Ellis Carver
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Ellis Carver

The Wire

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About Him

Living… in Baltimore, ever since he was born. Carver grew up in the Flag House Court projects and now patrols the streets for the Baltimore Police Department with his partner Thomas “Herc” Hauk. Together they form – according to them anyway – the most formidable crime-fighting duo since Crockett and Tubbs from Miami Vice.

Profession… police officer. Carver is eager to make rank, and he bounces around between districts and positions, from narcotics cop to traffic cop, from Western to Southeastern, before finally making sergeant. Carver has a fondness for busting corner boys’ heads, but as he learns in time, “You can’t bust every head. If you bust every head, who you gonna talk to when the sh-- happens?” 

Interests… hanging out with Herc; playing good cop-bad cop with Herc; making fun of Herc.

Relationship Status… in a bromantic relationship with Herc. Carver and Herc’s friendship blossomed over the course of countless hours spent in their car while on surveillance duty. Carver is perhaps more reflective and a bit smarter than Herc, but ultimately they are cut from similar cloth.

Challenge… whether to make petty arrests for the stats, or to pursue real cases. Carver broods over the nature of the war on drugs and his role within that war. “You can't even think of calling this... a war,” he says. “Wars end.” Carver forms personal relationships with many of the drug dealers he surveys, in particular Bodie Broadus, a smart and tenacious young soldier for the Barksdale organization. As Carver observes Bodie take a baseball bat to a rival dealer, he tells Herc, “See, that's why we can't win. They [screw] up, they get beat. We [screw] up, they give us pensions.”

Personality… personable, reasonable and still capable of (and interested in) growth. Carver is a talented policeman, though in his early years he was susceptible to making rash and unethical decisions, in part due to Herc’s influence. Carver matures in time to become much like Major Daniels, a boss with whom he once butted heads. As Carver prepares to assume supervision of several young cops, Daniels offers him a few words of wisdom: “All of them will take their cue from you. You show loyalty, they learn loyalty. You show them it's about the work, it'll be about the work. You show them some other kinda game, then that's the game they'll play… Comes a day you're gonna have to decide whether it's about you or about the work.” Carver comes to believe it’s about the work.

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