Stringer Bell
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Stringer Bell

The Wire

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About Him

Living… in a posh Baltimore apartment overlooking the Inner Harbor. Based on his home it’s easy to think of Stringer Bell as a tenured professor at Johns Hopkins rather than someone who sells drugs for a living. But it’s true – Stringer and his childhood friend Avon Barksdale have turned a once-modest drug-dealing ring into a West Baltimore drug empire.

Profession… second-in-command in the Barksdale drug organization. While Avon’s strategy is more or less to expand his territory via force, his chief lieutenant Stringer hopes to maximize profits by applying economic theory to the operation. He takes a macroeconomics class at the local community college and reads Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, and frequently explains economic principles to his dealers. Stringer doesn’t think about the Barksdale operation as a criminal conspiracy – he wants to run it like a “true business.” Stringer holds his associates to a high standard, and if they fail to meet that standard that temper is liable to explode. 

Interests… the tastes and manners of the respectable classes. Stringer does not want to be perceived as a common criminal, so he carries and dresses himself in the style of any successful businessman.

Relationship Status… usually single.Stringer isn’t much preoccupied with the fairer sex, though he is a tall, handsome, and powerful man who could have just about any woman of his choosing. He briefly enters a relationship with Donnette, who was once mixed up with Avon’s nephew, D’Angelo.

Challenge… becoming a legitimate businessman. Stringer endeavors to leave the drug trade behind by developing real estate in downtown Baltimore. Stringer is a smart man, but his lack of understanding of the dynamics of the real estate business  – and dirty politicians and contractors – leaves him vulnerable. Also, it doesn’t help that Avon doesn’t want to become legitimate – he just wants to sell drugs.

Personality… confident, refined and ambitious, but also dangerous. You don’t get to the top of a Baltimore drug organization without being tough, but the smooth, educated Stringer is also just plain cool.

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