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|Season five cast|
|No. of starring cast members||24|
|Previous||Season four cast|
|Main article: Cast|
The season five cast included 24 starring cast members and many guest stars. This season has the largest starring ensemble in the series history. There were 21 starring cast members in the fourth season and there were 6 departures and 9 additions for the fifth season. There were many regular guest stars, many recurring guest stars, and many single episde guest stars. There were also many performers with uncredited roles.
The fifth season starring cast numbers 24 actors and actresses making it the largest starring ensemble in the series history. 6 of the 21 fourth season starring cast members left the starring cast. Nine new starring cast members joined for the fifth season. The fifth season starring cast consists of:
Returning starring cast members include Dominic West, Reg E. Cathey, John Doman, Aidan Gillen, Deirdre Lovejoy, Clarke Peters, Wendell Pierce, Sonja Sohn, Lance Reddick, Andre Royo, Seth Gilliam, Domenick Lombardozzi, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jamie Hector and Corey Parker Robinson. West portrays troubled detective Jimmy McNulty. Cathey returns as political consultant Norman Wilson. Doman reprises the role of careerist Deputy Commissioner William Rawls. Gillen plays struggling Mayor Tommy Carcetti. Lovejoy appears as ascendant Assistant State's Attorney Rhonda Pearlman. Peters portrays veteran investigator Lester Freamon. Pierce portrays longtime homicide detective Bunk Moreland. Sohn reprises the character of natural investigator Kima Greggs. Reddick plays Colonel Cedric Daniels, the rising star of the police department. Royo plays tragic recovering drug addict Reginald "Bubbles" Cousins. Gilliam portrays Western District Sergeant in charge Ellis Carver. Lombardozzi depicts Thomas "Herc" Hauk pursuing a new career path. Williams will return as legendary underworld figure Omar Little. Hector reprises his role as chilling drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield. Robinson returns as Leander Sydnor, a respected young detective.
New additions to the starring cast include Clark Johnson, Tom McCarthy, Gbenga Akkinagbe, Neal Huff, Michelle Paress, Jermaine Crawford, Tristan Wilds, Michael Kostroff and Isiah Whitlock, Jr. Johnson plays Augustus "Gus" Haynes the principled editor of the city desk of the Baltimore Sun. He is joined in the newsroom by two other new stars; Michelle Paress and Tom McCarthy play young reporters Alma Guttierez and Scott Templeton. Huff reprises his role as Mayor Carcetti's chief of staff Michael Steintorf having previously appeared as a guest star at the end of the fourth season. Crawford and Wilds join the starring cast as young corner boys Duquan Weems and Michael Lee respectively, both having had a large role throughout season four. Akkinagbe continues to portray Stanfield Organization enforcer Chris Partlow who recurred throughout the third and fourth season. Two other actors also join the starring cast having previously portrayed their corrupt characters as guest stars - Michael Kostroff as defence attorney Maurice Levy and Isiah Washington, Jr. as senator Clay Davis.
Reg E. Cathey’s credit has moved up to the start with the credits in alphabetical order (after West) instead of the section where two or more names appear at a time.
Fourth season stars no longer appearing in the starring credits include Frankie Faison (Commissioner Ervin Burrell), Jim True-Frost (teacher Roland Pryzbylewski), Robert Wisdom (retired police officer Howard Colvin), Chad L. Coleman (community boxing trainer Dennis Wise), Glynn Turman (ex-Mayor Clarence Royce) and JD Williams (murdered drug dealer Bodie Broadus).
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