Roland Pryzbylewski
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Roland Pryzbylewski

The Wire

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About Him

Living… the business-casual life, the button-down-shirt-and-khakis life in Baltimore. Prez is a workingman in his early 30s. He is “Roland” only to his family and “Prez” to everybody else. “Roland” is too noble for him.

Profession… a Baltimore cop, and then a middle school teacher. Prez and then Mr. Prezbo. He is a much better teacher than cop. His students openly disrespect and disobey him at first, but he eventually gains their respect with his patience and willingness to let them learn on their own terms: “Trick them into thinking they aren't learning, and they do.”

Interests… puzzles and problem solving of all kinds. You can always find Prez hunched over a crossword puzzle—that is, when he’s not too busy piecing together the puzzle of Baltimore’s criminal empires.

Relationship Status… married to Joan, the daughter of police commander Stan Valchek. Ornery doesn’t begin to describe Valchek, but he repeatedly vouches for his son-in-law even as Prez suffers frequent bouts of incompetence. It is Valchek who assigns Prez to the investigation of drug kingpin Avon Barksdale.

Challenge… not being a horrible cop. Prez makes eyes roll wherever he goes. He accidentally shoots the office wall his first day on the Barksdale detail. He shoots his own squad car and reports he’s under fire, and jeopardizes the department’s reputation when he pistol whips a kid who gives him lip. It was only a matter of time before Daniels, leader of the Barksdale detail, assigned him to desk duty. But it is on desk duty, under the tutelage of veteran cop Lester Freamon, where Prez shows a knack for breaking codes and following the paper trail. It is on desk duty where he finds his police legs for the first time.

Personality… kind-hearted, yet incompetent when it comes to street-level police work. Prez is a good guy, but sometimes he tries too hard to act like a big man, which gets him stuck in truly undesirable situations. Everyone knows that he’s just not cut out to be a street cop; even he knows it. “’Failure to properly identify myself as a police officer,’” he says, reflecting on his most recent incident. “Sounds like what I was guilty of most of my career, actually.” 

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