The Plot Of The Wire Season 2 Was A Point Of Contention For Michael Kenneth Williams

2022-05-13 21:32:45 By : Mr. qiang zhao

Although "The Wire" is widely considered one of the best TV shows of all time, fans are often less enthusiastic about season 2. While the show's debut season focused on the drug trade in Baltimore's west side, season 2 radically switched the focus towards the docks. Most of the plot was now focused on crooked union leader Frank Sobatka (Chris Bauer), his son Nick Sobatka (Pablo Schreiber), and Nick's annoying cousin Ziggy (James Ransone). A lot of the most memorable characters from season 1, like Bodie (J.D. Williams), Stringer Bell (Idris Elba) and Omar (Michael K. Williams), were given less focus. Their storylines weren't completely forgotten, but the show was more interest in exploring the unfamiliar, seemingly lower-stakes drama happening in another part of the city, especially in the first few episodes.

The late Michael K. Williams in particular was a little baffled at the time by this storytelling choice:

And sure enough, David Simon was right. Season 2 may not have been as action-packed as the seasons surrounding it, but it helped to dramatically shift audience expectations for what kind of show "The Wire" would be. Season 3 would go on to shift its focus towards Baltimore's political scene, season 4 would focus on Baltimore's school system, and season 5 would focus on the media. Each shift would be a little jarring — on first watch, it always takes a few episodes of each season before you can fully keep track of everyone's names — but these shifts are easier to deal with because of how season 2 prepared us. 

Perhaps more importantly, season 2 helped to underline the sense that everything on this show was connected. Not only did it introduce us to The Greek (Bill Raymond), who supplies a lot of the drugs that play a part in the projects' storyline, but it plays with the idea that the white, working class dock workers are struggling from the same systemic problems that led to the mostly Black residents from the season 1 storyline being engulfed by crime and poverty. Everyone is affected by the city's crumbling institutions, which prioritize the increasingly-desperate status quo over the well-being of the people they're supposed to protect.

Beyond that, season 2 still gave Williams some great material to work with. Particularly, the season's sixth episode, "All Prologue," features his character Omar showing up in court for the first time in the show to testify against Marquis "Bird" Hilton (Fredro Starr). Although Omar wasn't actually there to see it, he still claims he saw Bird murder a state witness. Omar does this out of revenge for Bird's part in the murder of Omar's boyfriend back in season 1, and successfully gets Bird sentenced to life in prison. 

In a show that often feels like a Shakespearian tragedy, (or maybe something out of sad Victorian novel), this storyline provided one of the show's few glimmers of hope. Or at least, one of the few moments of pure, satisfying fun. Omar doesn't just successfully get revenge but he does it in style, showing up to court in a ridiculous outfit (at least he's got a tie!) and getting a few jabs in at Bird's corrupt lawyer.

Even if you still think season 2's the worst season of "The Wire," even if you still can't bring yourself to care that much about the Sobatka family, characters like Omar, Bodie, and Stringer Bell were very much still part of the show in this period. Omar's always been one of the show's most interesting and eccentric characters, and "All Prologue" contains a whole string of his most memorable moments. Williams may have been understandably frustrated by the direction the show took following its first season, but his character was never forgotten.