Exclusive David Simon Q&A (page 12)
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Exclusive David Simon Q&A Q: Was the canon on Omar's motives, ethics, sexual orientation, charisma, and language set from the start or did it evolve when you hired Michael and started writing the character?  [Mike, specifik]

A: He was gay from the start - my choice, as I thought Omar, as an unaffiliated character, could be boldly and openly homosexual in a way that a gay man within the organized drug trade or within the police department could not be.  His motivations and ethics were in the writers' heads from the start.  We decided that he would not curse after watching the singular moment in the first robbery sequence, when Brandon uses his name during the robbery, and Omar, in his surprise, lets slip a curse.

At that moment, his loss of poise felt telling, and it was Ed who first suggested that Omar should prize his own self-control in a way that so many other characters in The Wire do not.  At that point, I agreed, coming to the realization that Omar alone - unbeholden to the institutions that leave everyone else in the show debased and betrayed - would never curse again.  Sometimes, one of the writers forgets the rule and an early draft of a script will contain a profanity for Omar.  Michael Williams always remembers, however, and he corrects the page.

Michael K. Williams The charisma we will credit to Michael as much as to the part we've written, but reports that we expanded the part based on Michael's achievement are not really accurate.  We always conceived of Omar as a critical entity - along with Bubbles, a perversely moral force and a bridge between the police and street worlds.

Omar is very much based on several stickup artists who preyed on the drug culture in Baltimore, a number of whom were at times informants to Ed Burns.  Here's a shout-out to Ferdinand Harvin, Anthony Hollie, Shorty Boyd, Cadillac & Low, Donnie Anders, et al. - all of you live on a bit in Omar, though of course, they'd all probably want me to affirm their heterosexuality along with their local legend.  Ah well.  The limits of human empathy, again.

Q: Are you disappointed that there has not been Emmy or Golden Globe recognition for your actors or the show?  [Glen in Pennsylvania]

A: As to the Emmys, yes, somewhat, especially for the actors who have done so much fine work.  But in television, even more than feature films, the awards academy does not seem to vote for the work that is the most creative or ambitious.  And that is reflective of many more quality productions than merely The Wire.

As to the Golden Globes, which are wholly a reflection of a handful of foreign critics seeking to have a televised dinner with the freshest celebrities they can muster, I have to regard them as McNulty regards Baltimore lawyers.

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