Omar Devon Little was a stickup man in West Baltimore who robbed both the Barksdale and Stanfield organizations. Omar was a colorful character, notable for his 12-gauge shotgun, trench coat, openly gay lifestyle, facial scar, refusal to swear, and foreboding whistle of "The Farmer in the Dell".

Biography

Background

Omar was orphaned at a young age. He was raised by his grandmother Josephine, who is responsible for his strict code of ethics. He attended Edmondson-Westside High School in West Baltimore. Omar received his facial scar before 1985.

In 1985, a nine-year-old Omar, his brother Anthony Little, and an unidentified older boy planned and executed the robbery of a man at a bus stop. Omar questioned the value of robbing the man and then forced the older boy at gunpoint to return the stolen money. Anthony expressed bemusement at Omar's actions. The unidentified boy told Anthony that Omar was not "cut out" for their line of work.

Omar began sticking up drug dealers in the early 1990s and started dating Brandon Wright around 2002. ("All Prologue")

Season 1

Omar, Brandon Wright, and John Bailey robbed a stash house belonging to Avon Barksdale. Soon after, Avon put a contract on the trio. Bailey was killed, and Brandon was tortured, mutilated, and killed for keeping silent on Omar's whereabouts. In response, Omar cooperated with Detectives McNulty and Moreland, providing key information leading to the arrest of Barksdale soldier Bird, and agreed to be a witness against him at his trial (though he was not an actual witness to the crime). While meeting with the police, he observed information which he used to exact further revenge against the Barksdale Organization, killing Stinkum and wounding Wee-Bey.

Omar even got a shot at Barksdale himself, by giving stolen drugs to Eastside drug kingpin Proposition Joe for Avon's pager number. He tailed Avon to Orlando's strip club, paged him and waited for him to emerge into the open. Avon narrowly escaped when Wee-Bey arrived and shot Omar in the shoulder. Afterward, Stringer Bell offered Omar a truce, planning to kill him when he relaxed his guard. Omar realized Stringer's duplicity and left town, temporarily relocating to New York City.

Season 2

Omar returned to Baltimore with a new boyfriend, Dante, sometime between the seasons. He quickly returned to his old business, targeting the Barksdales exclusively, and connected with Tosha and Kimmy, stick-up artists who joined his crew.

Omar provided false testimony against Bird in open court as he had promised to do. Unabashed and unapologetic about who he was, he won over the jury with his wit; when Barksdale attorney Maurice Levy called him a parasite who thrived on the drug trade, Omar quickly pointed out that a crooked lawyer like Levy was essentially the same thing. In the end, the jury accepted Omar's testimony, and Bird was sent to prison for life. Assistant State's Attorney Ilene Nathan promised Omar a favor as a thank you for his testimony.

Around this time, Stringer Bell wanted to get rid of hitman Brother Mouzone. At a meeting arranged through Proposition Joe and Omar's adviser and confidant Butchie, Stringer told Omar that Mouzone was the one who tortured and murdered Brandon. Omar then tracked Mouzone down at a hotel and shot him in the abdomen. In the brief conversation that followed, Mouzone convinced Omar that they both shared the same type of moral code. Omar, realizing he had been duped, let Mouzone live, dialed 911, and provided them Mouzone's location. ("Bad Dreams")

Omar and Butchie later realized that the shooting with Mouzone was a set-up by Stringer. Omar vowed to get revenge. ("Port in a Storm")

Season 3

During a raid on a Barksdale house, Tosha was accidentally killed by Dante in the middle of a firefight, and Omar contemplated giving up his war against the Barksdale organization. ("Dead Soldiers")

Detective Bunk Moreland, investigating the deaths, made Omar feel further guilt over the incident ("Homecoming")

Omar Little visited Butchie to discuss Bunk's recent lecture about the loss of morality in their neighborhood. Revealing his increasing guilt, Butchie claimed that it was a ploy that Bunk was using against him. Despite Butchie's advice, Omar used Butchie's contacts to locate Officer Dozerman's weapon for Bunk. ("Back Burners")

Omar moved his crew to East Baltimore, where they have more success robbing dealers. On their return to the West Side, they noticed Hamsterdam. Omar, however, believe it was too good to be true and refused to consider it as a stickup target.

