Clay Davis

Clay Davis

The Wire

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About Him

Living… between Baltimore and Annapolis, where he serves on the Maryland state legislature. Though he seems less concerned with passing legislation than raising money and taking bribes from anyone willing to cough them up. Davis lives in a fortress of personal wealth and political security, and he won’t stop shoring it up until it is more impenetrable as Fort Knox.

Profession… state senator. In one of his many acts as a sworn public servant, Davis takes bribes for government contracts from drug kingpin Stringer Bell of the Barksdale organization, who seeks to legitimize their operation by developing downtown properties. Bell is working in unfamiliar territory, and thus is susceptible to Davis’ chicanery. As Bell’s lawyer Maurice Levy tells him, Davis was, “born with his hand in someone's pocket.”

Interests… attending fundraising parties, referring to everyone as “partner,” and elongating swear words (especially the one that starts with “s”) for several seconds at a time. Davis has a particularly foul mouth when he’s not around his constituents or political donors. And sometimes even when he is.

Relationship Status… devoted to the almighty dollar. Whoever his wife is, if he has one, he could not possibly love her more than he loves money. Money is money is money. For him, context is irrelevant. Where it comes from is irrelevant. As he explains: “You think I have time to ask a man why he giving me money? Or where he gets his money from? I'll take [anyone’s] money if he givin' it away!”

Challenge… covering his tracks and keeping his dirty laundry a secret. Over the course of the police investigation of the Barksdale drug empire, detective Lester Freamon shifts gears from following the dope to following the money. For a fee, Davis serves as Barksdale’s discreet “liaison” in the government. Freamon’s scrutiny could mean the end of Davis’ career. Mayor Clarence Royce, his chief political ally, can only protect him so much.

Personality… charming and affable in public, but hotheaded in private. At first glance, Davis is a concerned and dutiful politician. But this demeanor is but a projection that disguises the devious apparatus within, the constantly scheming contraption, with no moral center to be found. When it comes to manipulation, Davis is second to none. 

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