Culture of Pop

Revisiting ‘The Wire’ Characters Part 1 – Chris Partlow

chrispartlowStarting today and ongoing for a serious chunk of the future, I will be revisiting some of the best characters to appear in HBO’s The Wire. My series will be a 30-part piece of admiration to the greatest show in entertainment history. With lists come inevitable omissions and controversies, and The Wire is known for amassing a selection of numerous legendary figures. This list will be my best attempt to pay homage to these characters, ranging from popular fan favorites to occasional lesser known ones who made an impact. Parts are placed in no special order.

While disagreements may still come even with a lengthy series, I contend that 30 parts will be a plentiful total to give respect and please fans simultaneously. Certain days will feature two articles and thus two parts being published, others will just be one. If you’re a fan of The Wire and you find my series fulfilling, please share it with others. Pop Culture Spin appreciates your viewership and your efforts to spread the word. Kicking off the series, we begin with Chris Partlow, played by Gbenga Akinnagbe.

Chris, along with Felicia “Snoop” Pearson, represented muscle and intimidation for Marlo Stanfield. He was likely Marlo’s best friend and closest confidant, unafraid to give advice to a figure who didn’t take dissent well. The riveting dynamic to Chris as a character was his polarizing demeanor. In one instance, he could be quiet and calm, in others, he was a ruthless murderer who spent little to no time second guessing his kills. This was never demonstrated more than when Chris beat Michael Lee’s stepfather to an absolute pulp, one of the bloodiest and most gruesome TV attacks I’ve ever seen.

The reason? It was suggested in The Wire that Michael’s low-life stepdad was a child molester. The implication to be had was that Chris was a victim of child molestation earlier in life, and a perceived victimizer became the perfect target for Chris to unleash his anger. Beyond this beat down, Chris sent plenty of victims to their deaths by killing them and hiding their bodies by boarding them up in abandoned houses. He stopped at nothing to aid Marlo’s rise and his own status in the process.

What I enjoyed about Chris, if it’s acceptable to enjoy character traits of a multiple television murderer, was that he never wavered in his personality. Even as his crew rose and his pockets got deeper, he still wore the same crummy clothes. Chris never became a loudmouth or one interested in glorifying his acts. The deeds weren’t committed for namesake purposes or for earning respect. Chris was loyal to his character, loyal to his friends, and that simple but profound ease to his decision making made his role particularly chilling.

In the end, Chris landed a life sentence because of his work under Marlo. Murders and terrible deeds caught up to him. But for his part in a critically important crew of The Wire, and his necessary presence in a complicated HBO world of violence and codes, Akinnagbe’s character deserves recognition.

Published Entries of my Revisiting The Wire Characters List
Part 2 – Jimmy McNulty / Part 3 – Bodie Broadus / Part 4 – Frank Sobotka
Part 5 – Tommy Carcetti / Part 6 – D’Angelo Barksdale / Part 7 – Marlo Stanfield
Part 8 – William Rawls / Part 9 – Bubbles / Part 10 – Ellis Carver
Part 11 – Michael Lee / Part 12 – Stringer Bell / Part 13 – Roland Pryzbylewski
Part 14 – Wee-Bey Brice / Part 15 – Lester Freamon / Part 16 – Slim Charles
Part 17 – Wallace / Part 18 – Bunk Moreland / Part 19 – Howard “Bunny” Colvin
Part 20 – Avon Barksdale / Part 21 – Snoop / Part 22 – Clay Davis
Part 23 – Brother Mouzone / Part 24 – Cedric Daniels / Part 25 – Proposition Joe
Part 26 – Maurice Levy / Part 27 – Dennis “Cutty” Wise / Part 28 – Randy Wagstaff
Part 29 – Kima Greggs / Part 30 – Omar Little / Extra Part – Final Thoughts


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