Last night, much of the cast of The Wire and creator David Simon gathered for a reunion panel at New York’s PaleyFest, and—due to the institutionalized caste system in this country that keeps the common man in his place, requiring him to be in New York and actually have tickets—most people missed it. Fortunately, the whole thing was live-streamed and recorded by Yahoo, allowing even the people on the streets to get in on the game. That’s America, man.
For over an hour, HitFix’s Alan Sepinwall moderated a discussion that included Simon, executive producer Nina Noble, cast members Wendell Pierce (Bunk), Sonja Sohn (Kima), Michael Kenneth Williams (Omar), Seth Gilliam (Carver), Jim True-Frost (Prez), John Doman (Rawls), Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (D’Angelo), and Jamie Hector (Marlo), plus video messages from Dominic West (McNulty) and Idris Elba (Stringer), and special guest appearances in the crowd from Tristan Wilds (Michael), J.D. Williams (Bodie), Bob Wisdom (Colvin), and Michelle Paress (Alma). A few of the highlights:
- Williams was also confused by season two and the shift to the docks. “I got real bitter,” he said. “I was an angry black man. And I approached David, in my ignorance, you know—how come when we make the show hot, you want to give it to the white people?” When Simon explained that he was making the story much bigger than it would be if the show just stayed in the projects, Williams said, “That went way over my fucking head.” However, he eventually came around.
- Kima wasn’t supposed to live past the first season. Getting shot was supposed to be the end of her character, and it was only the intervention of an HBO executive that saved her. “Don’t be killing Kima,” he reportedly said. “Do you want a show?”
- Doman was absolutely ready to explore Rawls’ homosexuality. That brief, never-addressed scene of Rawls in a gay bar remains one of the show’s subtlest character moments, but Doman says he was eager to pursue it further. Doman pulled Simon aside, he said, telling him, “I don’t know what your plans are for this gay thing, but I’m open for anything. David just looked at me like [nods] and walked away.”
- Both Pierce and Hector used to get mistaken for actual cops and dealers, respectively. Pierce, who’s since become friends with the real-life Bunk Moreland, says he used to dress up as Bunk and head out to Baltimore bars, where people would assume he was “real police” and have a good laugh about it—while also threatening to kill him. Meanwhile, Hector was approached by dealers asking if he’d like to move packages for them, which he politely declined.
- There’s not going to be a movie or a prequel or any sort of continuation, so let it go. “Stories work if they have a beginning, a middle and an end,” Simon said. “We really did plan the end. The end had to be the end. Sustaining the franchise is the great disease of American television.”
- Seth Gilliam does a really great Domenick Lombardozzi impression. Relaying a story about how the two were sick of having Herc and Carver sidelined on their go-nowhere surveillance subplot, Gilliam explained how he and Lombardozzi went to Simon and threatened to quit. Simon replied that the way the actors were feeling was exactly how Herc and Carver were feeling, and to “use it.” Gilliam said Lombardozzi was “buoyed” by that—him, not so much—then launched into an impression of Lombardozzi that makes watching this entire hour-long video worthwhile all by itself.