You'd be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of 'The Wire' than me. The writing was superlative; amongst the very best ever.

Having said that, I always struggled with Detective Leander Sydnor's character. I mean really, what was the point? I'm sure that Corey Parker Robinson loved being on the show (and I'm sure that he loved the paycheck and royalties that came with it), but for me, Sydnor's character did absolutely nothing to advance the plot of the show!

My Question:

  • Can anyone explain the character motivation behind Detective Leander Sydnor's character?

4 Answers 4


I agree that the character does not have a well defined stance or feel like many of the other cast. I see him as a comrade to the crew, helping and digging in with the rest. Near the end he becomes more and more stronger on his views of justice. I also think that at the end of the series the analogy is made between the beginning of the Wire with McNulty+Judge and Sydnor+Judge. The character had a long, slow evolution, maybe some sort of a learning curve in the shadow of the other characters but he ended at a place where you feel as a viewer some sort of continuation is happening.


I really liked Sydnor, so perhaps I am a bit biased. David Simon confirmed that Sydnor represented the few hardworking, talented, and dedicated members of the force. He was an actual good guy, and in ordinary circumstances (i.e. without a self-involved, glory seeking, corrupt group of individuals more concerned about their own career progression who keep the dirty secrets of incompetent fools) Sydnor is someone who should've had his talents recognized and he should been promoted to a position of authority and influence so that his good deeds were passed on to up and coming officers and lieutenants. Therefore. Sydnor was a symbol for what the police force in Baltimore could've been if the right people were around him, and the right things were being done.

  • I agree, he represents the good police. That's why it took a lot of effort to recruit him into the detail in the first place because the other commander also knew this. He's one of the few good ones - all the rest are like Herc and (early) Carver - boys with power.
    – Ritchie
    Mar 13, 2018 at 15:57

Sydnor, as you see in the final episode, turns into McNulty.

Sydnor was meant to be seen as Jimmy McNulty.

Remember the final episode showed the "origin".

  • Michael - The new Omar
  • Dukwon - The new Bubbles
  • Sydnor - The new McNulty
  • Carver - Any middle management (Burell etc...)
  • Kima - the new Daniels (I'm not totally sure about this, but that's how I see it)
  • Not agree with the Karver and Kima part. I think that Carver might be the future Daniels, and Kima might be the future Bunk. May 21, 2020 at 13:24
  • I think Carver is intended to be the new Coleman.
    – dgo
    May 18, 2021 at 5:41
  • Shit. I meant Colvin
    – dgo
    May 20, 2021 at 18:35

I think Sydnor is, in a way, supposed to represent the viewer. Over the course of five seasons, we learn nothing about his past, his personal life, or his ambitions. He is both figuratively and often times literally a passenger in the vehicle driven by Lester, McNulty and the rest of the police crew, just as we, the audience, are.

What's interesting is that Sydnor becomes progressively more active in the show's quest for justice all the way up until the point at which he becomes the 'next' McNulty in the show's final montage. I can only assume that David Simon would hope his viewers undergo a similar progression while watching the show. During the ride that is The Wire, we, like Sydnor, witness firsthand the corruption, crime, and immorality that lays waist to Baltimore's poor. By the end of it, maybe we, too, will find ourselves bending the rules in the name of justice.

Sydnor is a call to action, a plea from Simon that you didn't just watch the show for nothing.

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