The Wire Season 2 – Omar Little Testifies

SPOILER ALERT – We will be talking about specific plot details and happenings from The Wire.

Background – During the second season of The Wire, Omar says he’ll go to court to testify against Bird who murdered a state’s witness, Mr. Gant (well more specifically, he agrees to go on the stand in the first season, but he does not take the stand until season 2). He states that he saw Bird shoot Mr. Gant, but he’s essentially just lying and hopes to get Bird convicted.

Now that the stage is set, let me start by saying this is easily one of my favorite Omar Little scenes (and that is saying a lot since Omar has so many awesome scenes). Listed below are 3 of my favorite quotes from the scene and why I think they are so remarkable:

1) A day at a time – Omar, while he’s being questioned by the prosecuting attorney, is asked the question – “What is your occupation.” Initially, he says “I rip and run” and then the prosecutor asks him how he has managed to steal from drug lords for 8 or 9 years and live to tell about it, and the classically flipant Omar says “a day at a time I suppose.” Omar, for how complicated and dynamic of a gay drug dealer robbing gangster he is, is really quite a calm & rather simple man (a persona that is definitely unique in the game). This statement is a virtually perfect example of the failure of most individuals to understand this, to understand him, and to understand why he does what he does for a living.

2) His code – Omar lives by a code. He has no problem robbing or killing anyone in the drug game, but he has a strict rule about not violating the rights of citizens. As such, when the defense attorney, Mr. Levy, tries to portray Omar as untrustworthy and suggests that he is exactly the sort of man who would kill another man in cold blood, Omar responds in a stern tone – “Hey look I ain’t never put my gun on no citizen.” This is actually the very first time we have heard Omar’s code so explictly stated (and in later seasons we will learn more about these values). And while even without his code, Omar Little is an incredibly compelling character – his code is the thing that solidifies his amicability for the audience and it is the thing that makes us consistently pull for him.

3) It’s all in the game – Again, while the defense attorney is trying to position Omar as a liar, as the filth of the city, as a leech who feeds off the leeches who are in turn “stealing the life blood of our city,” Omar, calmly replies “…Just like you man – I got the shotgun, you’ve got the brief case … it’s all in the game though right.” This is Omar at his best. He shows us that he’s not just street smart or smart about how to steal a couple of g-packs. Omar sees the bigger picture. He, almost more than anyone else in The Wire, genuinely knows how the game is played, and he delivers to the defense attorney a terrific blow which merely makes us love him more.

If The Wire is the best show ever aired on television, then Omar is clearly one of, if not the best character, on the finest show on television.

Dig further into HBO’s The Wire and find out why it’s the best show HBO has ever aired. Plus check out reviews for Fox’s new hit series Glee.