The Wire is 20 – stars went on to Marvel, Lily James fling & Peaky Blinders

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The Wire was the US crime drama that kickstarted our TV binging habits – and went on to be voted the best TV show of the 21st century.

The lives of the criminals in the US city of Baltimore became a slow-burning hit with viewers devouring the show on DVD boxsets before the streaming revolution.

The HBO series, which began in 2002, beat off competition from shows including Mad Man, Breaking Bad and Fleabag to top a list of best programmes in the last 22 years, as chosen by TV experts.

Ending in 2008, a lot has happened to the cast since it then.

Here James Moore looks at where The Wire’s biggest stars are now …

Michael K Williams as Omar Little

With his scar and trademark shotgun concealed under his long coat, homosexual “stick-up man” Omar became one of the show’s most iconic villains.

Williams later starred in TV’s Boardwalk Empire, but he became addicted to drugs after The Wire finished admitting: “I was playing with fire. It was just a matter of time before I got caught.”

He died, aged 54, of an accidental overdose at his home in New York home in September 2021.

Andre Royo as Bubbles

Winning fans’ hearts as a hapless junkie, the actor was offered free heroin by locals while starring on the show and ended up “drinking heavily” himself during filming.

The 53-year-old has since landed parts in shows including hip hop drama Empire.

Idris Elba as Stringer Bell

The actor hid his British accent to get the part of the brainy drug lord – and his career has since taken off.

Elba landed the lead role as a detective in the crime drama Luther and starred in films including Thor and The Suicide Squad.

Voted the sexiest man alive, the sometime DJ and 49-year-old father-of-two has been married three times.

He wed model Sabrina Dhowre in 2019.

Wendell Pierce as Bunk Moreland

Starring as detective and best pal to McNulty he would later appear in films ­including Selma and as a lawyer on TV’s Suits. He admits: “I know it will be the first line of my obituary, but I love it – I’m happy that I’ll forever be Bunk”

Now 57, he recalls he and fellow cast members didn’t think The Wire would take off, turning to each other and saying: “Man, I don’t think this s*** is going anywhere.”

Dominic West as Jimmy McNulty

The Eton-educated Brit, now 52, got his big break as the boozy maverick detective.

He went on to play serial killer Fred West on TV, star in Sky show The Affair and will appear as Prince Charles in The Crown’s fifth season.

Last year the dad-of-five was snapped canoodling with Lily James, co-star in TV’s The Pursuit of Love, before posing for ­pictures with wife Catherine FitzGerald, and insisting his marriage was “strong and we’re very much still together”.

Sonja Sohn as 'Kima' Greggs

Sohn overcame a troubled background to play a tough detective in all five seasons.

She went on to star in shows including Star Trek: Discovery while working on schemes for ex-cons.

The divorced mum-of-two, now aged 58, has just started filming Hollywood crime thriller Breakwater, to be released next year.

Clarke Peters as Lester Freamon

Having already penned hit musical Five Guys Named Moe, the writer and actor played the show’s wise detective and Vietnam war veteran. Afterwards the father-of-five moved to the UK.

When The Wire ended he recalled: “I went to Hollywood. My agent said ‘go there, The Wire is good, you’re big time’ and so on. I went there and I got a script after script after script after script of sh**e.”

Felicia Pearson as Snoop

A Baltimore-born ex-drug dealer who served time as a teenager for second degree murder, Pearson got a break on the show after meeting Michael K Williams in a club.

Crime writer Stephen King called her callous killer character “perhaps the most terrifying female villain to ever appear in a television series”.

After the show she landed minor acting roles but went to prison again on drug offences.

Now 42 she helps with community projects.

Aidan Gillen as Tommy Carcetti

After starring on Channel 4’s Queer as Folk the Irishman played the city’s sleazy mayor.

He went on to find fame as the villainous Littlefinger on fantasy series Game of Thrones and in Peaky Blinders.

Now 54, the divorced dad-of-two says: “It didn’t compromise in any areas. To get it, you had to watch and listen, and there was a risk people might not but they did.”

Michael B Jordan as Wallace

Playing a young dealer in the show, the US actor’s career would later take off as he starred in the films Creed, Fantastic Four and as villain Erik Killmonger in Black Panther.

Now, aged 35, he is dating model and socialite Lori Harvey.

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