A 19-year-old man named Omar Little was arrested on a handgun charge over the weekend. This would be a minor news story, if not for three important facts: The arrest occurred in Baltimore. HBO’s “The Wire” was set in Baltimore. And an iconic character named Omar Little was on “The Wire.”
Eagle-eyed Baltimore Sun crime reporter Justin Fenton picked up on the arrest, tweeted it and inadvertently started a viral phenomenon, as the story has been picked up by Web sites including Vulture and the Onion’s A.V. Club. “Wire” fans love nothing more than to share stories that suggest the excellent HBO drama was even more authentic than any of us initially realized. (For other examples, please see the real-life arrest of Felicia “Snoop” Pearson last March, which happened after she played a character named Snoop on “The Wire,” which happened after she was discovered in a Baltimore club by Michael K. Williams, the fine actor who played — still with me? — Omar Little.)
“Wire” creator David Simon told Fenton that the fictional Omar Little has no link to Omar Little Jr., the aforementioned arrested 19-year-old. The similarity is “coincidence, completely,” he said.
Interestingly, Fenton discovered that Omar Little Sr., father of Omar Jr., has a criminal record as well, sadly. He also did some additional research and found out that there is one other Omar Little walking the Baltimore area’s streets who is 40 years old and not a criminal. We hope that his investigation into the existence of a detective James McNulty is forthcoming.
Also, we’ve concluded that it’s only a matter of time before the name Stringer Bell bubbles up in connection with some major Baltimore real estate transaction. And when it does, I hope someone tells that Bell — no relation to Idris Elba, of course — to watch his back.