The Wire is bursting with fantastic characters, and that’s one of the reasons many dub it TV’s greatest drama. McNulty, Bunk, and Stringer Bell all shine, but none steal the show like Omar Little. Brilliantly portrayed by Michael Kenneth Williams, Omar is one of TV’s greatest anti-heroes and is a dangerous man who lives by his own code, much like a character from a spaghetti Western. A chilling whistle of a children’s nursery rhyme lets you know that “Omar comin,” and this means you best get out the way, as he is coming with his double-barreled shotgun and he certainly won’t hesitate to use it.
10. “Spread the word, darlin’. Omar back!”
One thing’s for sure, if you are a street level drug dealer and Omar is in town, then you are in trouble. The streets felt much safer when everyone believed that Omar was gone and they did not have to worry about hearing his trademark whistle. But when he “came back from the dead” (which was really just New York), he uttered this gem in an effort to get the word out that he was back in town. This occurred in Episode 3 of Season 2, “Hot Shots.” In this episode, Omar returns to Baltimore after last being seen at the end of Season 1 in New York. He has returned with a new boyfriend named Dante, and they stake out a stash house to potentially rip off. They are beaten to it, but tail the thieves back to their hideout where he announces his dramatic return and takes their haul.
9. “I suppose we could. Or settle this once and forever.”
There is no doubt that Omar Little is a modern day cowboy. He is an anti-hero who lives by his own code, plus he has tons of great one liners which would fit perfectly into a Sergio Leone Western or a blockbuster action flick. The scene in which this brilliant line occurs feels very much like a homage to these Western films, as it happens during a tense stand off between Omar and Brother Mouzone. This fantastic scene occurs in Season 3 in the episode “Middle Ground.” During this season, Brother Mouzone captures Omar’s boyfriend, Dante, and forces him to reveal Omar’s hiding place. In the episode, Brother Mouzone tracks down Omar and they have this tense standoff. However, they then meet in the “middle ground” to pursue a common goal – taking down Stringer Bell.
8. “But the game is out there, and it’s either play or get played”
Omar frequently references “the game” throughout the course of the show. With this quote he is saying that if you are not playing the game, then things will not work out for you and you will be taken advantage of or maybe even killed. Omar is, certainly, playing the game and does so according to his own set of rules. He delivers this excellent quote in one of the top Omar episodes – Season 1’s “Lessons.” In this episode, Omar delivers a few lessons and this one comes when Omar is brought in by police for questioning after the wiretap implicates him in Stinkum’s murder. Omar denies involvement and is unapologetic about his actions, and the detectives have to let him go.
7. “Omar don’t scare.”
There are not many people who can get away with speaking in third person, but Omar Little is one of them. Although he can often be philosophical and even poetic, he can also be blunt and to the point. He is the latter here, and this lack of fear is evident throughout the entire show. He establishes this from the get go, and delivers this quote in the episode “The Wire” from Season 1. Omar is so feared by the criminals and drug dealers on the streets, that he is practically untouchable. This means that he can do anything he likes, which could even be talking to the police. Instead of being scared, it is certainly Omar who does the scaring. This is evident with the warning “Omar comin!” that is said anytime that they hear his trademark whistle (“The Farmer in the Dell”).
6. “It ain’t what you takin’, it’s who you takin’ from, ya feel me? How you expect to run with the wolves come night when you spend all day sparring with puppies.”
Unlike the majority of characters who work on the street corners, Omar is philosophical and even poetical at times. As established on this list, Omar doesn’t scare and instead even the toughest thugs on the streets fear Omar and wouldn’t dare get in his way. In this quote from Season 4’s “Home Rooms,” Omar simply leaves his house to buy some cereal. But because of his reputation, a frightened dealer drops his stash for Omar. Omar then tells his boyfriend that he does not want the drugs because he put in no effort, and he fears that he will go soft if he robs easy targets (puppies).
5. “I got the shotgun. You got the briefcase. It’s all in the game though, right?”
There are not as many characters that are as smart and sharp as Omar. This is made even more apparent in episode “All Prologue” in Season 2. During his court appearance in the Bird murder trial, Omar very calmly reveals his occupation whilst giving a false testimony. He is characterized as being a violent criminal and parasite by Maurice Levy, Bird’s attorney, but Omar then flips the script on the attorney with this excellent quote. With this subtle jab, he is stating how they both make money off the drugs and violence in Baltimore. Everyone has their way of profiting though, and the only difference is that Omar makes his money with a shotgun, while Levy does it with a briefcase. This is all part of the game. With his wit and honesty, Omar manages to win over the courtroom and diminishes Levy’s credibility.
4. “Man, money ain’t got no owners, only spenders”
A philosophical quote here, which is delivered by Omar in one of his most dramatic and dangerous moments – robbing Marlo Stanfield (a ruthless drug kingpin) right in the middle of a poker game. Marlo argues that the money is his own, but Omar clearly has different views on money and ownership. This occurs during Episode 4 of Deason 4, “Refugees.” In addition to taking Marlo’s money at the poker game, Omar also makes a point by taking his large (and probably valuable) ring. In retaliation, Marlo frames Omar for murdering an innocent citizen (something outside of his code), and this ignites a hatred between the two. This proves to be a costly rivalry, but there is no denying the brilliance of the quote and the bravery of Omar to rob Marlo in the middle of a poker game.
3. “A man gotta have a code.”
As established, a key reason that Omar is an audience favorite is that he has some morals and lives by a code (as well as his trademark lines and brilliant quotes). For Omar, this code involves only harming and robbing from drug dealers and leaving innocent people out of it. This is seen often, as Omar is frequently kind and law abiding to regular citizens, and even taking his Gran to church on Sundays. Omar also does not curse, which is very rare for any character in the show. Omar uses this phrase in the episode “Wire” from Season 4. He says it to Bunk, in a a reference to a lecture that Bunk gave to Omar back to an earlier season. In this scene, Omar is reaching out to the police to use his “get out of jail free” card after being owed a favor for testifying against Bird.
2. “All in the game yo, all in the game.”
Throughout the series, Omar frequently makes reference to “the game” and this is a key part of what The Wire is all about. This “game” surrounds the drug trade and the roles that everyone has within it. For Omar, who lives by a strict code, his part of the game is robbing from drug dealers and criminals, but never from the innocent. This quote comes from the dramatic end to the first season, in the episode “Sentencing.” Prior to this, Omar had been chased out of Baltimore after attempting to enact revenge on the Barksdale Organization for killing his boyfriend. In this episode, we find Omar in the South Bronx in the final scene, and he delivers this quote as we find him doing what he does best — robbing a drug dealer. Of course, Omar would find his way back to Baltimore soon.
1. “You come at the king, you best not miss.”
Perhaps the most famous quote from the entire show, this is a phrase which has now permeated popular culture in general. It is another gem from the Season 1 episode “Lessons” and it’s certainly one lesson that is not forgotten after watching the action unfold. Earlier in the episode, Omar watches from his hiding space as Avon Barksdale’s henchmen Wee-Bey, Stinkum, and Savino raid his apartment and torch his van. Later, Wee-Bey and Stinkum prepare to hit Scar’s corner, but Omar then emerges from the shadows to exact his revenge. He shoots and kills Stinkum and wounds Wee-Bey by shooting him in the leg. Wee-Bey manages to hide behind a car, and then hears Omar’s familiar and chilling whistle. Omar then delivers this fantastic and hard hitting line, as Wee-Bey looks around desperately trying to locate his assailant. Lesson learnt.