Was Omar Really Originally Meant to be Killed Off in the First Season of The Wire?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Omar was going to be killed off during Season 1 of The Wire.

Omar Little, played by Michael K. Williams, was one of the most interesting characters on The Wire, which is saying a lot, as The Wire is FILLED with interesting characters.

Omar is also caught up in a bit of a legend that started due to…Michael Williams!

Williams has given interviews that said that Omar was originally intended to be killed off at the end of Season 1, but the show’s head, David Simon, decided he liked Williams’ portrayal of Omar so much that he changed his mind and kept him for the rest of the series (practically).

Is it true, though?

Simon explained in a brilliant interview that Alan Sepinwall did with Simon that it was all a misunderstanding on Williams’ part:

It came from some early interviews that Michael (K. Williams) did. I’ve never corrected him, because he wasn’t saying it (out of bad intentions). I think he got a little confused in this regard: In the first season we told him he’s only doing seven episodes. That’s as many as we needed. We said, it was seven and we didn’t know if there was work to be had next year, because we didn’t know if we’d be renewed. And I think he took that to believe he was going to be killed after seven.

If the show continued, Omar was going to return. No, he was not going to die in that shoot-out. There was nothing to suggest that we didn’t have some fundamental plan for him. Nor did we write more to the character because of how well Michael played him. Omar was going to have to exist for narrative purposes throughout. Did we write the lines a little differently? Did we enjoy a moment or two that Michael could give us that another actor couldn’t? Absolutely. That’s what you do. that’s the biofeedback that goes on when the dailies come back and you see what you have. The idea that he was going to be killed off and he marched his way back in the show, I think he just misunderstood when we told him, ‘You only have seven this year.’

That’s about as definitive of an answer as you can get, no?

So I’m saying that the legend is…


Thanks to David Simon for the information and thanks to Alan Sepinwall for GETTING that information!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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