Under orders from Stringer Bell, two of Avon's soldiers attacked Omar while taking his grandmother to church. Omar forced her into a taxi, but she lost her best hat in the gunfire. This blatant violation of the longstanding "Sunday truce" between rival gangs led Omar to re-dedicate himself to war with the Barksdales, though Kimmy opted out. Avon, outraged at Stringer, ordered the men responsible for the attack to buy Omar's grandmother a new hat. ("Slapstick")

Meanwhile, Brother Mouzone captured and forced Dante to reveal Omar's location. ("Reformation")

Mouzone suggested an alliance against Stringer. Together, Omar and Mouzone ambushed Stringer during a meeting with a property developer and executed both Stringer and his bodyguard. ("Middle Ground")

After Mouzone set Dante free, Omar threw his shotgun and Mouzone's pistol into Inner Harbor. ("Mission Accomplished")

Season 4

Omar felt dissatisfied with how easy work had become and worried that pursuing easy thefts would make him soft, so he and new boyfriend Renaldo pull a robbery of one of Marlo Stanfield's dealers, Old Face Andre who ran a westside corner store that was in actuality a drug front. At Proposition Joe's suggestion, they proceeded to rob a card game, not knowing that it was held by Marlo Stanfield; Marlo vowed to get revenge. Christopher Partlow framed Omar for the murder of an innocent woman at Old Face Andre's convenience store, and Omar was jailed. During the arrest, he is initially robbed by Officer Walker and questioned by Officer McNulty who is puzzled as to why a murder warrant is present for Omar murdering a citizen. When imprisoned in Baltimore City's Central Booking, Omar recognized many of the inmates as people he'd robbed previously and correctly surmised they may try to kill him. In retaliation for an attempt on his life, he brutally stabbed his attacker in the rectum as a means of warning the other inmates not to attack him.

Omar was able to convince Detective Moreland that he would never kill a "citizen". After having Omar transferred to a safer prison (calling in the favor from Ilene Nathan), Bunk managed to prove Old Face Andre's lies. The charge against Omar was dropped and Bunk transported him out of Harford County with a warning - no more murders of anyone. The unsolved murders at his hands that Bunk knows about, such as Stringer Bell or Tosha, will be brought up if Omar is caught killing anyone else.

Omar found out that Marlo framed him, and was the one he robbed at the card game. Omar demanded that Proposition Joe help him rob Marlo, and Joe agrees to alert Omar when Cheese is dropping off Marlo's package. Omar orchestrates an elaborate and successful hijacking of Joe's entire shipment of heroin as it enters port. As he had no wish to sell drugs on the street, he sold the heroin back to Proposition Joe. As of the end of the season, he has made a lot of money, but has all of the dealers ready to put a contract on his head.

Season 5

A bitter end for Omar.

Omar retired with Renaldo following the heist and moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Marlo Stanfield had Butchie tortured and killed by Partlow, seeking revenge on Omar and to draw him out of hiding. ("Not for Attribution")

Upon learning, Omar returned to Baltimore to punish those responsible. Omar ambushed Slim Charles and confronts him. Omar knows that Slim Charles' employer Proposition Joe knew of his connection to Butchie and believes Stewart may have been responsible. Slim Charles is able to convince Omar of Stewart's innocence and Omar targets Stanfield. Along with Butchie's friend Donnie, Omar decides to go after Stanfield's people as Stanfield himself has gone into hiding and Omar targets Monk. ("Transitions")

Stanfield's soldiers spot Omar outside of Monk's apartment building and bait Omar and Donnie into an ambush. Once inside they are attacked by Chris Partlow, Snoop, Michael Lee, and O-Dog. During the shootout, O-Dog is wounded in the leg and Donnie killed by a gunshot to the head. Out of bullets, Omar is forced to jump from the fourth-story balcony, severely injuring his leg in the process. ("React Quotes")

Omar hid in the maintenance room of Monk's apartment building and bandaged what appeared to be a seriously injured right leg. He fashions a crutch from a broom and limped out of the building in obvious pain. Omar waits for Fat Face Rick at Boots Bail Bonds and used a glass bottle to hold up the kingpin. Rick offered Omar anything he wanted. Omar took Rick’s gun and told Rick he just wanted to deliver a message: Marlo is weak and will not face Omar alone. After Omar freed Rick, he asked if Omar was responsible for killing Hungry Man or Proposition Joe. Omar laughed, confirming Rick's suspicions that the two were murdered on Marlo's orders. Omar waited outside a row house for a Stanfield pick up. He shot one man in the leg with his shotgun and drove the rest of the Stanfield dealers away with a few shots at their parked SUV. Omar destroyed the money they collected by blowing up the SUV. Omar instructed the wounded dealer that his injury should convince Marlo of the truth to his story. He instructed the wounded man to tell Marlo that he destroyed the money and that Marlo is not man enough to face him directly. ("The Dickensian Aspect")

Omar Little trapped former Barksdale and current Stanfield enforcer Savino Bratton, who assured Omar that he wasn't there when Christopher Partlow and Snoop tortured and killed Butchie. Omar responded that he would have helped if he was there. After a brief moment, he shot Savino in the head. The next day, Omar limped on a crutch to Michael's corner. He instructed Michael to tell Marlo that he murdered Savino, and intends to kill all of Marlo's enforcers until Marlo faces him. ("Took")

A young boy from Michael's crew, Kenard, followed Omar to a convenience store, where he shot Omar in the side of the head, killing him. ("Clarifications")

