Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I thought Krzys raised an interesting point when he brought up the idea of Omar being the most morally sound character on the show. I hadn’t really thought about it that way before, but it’s an interesting way to look at, and there’s certainly a lot of evidence for the position.

Omar can be violent and cruel, as we see in the robbery, but he also strictly follows his own moral code, unorthodox as it is. He never robs or acts violently against anyone who isn’t a drug dealer. This is contrast to the other street killers that we see. Bird kills the witness William Gant in cold blood, even though the trial has already ended. Wee-bey has no qualms about gunning down innocents such as Avon’s ex Dierdre, and is quick to backstab his co-worker Little Man when he realizes that it is to his benefit in avoiding the police after Kima is shot. Omar, on the other hand, is visibly upset when he is informed of Bailey’s death, and after Brandon’s murder he risks his life to get revenge, by killing Bird and attempting to kill Avon. In this way, Omar shows much more loyalty to those he works with, and much more respect for the “rules of war” by only targeting people in the drug trade.

Omar also doesn’t lie about what he does or try and euphemize it. He is straight up, and gets by on his skill and intelligence. Stringer, a character who displays similar intelligence and reason, does not share Omar’s honesty, and at the end of season declares a truce with Omar, with the actual intention to catch him unaware and kill him. Omar sees through this ploy, however and wisely leaves town.

Omar doesn’t even curse, a minor disgression that pretty much every other character on the show commits. Omar scolds Brandon for cursing and tells him that “no one wants to hear those dirty words”, displaying an unexpected level of manners for someone who robs drug dealers for a living.

The contrast between Omar’s line of work and his moral fortitude is yet another example of David Simon challenging our assumptions. A principled homosexual who doesn’t curse is not exactly the stereotypical image of a drug hold-up man. Certainly, Omar is one of the most interesting characters on the wire, and I’m interested to see how his story plays out in the rest of the seasons. My intuition (and the surprising length of the “Omar Little” entry on Wikipedia) tell me that his departure to New York at the end of season one is not the last we’ll see of Omar.

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