|Melvin "Cheese" Wagstaff|
|First appearance||"Undertow" (episode 2.05)|
|Last appearance||"–30–" (episode 5.10)|
|Created by||David Simon|
|Portrayed by||Method Man|
|Relatives||Proposition Joe (uncle)|
Calvin "Cheese" Wagstaff (named "Melvin Flagstaff" during Season 2) is a fictional character on the HBO television series The Wire. He is portrayed by hip hop recording artist Method Man. He is a crew chief for his uncle Proposition Joe's drug organization and later works for the Stanfield Organization after betraying his uncle and handing him over to Marlo Stanfield. He is also the father of Randy Wagstaff according to creator David Simon, though this is never explored or even stated on the show.
Cheese is the nephew of Proposition Joe and a crew chief in his Eastside drug crew. He supplied Ziggy Sobotka with a narcotics package and, when Sobotka could not pay him back, set fire to his car and threatened to kill him. Nick Sobotka and La La intervened on Ziggy's behalf but could only convince Cheese to give Ziggy more time. Cheese was forced to back down when Nick involved The Greek – Proposition Joe's supplier of high-quality heroin. Cheese subsequently moved into Barksdale territory following an agreement with Stringer Bell, much to the chagrin of Bodie Broadus. Avon Barksdale was unaware of the agreement due to being incarcerated, and hired Brother Mouzone, who shot Cheese with rat shot to intimidate him and his colleagues.
In season three, Cheese was one of the major case unit's first targets as a possible route to Proposition Joe himself. Cheese avoided their surveillance efforts through disciplined use of his subordinates to make phone calls and by only discussing business face to face, and was promoted to supplying other dealers.
Cheese kept a pit bull terrier and participated in underground dog fights. When his dog lost a fight, Cheese shot it rather than seek treatment for its injuries. Cheese's soldier Tree suggested that Dazz, his opponent, might have cheated with another dealer, Jelly. Tree later killed Jelly, leading to two further deaths and a short war between the rival crews. The major case unit arrested Tree in the course of preparing for yet another skirmish. The unit mistakenly presumed Cheese was using slang to discuss a murder when they overheard him on a tapped phone describing how he shot his dog. After arresting Cheese, the unit interrogators revealed their wiretap evidence to him in an effort to force his confession. Once the unit realized Cheese had been talking literally about killing an animal, he was released and promptly told Proposition Joe about the wiretap, after which his gang changed their communication strategies to thwart further investigation.
In season four, Cheese remained a trusted member of Proposition Joe's inner circle. He acted as the go-between, supplying Joe's drugs to the various other Baltimore dealers in the Co-op, including Marlo Stanfield, and also picked up the drug deliveries from agents of The Greek. Omar Little tracked Cheese from Proposition Joe's office to one of these delivery sites during a major drop and stole the entire Baltimore heroin supply. When Omar sold the drugs back to Joe, Cheese seemed more angry than Joe himself.
In season five, Cheese assists Marlo Stanfield in his efforts to control the entire Baltimore drug trade, acting as an informant to Marlo. In exchange for a $50,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Omar Little, Cheese identifies Butchie as someone who knows where Omar is hiding. When Butchie is tortured and murdered by Chris and Snoop, Joe immediately suspects Cheese is Marlo's informant. Fearing Omar might believe he is responsible, Prop Joe prepares to go into hiding. Cheese informs Marlo of Proposition Joe's whereabouts after Joe is no longer of use to Marlo. Marlo rewards Cheese with a top spot in his organization after effectively dissolving the New Day Co-Op. In the series finale, Cheese and the rest of the co-op meet to discuss how the group should move forward after Marlo is forced out of the drug trade. Waving a pistol in another dealer's face, Cheese makes a speech about how Joe and Marlo have had "their time," but before he can declare it is his turn, Slim Charles shoots him in the head unceremoniously and without warning. When another dealer asks Charles why he killed Cheese, Charles replies, "That was for Joe." His is the final onscreen death in the series.
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