The Wire

Odell Watkins

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Odell Watkins is a State Delegate, played by Frederick Strother.

Watkins is a longtime major Baltimore political figure and a wheelchair user. Watkins is a member of the influential State Appropriations Committee with strong voter influence and is known as a kingmaker. Watkins is also the moral voice of authority among the Baltimore politicians as he has full support of the religious leaders, looks to address the concerns of the citizens in an ethical and representable way, and is most critical of politicians prone to bribes and corruption.

In season three, Watkins backs Marla Daniels' campaign for the Western district council seat. Watkins believes that Eunetta Perkins, the council woman Marla aims to unseat, has become disinterested in the job. Initially, Mayor Royce resists, as Perkins was loyal to him. However, when he needs Watkins' support after a controversy involving Major Colvin legalizing drugs, Royce agrees to support Daniels. Watkins is disappointed, feeling that Royce should have decisively fired Police Commissioner Ervin Burrell over the scandal. Royce claims that firing Burrell though would only fuel fire aimed towards city hall given the reasoning for the "Hamsterdam" fallout. Watkins also connects Daniels with Dennis Wise, helping the former criminal to open a boxing gym for local children in her district.

Watkins becomes further disillusioned after working with Royce's political rival Tommy Carcetti to secure funds for witness protection, and asking the mayor to match the funds. The mayor ignores their proposal, and Carcetti uses this against Royce in a debate after another witness is killed in the fourth season. Watkins, Carcetti, and Marla Daniels all attend the funeral of the murdered witness.

Watkins splits from Royce once and for all after he notices that Royce's campaign staff only has Daniels on his ticket in districts where she is strong, and has her opponent Eunetta Perkins in the same position in districts where Daniels is weaker. He is also angered by Royce's immorality in supporting corrupt developers and politicians (such as Clay Davis). Furthermore, Watkins claims that as Royce has "gotten into bed with every developer," he has forgotten his roots in helping the city's African American community and is covering it up by Marcus Garvey posters in his campaign. He angrily confronts Royce about his failure to keep his word and told him he would no longer support him sitting out of the primary. Carcetti learns of Royce's failure to keep Watkins trust through the police security detailed to protect the mayor as Deputy Rawls is looking to help the mayoral candidate who will do the right things with the PD. Carcetti appeals to Watkins to support him and become a guiding voice in his administration. Watkins' support on the campaign trail swings the tight primary to Carcetti's favor, and he easily goes on to become Mayor. Watkins' first piece of advice to Carcetti is that he would be unable to fire Burrell because of his race and Baltimore's African American majority of voters. Watkins at the same time agrees with the others in the administration that an out of town African American police commissioner should be sought as he has no confidence in Burrell either.[1]


  1. Character profile - Odell Watkins. HBO (2006). Retrieved on 2006-09-15.

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