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HBO’s The Wire – Was Chris Partlow Abused as a Child?


One of the main reasons The Wire on HBO retains its repeat viewing capability is the cast of the show. No matter how many times you watch the show, there is no way you can get enough from each character.

The scarcity of characters created by the writers leaves people wanting more. Every time the episode cuts away from one episode there is a feeling among all of us that there is more to the story than what was shown.

While the writers of The Wire do an amazing job in never telling us anything about the past, rather focusing on the present. One such character who is shrouded in mystery is Chris Partlow, he lurked in season 3, made his mark in season 4 but we do not know anything more than what was presented on the screen.

So, when he is shown with two kids or going crazy over a recently released criminal, we know there is so much more to the story of Chris Partlow. A shining example of his unrevealed past made its way through in season 4 when he takes Michael Lee under his wing.

The affection and care he showed to Michael were unnatural considering the methodical man we were getting to know. Chris Partlow had both brotherly protection and fatherly love directed towards the young and proud Michael.

And the moment Chris comes across Michael’s step-father, the past of Chris became a little clearer. That moment in season 4 was the closest we came to answering the question about Chris’ past and what he went through before becoming the muscle of Marlo Stanfield.

Chris Partlow’s Past – Abusive History Revealed in The Wire

the-wire-chris-partlow-abusedCold and methodic Chris Partlow showed a different side for Michael Lee, revealing his own possible abused past.
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In The Wire season 4, we saw Chris getting more screen time as the muscle man of Marlo Stanfield. Chris and Snoop were the duos responsible for getting rid of people who opposed Marlo.

They use the vacant houses as the dumping place and in doing so the lack of bodies confounds the police department. Chris Partlow and Snoop are shown as being methodical and great at what they do, deviating from which speaks volumes regarding the past of Chris.

Michael Lee is a young schoolboy who is proud and does not like people being overly familiar with him. He does not like owing people and any authority figure who he feels are pretending to be helping.

There is a reason for the way Michael thinks but it is not made clear from the start. When Bug’s father comes back from prison it is revealed that Michael was abused as a child. Well, not revealed, but subtly hinted at.

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Michael sees that his stepfather is grooming his little brother for molestation which causes him to join the Stanfield organization in return for Snoop and Chris taking care of Bug’s father. The murderous duo finds Michael’s step-father and while they are taking him to a vacant house, Chris becomes uncharacteristically violent.

During their walk to a vacant Chris asks if he molested Michael and had sex in prison. When he affirms to the latter, Chris drags him to the ground and starts beating him. He kills Devar in the street which is not the way they had been doing business.

The murderous rage Chris Partlow felt has been dissected by people and it is understood that Chris was probably molested as a child. That explains why he was taken by Michael, to the point where Marlo was calling him Chris’ pup.

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The abuse suffered by Michael and the knowledge of Devar trying to do the same thing with Bug probably made him angry. So much so, that the rage resulted in the police being able to tie the murder to Chris, along with all the other murders in the vacant.

Chris may not speak or show any other emotion than the stoic face he has on all the time, but that single moment in the night, outside a vacant house, speaks volumes about who he was and how he became the man he turned into as an adult.

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Last modified: February 10, 2021