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Maurice Levy

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Maurice J. Levy
Levy
Portrayed by Michael Kostroff
Biographical Information
Gender Male
Occupation Defense attorney

Maurice J. "Maury" Levy is a defense attorney, played by Michael Kostroff. He is a skilled defence attorney and was kept on retainer by the drug-trafficking Barksdale Organization, and represented their members at trials and advised Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell on how to avoid investigations. Levy is presented as corrupt and unscrupulous, willing to defend any drug client without taking into account the source of their defense payment.

BiographyEdit

Season oneEdit

Levy represented Avon's nephew D'Angelo Barksdale in the "Poo" Blanchard murder trial and successfully returned a not guilty verdict. Levy's case was greatly improved when Nakeesha Lyles, a key witness, changed her story and refused to identify Barksdale in court. The next time D'Angelo was arrested, Levy arrived in the interrogation just in time to stop D'Angelo from writing a potentially incriminating letter. He got charges dropped against young Barksdale dealer Bodie Broadus in juvenile court, claiming to the judge that the work was part of his firm's pro bono outreach program. Levy also advised Stringer Bell and Avon on how to protect themselves when they suspected they were being investigated. His assertion that they should tie up any loose ends, particularly those not bound by ties of loyalty to them, led to the death of Nakeesha Lyles.

When Barksdale front operator Orlando was arrested for attempting to purchase drugs, Levy visited him in prison with papers to remove him from the liquor licence of his club. Barksdale soldier Savino Bratton was later arrested, following a failed undercover operation which resulted in the shooting of Orlando and Detective Greggs. Levy represented Savino and managed to limit his charge to a 3-year plea bargain for an attempt to supply fake narcotics, as he was not directly implicated in the shooting. Later, Levy was instrumental in damage-control when the Barksdale organization was struck by multiple arrests. He ensured that D'Angelo was not kept in police protection so that his mother could convince him not to testify against Avon.

Season twoEdit

Levy successfully negotiated Avon's first parole hearing in exchange for information on a corrupt guard following the deaths of several inmates. (Avon had actually set up the deaths to frame the guard, with the reduced sentence as his goal.) He was less successful in his defence of "Bird" Hilton in the William Gant murder trial, particularly struggling with the cross examination of Omar Little. When Levy attempted to undermine him as a credible witness, describing him as an amoral parasite feeding off the Baltimore drug trade, Omar pointed out the same is true of Levy, saying "I got the shotgun; you got the briefcase. It's all in the game". Levy was unable to counter, and Bird was sentenced to life imprisonment by Judge Daniel Phelan, though Levy maintains (accurately) that Omar is perjuring himself when he claims to have witnessed the crime.

Season threeEdit

After Stringer is conned by Senator Clay Davis, Levy chastises him, saying that he was aware of Davis's reputation for taking contributions without exerting any actual influence. Levy continued to defend Avon and most of his organization when a second wiretap investigation led to a mass prosecution. Avon was returned to prison. Levy also represented Poot Carr, who received a four year sentence.

Season fourEdit

Levy is seen briefly, representing Anthony Wardell in the high profile Braddock murder case. He allowed his client to undergo a polygraph test because he was convinced of his innocence on the charge.[1][2]

ProductionEdit

AppearancesEdit

Season 1 appearances
"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 appearances
"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 appearances
"Time after Time" "All Due Respect" "Dead Soldiers" "Amsterdam" "Straight and True"
"Homecoming" "Back Burners" "Moral Midgetry" "Slapstick" "Reformation"
"Middle Ground" "Mission Accomplished"
Season 4 appearances
"Boys of Summer" "Soft Eyes" "Home Rooms" "Refugees" "Alliances"
"Margin of Error" "Unto Others" "Corner Boys" "Know Your Place" "Misgivings"
"A New Day" "That's Got His Own" "Final Grades"
Season 5 appearances
"More with Less" "Unconfirmed Reports" "Not for Attribution" "Transitions" "React Quotes"
"The Dickensian Aspect" "Took" "Clarifications" "Late Editions" "–30–"

OriginsEdit

David Simon (who is Jewish) has said that the character is Jewish because "when I was covering the drug trade for 13 years for the Sun, most of the major drug lawyers were Jewish" and that "Anyone who is anyone in law enforcement in Baltimore knows the three or four guys Maury Levy is patterned on."[3] Levy is also heard throughout the series saying words in Yiddish at times (most notably referring to Clay Davis as a Ganef, the Yiddish translation for Thief) and is referred to by Avon's sister Brianna as "that Jew lawyer" confirming his character's religion on the show. It is said that his character is meant to be an opposite of the show's other most frequently occurring Jewish character Rhonda Pearlman who is a conscientious prosecutor unlike Levy, a venal and amoral defense attorney.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Character profile - Maurice "Maury" Levy. HBO (2004). Retrieved on 2006-07-24.
  2. Org Chart - The Street. HBO (2004). Retrieved on 2006-07-22.
  3. Curt Schleier (2006). ‘Wire’ creator finds a muse on the streets of Baltimore. jewishsf.com. Retrieved on 2006-12-28.

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