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Omar coming to a TV near you

The Audience Network will re-air “The Wire,” the greatest TV show ever, beginning Sunday, Oct. 30. So, if you subscribe to DirecTV, there’s no excuse – you must watch the acclaimed series, which focuses on the Baltimore drug trade and the city’s ineffective bureaucracies.

Of course, even if you don’t have DirecTV, you can always catch the show on Netflix, buy all five seasons or “borrow” them from a friend. Before you know it, you’ll think of 40-degree days and WMDs differently, visit exotic locales like Hamsterdam and wish the husky-voiced Slim Charles were reading bedtime stories to you. You’ll also meet a host of intriguing characters, Slim Charles included. Allow me to introduce a few more.

Omar Little. Omar wields a sawed-off shotgun and whistles “Farmer in the Dell” while robbing drug dealers and generally wreaking havoc. Although Omar actively plays “the game,” he lives by a code – he never points his gun at a civilian. He also takes his grandmother to church and has a weakness for Honey Nut Cheerios and Newport cigarettes. If you best a young relative at, say, Go Fish, you might find yourself bragging, a la Omar, “You come at the king, you best not miss.”

Bubbles. A homeless heroin addict, Bubs is the heart of “The Wire.” Despite his seemingly dead-end situation, he remains positive and mentors younger addicts, showing them how to survive on the streets and encouraging them to better themselves. “The Wire” is not escapist entertainment. It’s not uplifting. But Bubs provides some of its most inspiring moments including this quote, “Ain’t no shame in holding on to grief, as long as you make room for other things, too.” As a bonus, Steve Earle – yes, that Steve Earle – shows up from time to time as Bubs’ NA sponsor.

Jimmy McNulty. Baltimore detective James “Jimmy” McNulty is a slutty, semi-functioning alcoholic who can’t even keep his pants zipped during a sting. McNulty frequently circumvents the chain of command and manipulates situations, even going so far as inventing a serial killer, to garner resources for his cases. In McNulty’s world, the ends always justify the means. It’s hard to argue with him. The Baltimore PD brass and city hall value statistics over good police work, but the self-destructive McNulty is his own worst enemy.

Stringer Bell and Avon Barksdale. Avon heads the Barksdale drug operation, but he couldn’t have grabbed the crown without his right hand man, Stringer. They’re as close as brothers, and with Stringer’s head for business – he attends business school on the sly – and Avon’s street sense, they’re the perfect combination. But they disagree on how to play the game. As the tension builds, Avon taunts Stringer, “You know what the difference is between me and you? I bleed red, you bleed green.” That’s merely an appetizer. Their confrontation left me on the edge of my rocking chair, gasping and wanting more.

“The Wire” does make you want more.  Maybe I’ll set the DVR to record a few episodes. I’ll check in on these characters and all the others just to see if anything’s changed since the last time I watched the greatest TV show ever.

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