Proposition Joe Stewart

Proposition Joe Stewart

The Wire

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About Him

Grew Up… in East Baltimore, where he attended Dunbar High alongside future police commissioner Ervin Burrell. Ever the opportunist, young Joe would acquire test answers and approach prospective buyers with his catchphrase, “I’ve got a proposition for you.” This was the genesis of the nickname that would stay with him for the rest of his life. 

Living… seemingly out of his East Baltimore appliance store, where he conducts the day-to-day business of his flourishing drug operation. Joe has a knack for self- preservation in what is a volatile and violent line of work. He never talks on the phone and he is a promoter of peace – not for its own intrinsic good, but because it is good for business.

Profession… leader of the New Day Co-Op, an economic alliance amongst Baltimore drug lords. Joe provides his New Day associates with product in bulk at a cheap rate. In exchange, they agree to tone down violence, which attracts much more police scrutiny than the drug trade itself. It is his aversion to conflict that has kept Prop Joe alive and out of jail.

Interests… money and the logistics of business. Prop Joe loves brokering truces and offering business propositions. He’ll do it all while sporting a nifty bowling shirt.

Challenge… convincing up-and-coming drug lord Marlo Stanfield to buy into his vision for a prosperous citywide drug trade. Marlo is not one for compromise. His aggressive expansion onto the territory of New Day Co-Op member Avon Barksdale results in an extended bloody turf war. Joe says of the violent Stansfield, “It ain’t easy civilizing this [one].”

Personality… laid-back, jolly, and cautious. Prop Joe’s signature pose – hands in pockets, a blank expression on his face ­– exudes pure calm. But underneath the veneer of the Zen master is a very shrewd businessman. He’s constantly observing, triangulating interpersonal dynamics and calculating how to maximize his leverage. Prop Joe may prefer hashing out differences through civil discourse, but when push comes to shove, he is not above lies, deceit, and violence.

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