface. Everywhere you look on The Wire, there's a great performance, and after that great performance, more fantastic roles usually followed.