Each Sunday throughout the HBO drama's 13-week season, TV critic David Zurawik will highlight a must-see character or story element appearing in the current episode.
The Wire launches its fourth season tonight with an episode titled "Boys of Summer," but a new female character is the one to watch.
FOR THE RECORD - In an article that ran in Sunday's A&E Today section, a character in HBO's The Wire was inadvertently misidentified. Michael K. Williams plays the role of Omar; Jamie Hector plays the role of Marlo. The character Chris Partlow's name also was misspelled.
The Sun regrets the errors.
Snoop, an androgynous, cold-blooded killing machine played by Baltimore's Felicia Pearson, is the most original and offbeat villain to appear onscreen since 2002, when Ralph Cifaretto (Joe Pantoliano) departed HBO's The Sopranos in many pieces.
In braids and an oversized T-shirt, and with a tellingly off-kilter gait, the young killer thrives as a female enforcer in an overwhelmingly male world of drug deals.
Armed with a nail gun, she and her assassin partner, Chris Paltrow (played by Gbenga Akinnagbe), have devised an ingenious way of making bodies "disappear." Their mentor and commander is drug dealer Marlo Stanfield (Michael K. Williams), the city's latest kingpin-on-the-rise.
"I describe Snoop as learning from Marlo -- doing whatever Marlo says," Pearson explains. "She's one to be reckoned with, because she doesn't want to mess up and have to answer to Marlo."
In a way, she owes the kingpin some loyalty: She was working at a Baltimore car wash last year when Williams noticed her in a nightclub -- and invited her to audition for the series.
Keep your eye on Snoop; to meet her after nightfall in one of Baltimore's alleys is never to return.