Lester Freamon
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Lester Freamon

The Wire

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About Him

Living… in Baltimore. A veteran of the Vietnam War, Freamon worked in the homicide unit of the Baltimore Police Department until he crossed the Deputy Commissioner. In order to get back at Freamon, the Deputy Commissioner reassigned him to the pawnshop unit, where he worked for 13 years.

Profession… police officer – and a damn good one! After over a decade of languishing in the pawnshop unit, he was finally reassigned to the Major Crimes Unit, where he proved an unexpected and invaluable asset to the investigation of the Avon Barksdale and Marlo Stanfield drug organizations. As Freamon’s colleague Bunk Moreland says, Lester is “natural police.”

Interests… building miniature dollhouse furniture. Freamon took up such an eccentric hobby to alleviate the monotony of the pawnshop unit. Detective Jimmy McNulty makes fun of him for it, but the miniatures sell extremely well and give Freamon a hefty supplement to his modest police salary.

Relationship Status… dating Shardene Innes. Shardene used to dance for Orlando’s, a strip club that laundered money for the Barksdale organization. Freamon exhibits previously unseen warmth as he coaxes Shardene into becoming an informant for the Major Crimes Unit. His warmth is no manipulative police trick; he takes a genuine shine to her.

Challenge… dealing with the politics of policework. Freamon wants only to take down criminals—all the more difficult when the criminals he’s chasing happen to be politicians. It was a case with political ties that originally got him demoted to the pawnshop unit. When working for the Major Crimes Unit, Freamon unleashes a flurry of subpoenas for the investigation of state senator Clay Davis, whom he suspects of having financial ties to drug organizations. Deputy Commissioner Rawls summons him and delivers an ultimatum: if the case continues, he says, he will bring down the hammer on not only Freamon but Freamon’s co-workers, Detectives Greggs and Sydnor.

Personality… intelligent, understated, and old school. He sees detective work as a pure, philosophical pursuit. He appreciates the process of acquiring and assembling the pieces of the puzzle, and he has a short fuse when something or someone disrupts the sanctity of the process. His colleagues look at him and see raw police intuition. His superiors often see only “brash, tweedy impertinence.” 

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