“Omar’s coming!” Winthrop House resident Lawrence Benjamin ’11 hollered across the Junior Common Room. Doing his best impression of the boys on the streets of Baltimore featured in HBO’s acclaimed television series “The Wire,” Benjamin summed up the excitement building in the room.
Fresh from a panel discussion at Harvard Law School, stars from “The Wire,” including Michael K. Williams (Omar), Andre Royo (Bubbles), Sonja Sohn (Kima), Jim True-Frost (Pryzbylewski), and Jamie Hector (Marlo) — plus Donnie Andrews, the real-life inspiration for the notorious antihero Omar, and his wife Fran Andrews — attended a dinner in their honor at the river House.
Winthrop residents selected by lottery and a small number of law students jockeyed for seats near the actors. Fans of “The Wire” abounded. Students shared favorite scenes and recited key lines. As the actors arrived, a starstruck student said, “Amazing, Kima said hi to me!”
The dinner discussion swirled around topics of race, justice, poverty, and violence. Winthrop House Masters Ronald Sullivan Jr. and Stephanie Robinson hosted. Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree, who is teaching “Race and Justice: The Wire,” a class on the criminal justice system that pulls heavily from the series, spoke about the show’s lessons. The guests reflected on the complexity, connectedness, and realism portrayed across the urban setting through drug distribution, law enforcement, the education system, and institutions of power.
“All the pieces matter,” a core phrase from the series, came to symbolize the great strength of its story. The message was not lost on the audience.