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Prop Joe, RIP


Robert Chew, who played Prop Joe in The Wire, has passed. One of the greatest roles in one of the greatest television shows in history.

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  • mark f

    Look the part, be the part, motherfucker.

  • wjts

    Sad news. This bit was always my favorite, though “Look the part, be the part, motherfucker” comes awful close.

  • Shiiiit!

  • Jim Lynch

    I remember being bummed when the actor who played Jesus on Hill Street Blues was killed in a traffic accident.

    But I’ve yet to see The Wire, and have only heard raves about it. What made it so compelling?

    • Linnaeus

      It’s amazingly written and acted. The character development is outstanding; everyone is multi-faceted and it’s not a simple “good” vs. “bad” story. The main story thread deals with a group of Baltimore Police detectives and the drug crews they’re trying to bust, but the series deals with a lot of other aspects of urban life, politics, etc.. It really goes deep into sociopolitical themes, and Baltimore is a good setting because so much of what afflicts American cities can be found there. Poverty, crime, corruption, urban depopulation, economic change, etc. are all touched upon and the writers really weave all of those elements together very well.

      Some seasons are better than others, but I like them all. I would say it’s one of the top five American TV shows ever made. Easily.

      • Glad you replied, I was searching for something more articulate than that it is really, really good.

        • Season 4 is the most brilliant discussion of the challenges of public education in poor cities of the 21st century.

    • Warren Terra

      The humanity. Nobody is a raving psychopath, nobody is Galahad – or, to the extent they try to be either, you are shown how neither is real, how neither works. Outcomes aren’t certain, and aren’t necessarily solid or clear. And the writing and acting are incredible (Dominic Monaghan’s character and acting being perhaps a bit more controversial).

      • Linnaeus

        I think you mean Dominic West (Jimmy McNulty) or Domenick Lombardozzi (Thomas “Herc” Hauk).

        • Warren Terra

          Er, yes, Dominic West. Not sure where the other one came from. Herc isn’t my favorite character, but he doesn’t have the problems of McNulty.

          • Decrease Mather

            Dominic Monaghan’s had a heroin addiction, if I recall correctly.

    • snarkout

      What Linnaeus said. Also! Even though the realism of the show takes a sharp downward turn starting in season 3, the first four seasons are beautiful examples of show-don’t-tell moralizing. There are more good parts for African-American actors than any show in the history of television. Amazingly quotable dialogue from a handful of crimewriting greats (George Pelecanos, Richard Price, Denny Lehane) alongside Simon and his longtime collaborator Ed Burns.

      The first season stands on its own (and is I think the strongest season, although nods to season 4).

  • UberMitch

    Well, it was inevitable that Marlo would have to hit him eventually.

    • timb


  • Peter Hovde

    Just buy for a dollar, sell for two.

  • Matt

    When you read the obituary it seems a little cavalier to go on about “Prop Joe”. Prop Joe is a fictional character and lives forever. Robert Chew died. At 52.

    How good an actor was Robert Chew? Be honest, didn’t you figure he was one of the former dealers Simon sprinkled throughout the show? Didn’t you think the guy was just playing a version of himself?
    Read the obituary and you see what a great performance that was.

    Another great artist waiting til death before people start commenting on how great he actually was.

    I’m going to say nice things about Andre Royo today.

  • danah gaz

    RIP Chew. I loved your character, but Omar (Williams) is yummy.

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