A little bit of history for you: David Simon’s original pitch to HBO for The Wire has emerged and been posted online.
Here’s how Stringer Bell was originally considered, for example:
STRINGY BELL – black, early forties, he is BARKSDALE’s most trusted lieutenant, supervising virtually every aspect of the organization. He is older than BARKSDALE, and much more direct in his way, but nonetheless he is the No. 2. He has BARKSDALE’s brutal sense of the world but not his polish. BELL is bright, but clearly a child of the projects he now controls.