Rafael Alvarez, born May 24, 1958 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, is a motion picture writer and producer. He is a writer for the first, second, & third seasons of The Wire. He has worked on The Wire creator David Simon's other series Homicide: Life on the Street. He has been active since 1997 and has also worked on the series Tlt, Thief, The Black Donnellys, and Life. Alvarez worked as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun prior to starting a career in television. He has written several books including a guide to The Wire (The Wire: Truth Be Told), a non-fiction guide to the archdiocese in Baltimore, a short-fiction anthology and two collections of his journalism.



Alvarez was born at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He was raised in suburban Linthicum, and graduated in 1976 from Mount Saint Joseph College (High School). He moved into the city while attending Loyola College, bought a home on North Ellwood Avenue in East Baltimore in 1980, and moved into his paternal grandparents' house in Greektown in 1989. He began his journalism career in 1977 working as a truck dispatcher for the Baltimore Sun and then doing the box scores for the sports desk.[1] In 1981, he transferred to the city desk and learned to cover the police beat.[1] Alvarez worked as a city desk reporter for the Baltimore Sun for twenty years.[2] The Sun has published two anthologies of his journalism entitled Hometown Boy (1999)[3] and Storyteller (2001).[2][4] In 2008, from January to April, he wrote a weekly column for The Baltimore Examiner.

Alvarez also writes fiction and has had two collections of short fiction published; "The Fountain of Highlandtown" (1997)[5] and "Orlo and Leini" (2001).[2][6] The former includes the autobiographical short story "The Fountain of Highlandtown" which won the Baltimore City's Artscape Award for the short story.[1] Alvarez is at work on another short story collection called Sea Stories.[1] He credits his time as a journalist with providing him with a wealth of information to use in his fiction.[7] He has also published the non-fiction anniversary book,First and Forever: The Archdiocese of Baltimore, A People's History.[8] He contributed three short stories to the collection Out of Tune (2006).[9][10] The project also includes stories by Alvarez's daughter Sofia, Baltimore musician Jason Tinney, Rosalia Scalia and Airin Miller.[10]

In 2001, Alvarez left the Baltimore Sun and joined the Seafarers International Union with the intention of working on ships. He has since worked as a writer/producer on several television shows. Alvarez first worked in television as a freelance screenwriter[2] on Homicide: Life on the Street contributing the teleplay for the sixth season episode "All is Bright".[11] The show was based on a book by his former Sun colleague David Simon who was working as a producer on the sixth season in 1997 when Alvarez was hired.

Alvarez worked with Simon again as a writer on The Wire. He was credited as a staff writer for the second season.[12] He contributed a teleplay for an episode in each of the first three seasons including "One Arrest",[13][14] "Backwash"[15][16] and "Homecoming".[17][18] Alvarez also wrote a guide book on the series called The Wire: Truth be Told.[19] Simon credits Alvarez with bringing a wealth of experience to their depiction of the Baltimore port in the show's second season.[20] Alvarez described The Wire as similar to a Russian novel in that "the reader does the work for the first hundred pages, and then it turns and you’re lost in it[.] With The Wire, it might be Episode 6 before it turns and you’re in.”[21]

He left The Wire's writing staff after the show's third season. He now splits his time between Baltimore and Los Angeles.[7] He worked as a writer and consulting producer for the gambling drama Tilt in 2005. He wrote the episode "Nobody Ever Listens". The series was cancelled while airing its first season. He worked as a staff writer and producer on Andre Braugher's FX cable mini-series, Thief in 2006.[22] He worked on Paul Haggis' NBC drama The Black Donnellys in 2007.[23] He was credited as a producer and wrote the episode "The Only Sure Thing".[24] The series aired as a mid-season replacement and was cancelled after thirteen episodes.

Alvarez also wrote a pilot called Panic in Detroit for NBC.[22] Based on this piece, they hired him to work on Life as a writer and producer.[22] Alvarez co-wrote the episode "A Civil War" with series creator and show runner Rand Ravich. He left the crew of Life after the first season.



Season 1 credits
"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 credits
"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 credits
"Time after Time" "All Due Respect" "Dead Soldiers" "Amsterdam" "Straight and True"
"Homecoming" "Back Burners" "Moral Midgetry" "Slapstick" "Reformation"
"Middle Ground" "Mission Accomplished"

Staff Writer

Season 2 credits
"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"

External links

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Official site
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Rafael Alvarez biography. HBO (2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-14.
  3. Alvarez, Rafael (1999). Hometown Boy. Baltimore, Maryland: Baltimore Sun. 
  4. Alvarez, Rafael (2001). Storyteller. Baltimore, Maryland: Baltimore Sun. 
  5. Alvarez, Rafael (1997). The Fountain of Highlandtown. Baltimore, Maryland: Woodholme House Publishers. 
  6. Alvarez, Rafael (2001). Orlo and Leini. Baltimore, Maryland: Woodholme House Publishers. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Kelsey Volkmann (2007). The 3-minute interview: Rafael Alvarez. The Examiner. Retrieved on 2007-10-14. Template:Dead link
  8. Alvarez, Rafael (2006). First and Forever: The Archdiocese of Baltimore, A People's History. Baltimore, Maryland: Editions Du Signe. 
  9. (2006) Out of Tune. Baltimore, Maryland: Hilliard & Harris Publishers. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Bret McCabe (2007). Out Of Tune Debuts. Baltimore City Paper. Retrieved on 2007-10-14.
  11. "All is Bright". Matt Reeves, Writ. Julie Martin, James Yoshimura, Rafael Alvarez. Homicide: Life on the Street. NBC. 1997-12-12. No. 08, season 6.
  12. Season 2 Crew. HBO (2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-14.
  13. Episode guide - episode 07 The Wire. HBO (2004). Retrieved on 2006-08-02.
  14. "One Arrest". David Simon, Rafael Alvarez. The Wire. HBO. 2002-07-21. No. 7, season 1.
  15. Episode guide - episode 20 backwash. HBO (2004). Retrieved on 2006-06-22.
  16. "Backwash". David Simon, Rafael Alvarez. The Wire. HBO. 2003-07-13. No. 07, season 2.
  17. Episode guide - episode 31 Homecoming. HBO (2004). Retrieved on 2006-08-09.
  18. "Homecoming". David Simon, Rafael Alvarez. The Wire. HBO. 2004-10-24. No. 06, season 3.
  19. Alvarez, Rafael (2004). The Wire: Truth Be Told. New York: Pocket Books. 
  20. Goldman, Eric. IGN Exclusive Interview: The Wire's David Simon. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-09-27.
  21. Margaret Talbot (2007). Stealing Life. The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved on 2007-10-28.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 David Zurawik (2007). Alvarez gets Life -- a new NBC fall series. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved on 2007-10-14.
  23. The Black Donnellys. NBC (2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-14.
  24. "The Only Sure Thing". Anthony Hemingway, Writ. Rafael Alvarez, Mick Betancourt. The Black Donnellys. NBC. 2007-09-04. No. 08, season 1.
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