Post-Death

News of Omar's death is received with mild amusement and indifference by various characters. Bunk Moreland initially shows some sympathy, which he brushes aside when he learns Omar was once again "on the hunt". McNulty and Freamon react with mere curious interest and instead focus on a lead in their case found on Omar's body. The newspaper staff drop any mention of the incident for lack of printing space. In his final appearance, an employee at the morgue realizes the identification tag on Omar's body has been accidentally switched with that of the white deceased male on the neighbouring table and corrects the error by swapping the tags. The scenes signal the unceremonious transition of Omar from a mythical figure into a crime statistic in the course of one day. However, various people in the street were shown to incorrectly exaggerate the details of his shooting in order to glorify his death. ("Late Editions")

Homicides

  • Anton "Stinkum" Artis: Shot once in the chest with a double-barreled shotgun as revenge for Brandon.
  • Stringer's Bodyguard: Shot once in the chest with a shotgun.
  • Russell "Stringer" Bell: Shot to death by Omar and Brother Mouzone for setting both of them up to be murdered.
  • Manny: Shot to death off-screen.
  • Savino Bratton: Shot once in the head for being a past Barksdale enforcer and to lure Marlo onto the streets.

Production

Appearances

Season 1
"The Target" "The Detail" "The Buys" "Old Cases" "The Pager"
"The Wire" "One Arrest" "Lessons" "Game Day" "The Cost"
"The Hunt" "Cleaning Up" "Sentencing"
Season 2
"Ebb Tide" "Collateral Damage" "Hot Shots" "Hard Cases" "Undertow"
"All Prologue" "Backwash" "Duck and Cover" "Stray Rounds" "Storm Warnings"
"Bad Dreams" "Port in a Storm"
Season 3
"Time after Time" "All Due Respect" "Dead Soldiers" "Amsterdam" "Straight and True"
"Homecoming" "Back Burners" "Moral Midgetry" "Slapstick" "Reformation"
"Middle Ground" "Mission Accomplished"
Season 4
"Boys of Summer" "Soft Eyes" "Home Rooms" "Refugees" "Alliances"
"Margin of Error" "Unto Others" "Corner Boys" "Know Your Place" "Misgivings"
"A New Day" "That's Got His Own" "Final Grades"
Season 5
"More with Less" "Unconfirmed Reports" "Not for Attribution" "Transitions" "React Quotes"
"The Dickensian Aspect" "Took" "Clarifications" "Late Editions" "-30-"

Notes

  • For four of the five seasons of The Wire, Omar is introduced in the third episode. The only exception is the third season where he enters in the second episode.
  • The scar on Omar's face is an actual scar that actor Michael K. Williams received during an altercation while working a dance club in his hometown of Queens, NY.
  • Omar's trademark whistle was not performed by Williams himself; he was unable to whistle effectively enough during shoots so the whistle was done by an elderly woman and added in post-production.
  • Omar's death is foreshadowed in Season 3, as Kenard was the young boy Bunk witnessed imitating Omar at the Barksdale stash house shootout. Omar's death also has several parallels with that of Errol Barnes in writer Richard Price's Clockers.
  • David Simon has said that Omar is based on Shorty Boyd, Donnie Andrews, Ferdinand Harvin, and Anthony Hollie, Baltimore stickup men between the 1980s and early 2000s who robbed drug dealers.[1] Donnie Andrews later reformed, is married, and now helps troubled youth.[2]
  • Michael K. Williams received the part after only a single audition, although the character was initially slated to appear in just seven episodes before dying. Williams has stated that he pursued the role because he felt it would make him stand out from other African Americans from Brooklyn with acting talent because of its contradictory nature.[3]
  • For his portrayal of Omar, Michael K. Williams was named by USA Today as one of ten reasons they still love television. The character was praised for his uniqueness in the stale landscape of TV crime dramas and for the wit and humor that Williams brings to the portrayal.[4]
  • Omar has been named as one of the first season's richest characters, not unlike the Robin Hood of Baltimore's west side projects, although his contradictory nature was questioned as a little too strange.[5]
  • The Baltimore City Paper named the character one of their top ten reasons not to cancel the show and called him "arguably the show’s single greatest achievement."[6]
  • Williams has stated that he feels that the character is well liked because of his honesty, lack of materialism, individuality, and an adherence to a strict moral code.[3]

References

  1. Richard Vine (2005). Totally Wired. The Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved on 2006-07-19.
  2. Urbina, Ian. "From Two Broken Lives to One New Beginning", The New York Times, 2007-08-09. Retrieved on 2007-08-11. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Joel Murphy (2005). One on one with... Michael K. Williams. Hobo Trashcan. Retrieved on 2006-07-21.
  4. Robert Bianco (2004). 10 Reasons we still love TV. USA Today. Retrieved on 2006-07-21.
  5. Chris Barsanti (2004). The Wire - The Complete First Season. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2006-07-20.
  6. Brent McCabe and Van Smith (2005). Down to the wire: Top 10 reasons not to cancel the wire.. Baltimore city paper.. Retrieved on 2006-07-21.
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