The Wire

Melvin Wagstaff

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The Wire Cheese

Cheese, a drug dealing lieutenant, played by Method Man (Clifford Smith)

Melvin "Cheese" Wagstaff is the favorite nephew of Proposition Joe and a crew chief in his Eastside drug crew. Cheese is played by Method Man.


Cheese supplied Ziggy Sobotka with a narcotics package and, when he could not return its value, torched his car and threatened to kill him. Nick Sobotka and La La intervened on Ziggy's behalf but could only convince Cheese to give Ziggy more time. Cheese was forced to back down when Nick involved The Greek (Proposition Joe's suppliers). Cheese subsequently moved into Barksdale territory following an agreement with Stringer Bell, starting a rivalry with Bodie Broadus. Avon Barksdale unaware of the agreement, hired Brother Mouzone, who promptly shot Cheese in the arm and forced him to retreat.

In Season three, Cheese was one of the major case unit's first targets as a possible route to Proposition Joe himself. Cheese avoided their surveillance efforts through disciplined use of his subordinates to make phone calls and only discussing business face to face, and was quickly promoted to supplying other dealers.

Cheese kept a pet pit bull and participated in underground dog fights. When his dog lost a fight, Cheese shot it rather than seek treatment for its injuries. Cheese's soldier Triage suggested that Dazz, his opponent, may have cheated with another dealer, Jelly. Triage killed Jelly which triggered two further deaths and a short war between the rival crews. The major case unit arrested Jelly and Triage in the process of preparing for yet another skirmish. The unit mistakenly presumed Cheese was using code words to discuss a murder when they overheard him on a tapped phone describing how he shot his dog. After arresting Cheese, the unit interrogators revealed their faulty wiretap evidence to him in an effort to force his confession. Once the unit realized Cheese had been talking literally about killing an animal, he was released and promptly relayed his newfound knowledge of a wiretap program to his uncle, who alerted the gang to change their communications strategies to thwart further investigation.

In Season four, Cheese remained a trusted member of Proposition Joe's inner circle. He acted as the go-between, supplying Joe's drugs to the various other Baltimore dealers in the Co-op, including Marlo Stanfield, and also picked up the drug deliveries from agents of The Greek. Omar Little tracked Cheese from Proposition Joe's office to one of these delivery sites during a major drop and stole the entire Baltimore heroin supply. When Omar sold the drugs back to Joe, Cheese seemed more angry than Joe himself.

Cheese is the biological father of Randy Wagstaff, according to series creator David Simon. While Randy and Cheese never meet or refer to one another on the show, Simon has stated that he intended to reveal this fact in Season 5 but was forced by time constraints to cut the scene or scenes establishing the relationship.[1]


Season two

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 three

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 four

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

Season 5 appearances
"More with Less" "Unconfirmed Reports" "Not for Attribution" "Transitions" "React Quotes"
"The Dickensian Aspect" "Took" "Clarifications" "Late Editions" "–30–"


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