Man who played Omar on ‘The Wire’ digs deep on personal issue

Michael Kenneth Williams, who has starred on HBO series The Wire and is currently on SundanceTV’s Hap and Leonard, gives reporting a shot in the new season of Vice on HBO. Williams, who played Omar Little on The Wire, investigates America’s juvenile justice system in the season premiere of Vice April 6 on HBO.

His segment is called “Raised in the System.” It offers “a frank and unflinching look at people caught up in the system, exploring why the country’s mass incarceration problem cannot be fixed without first addressing the juvenile justice problem, and investigates solutions communities are employing that are resulting in drastic drops in crime and incarceration,” according to HBO.

Having grown up in Brooklyn’s Vanderveer projects, Williams has experienced how family and close friends have been swept up in the criminal justice system at an early age. In “Raised in the System,” Williams meets with his nephew Dominic, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for second-degree murder at age 19, and his cousin Niven, who entered the prison system age 14, was released with restrictions preventing him from returning to his family, and ultimately fell back into crime.

In Baltimore, Williams reunites with Felicia “Snoop” Pearson, his former co-star on The Wire, who describes how her life was transformed after being sent to a maximum security facility for adult women as a teenager.

Williams also played Albert "Chalky" White on HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

Vice is executive produced by Bill Maher, Shane Smith, Eddy Moretti and Josh Tyrangiel.

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