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The Wire

The Deacon

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  • Played by: Melvin Williams
  • Appears in
Season three: "All Due Respect"; "Straight and True"; "Back Burners"; "Moral Midgetry"; "Slapstick"; "Reformation";
Season four: "Home Rooms;" "Margin of Error;" "That's Got His Own."

The Deacon is a West Side church figure who is involved in many community projects. He also has many contacts within the city’s academic population. He is a friend of teacher Grace Sampson and helps her ex-boyfriend Dennis "Cutty" Wise when he is released after a long prison sentence. Initially he tries to encourage Cutty to enroll in a GED program, but Cutty is not interested in this idea. The deacon then helps Cutty to open a community boxing gym. He puts Cutty in touch with State Delegate Odell Watkins through the politically influential Reverend Frank Reid to help with obtaining the necessary permits for the gym. He also helps Cutty to get a paying job working as a school custodian at Edward Tilghman Middle, where Grace teaches the eighth grade.

The Deacon is also friends with Howard "Bunny" Colvin. When Colvin was Western District police commander the Deacon often served as his conscience. Colvin started three drug tolerant zones in his district and the deacon was dismayed at the poor conditions addicts faced in these areas and convinced Colvin to involve public health academics in providing services for the addicts now he had gathered them into an easy to reach area. Colvin was forced to retire because of his actions and the deacon found him a new job working with a sociologist in studying the prevention of repeat violent offender behaviour.

In his youth Melvin Williams, the actor who plays the Deacon, was a real-life drug kingpin who was arrested by series writer Ed Burns in 1984 when he was a Baltimore city police officer.[1] Creator David Simon was responsible for covering the arrest for The Baltimore Sun at the time.[2] Williams received a 34 year sentence for his crimes and much of the evidence agaisnt him came from a wiretap investigation like the one featured in the first season of the show.[2]


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