The Wire Season 3 Episode 7: Back Burners

The Wire Season 3 Episode 7: Back Burners Churches and church people make rare appearances in The Wire. That Simon and company created a character known simply as Deacon speaks to the iconic nature of the role. Played by Melvin Williams, the Deacon is introduced in Episode 2, when ex-con Cutty Wise (Chad Coleman) goes looking for some help to get on his feet. When Deacon tells him the road back into law-abiding society includes earning the GED, Cutty says he ain't about that and leaves. Four episodes later, he admits he ain't about the drug game either and so he returns to Deacon with an idea to be of some use to the children who have been abandoned to the corners. Williams is the epitome of stalwart integrity. In a later episode, Deacon visits Hamsterdam and is aghast at what is being permitted to happen in the "free zone." He confonts the free zone's creator Major Colvin (Robert Wisdom) about what he's seen and the normally indomitable policeman is chastened and contrite. Williams was not an actor before Simon cast him as Deacon. Previously, he was a drug kingpin in Baltimore. In fact, the character of Avon Barksdale was modeled after Williams.

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