"Omar! Omar!" some of the 100 fans assembled yelled at Michael K. Williams, better known as Omar Little, the bane of West Baltimore drug dealers, who, alas, bit the convenience-store dust a few Sundays ago. Instead of showing up with his customary long coat and shotgun, the actor was incongruously dressed in a vintage Boy Scout shirt. "I've been travelling a lot. This is what I had clean," he said.
Based on photo ops and fans amassed, Williams was the crowd favorite, despite his life of crime. This may have been the first time a vigilante was so celebrated in City Hall.
"I learned a lot from the series, what to do right and what not to do," the mayor said before the screening of his "favorite show of all time." Nutter penned a love letter to the show in yesterday's Inquirer.
The mayor stressed that he in no way resembles The Wire's fictional, opportunistic and severely unctuous Mayor Tommy Carcetti. "He is always focused on getting to the next place." Like the governorship?
"I only have my eye on the office around the corner," Nutter said.
"This parallels a lot of what we do," said Manwell Glenn, the city's assistant managing director, who is married to Sandra Dungee Glenn, chair of the School Reform Commission, who was hooting through the screening with obvious delight.
Deborah Seay, an educational consultant with 35 years in the city school district, said "I put the capital F in Fan." She's an old friend of the mayor's who was thrilled to be watching with the stars. Later, she asked the panel of nine actors "whether there was any possibility of making a movie, like they're doing with Sex and the City" - her other favorite - "then maybe you can save Dukie the way you did Bubbles."
Jermaine Crawford, the 15-year-old who played the troubled, homeless teen, was there with his father, Germantown-born Milton, and his mother, Wanda, as well as his music manager John Gore.
This would be distinct from his acting manager, who was not in attendance.
Clark Johnson, originally of West Philadelphia, had the dual distinction of directing and starring in last night's episode as heroic Baltimore Sun city editor Gus Haynes. "I'm the worst actor I've got," he said, bringing along one of his "30 first cousins in the area," Derrick Lee Sr., a school principal in Delaware.
Many of the cast members, who finished shooting in September, found the night bittersweet, an end to a stellar five-season acting project that produced a thorough portrait of a city ravaged by drugs, corruption and business as usual.
"Lester is the grown-up I want to be when I grow up," said Clark Peters, who played the smooth-talking wire expert Lester Freamon, whose career ends in flames.
Wendell Pierce, known as the can't-hold-his-beer Detective Bunk Moreland, was in attendance, though not with his customary cigar. He was the first to sign on for the movie night, and the most interested in continuing the Wire tradition.
In response to Seay's question about a movie, Pierce said he and Sonja Sohn, who played Detective Kima Greggs, "had secured financing and are hoping [series executive producer] David Simon and others will get on board."
Simon, who was in Los Angeles, addressed the assembled crowd via a video message before the screening. "I expect a key to the city of Philadelphia," said the producer and writer, who has been scathing in his view of his hometown Baltimore's corruption and crime, "because it will be a cold day in hell when I get one in Baltimore."
Had Mayor Mike's Movie Night not come together, "I would just be at home watching like everyone else."
But it did. And in introducing the evening, Nutter said "this is the beginning of other movie programs and, when the weather gets nicer, events in City Hall's courtyard," a political promise he expects to keep.
Contact staff writer Karen Heller at 215-854-2586 or firstname.lastname@example.org.