Spiros Vondas

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Spiros Vondopoulos
Σπύρος Βονδόπουλος
The Wire Vondas.jpg
First appearance "Ebb Tide" (episode 2.01)
Last appearance "–30–" (episode 5.10)
Created by David Simon
Portrayed by Paul Ben-Victor
Information
Nickname(s) Vondas
Aliases Kirko Skaddeng, János Pravatz
Gender Male
Occupation International smuggling/Organized Crime underboss

Spiros "Vondas" Vondopoulos (Greek: Σπύρος Βονδόπουλος) is a fictional character on the HBO drama The Wire played by actor Paul Ben-Victor.

Biography[edit]

Vondas is The Greek's second-in-command and acted as a buffer between The Greek and his illegal activities, using a small cafe as his base of operations. The name Spiros Vondopolous is one of a range of identities that he has available to him. He holds Hungarian and Croatian passports but it is unclear if he is really a citizen of these countries. He is later shown destroying his Hungarian passport during a meal with The Greek. His Hungarian name is Janos Kovats and he comes from Budapest. His Croatian identity is Kirko Skaddeng and he is ostensibly a medical assistant from Osijek (note, however, that both the first and last names "Kirko Skaddeng" are not typically Croatian, or South Slavic in general). He tells Nick Sobotka that he has "many names, many passports." Vondas's actual name and nationality are unknown, though his alias is Greek in origin.

Season two[edit]

Vondas manages all aspects of the Greek's illicit shipping business, but keeps a low, surveillance-conscious profile. He is Frank Sobotka's point of contact for his smuggling with The Greek. He was even-tempered and patient, often having to soothe an increasingly angry and frightened Sobotka as the Baltimore police began a serious investigation into Sobotka's union. He also handled much less savory tasks: when a sailor in the Greek's employ, Sam, murdered fourteen girls meant for work as prostitutes Vondas killed the man once the Greek had interrogated him. Vondas managed the Greek's drug dealing through their Israeli lieutenant Eton Ben-Eleazer. His own personnel involved in the smuggling operation included driver and enforcer Sergei "Serge" Malatov and organization fence George "Double G" Glekas.

He often met with Nick Sobotka, who frequently served as Frank's go-between, and Vondas took an almost paternal interest in the younger man. Impressed with Nick's intelligence, he gave him the task of stealing a shipment of chemicals. He intervened in a dispute over a debt between Nick's cousin Ziggy Sobotka and a drug dealer supplied by the Greek, Cheese Wagstaff. Despite a personal dislike for Ziggy he ordered Serge to argue his case to Proposition Joe, Cheese's uncle and superior. Vondas' distrust of Ziggy proved correct when Ziggy killed Glekas in an argument over payment for stolen goods. Ziggy was arrested soon afterwards and Vondas distanced the murder from the rest of the operation by removing all evidence of the business from the warehouse.

When Lieutenant Daniels's port detail began investigating the Greek's activity Frank Sobotka realized and tipped Vondas. During the finale outset's of the investigation, the detail finally got a photo of Spiros when he was meeting drug lieutenant Eton on the waterfront of Baltimore. The detail then surveilled his home and followed him to meetings at hotel rooms and the diner where he met with associates.

The Greek ordered Vondas to shut down the smuggling temporarily and replaced all of his personnel's telephones. The Greek withdrew from their meeting place at the cafe and began meeting Vondas in hotel rooms.

When the detail began rounding up the members of the Greek's smuggling ring, they held off on Vondas as they felt he could lead them to the Greek. When Sobotka was arrested Vondas suggested that they could broker his loyalty by having a witness against Ziggy change his story. He put the proposition to Frank through Nick. Frank had already agreed to testify against the Greek's crew, but decided to meet with them for Ziggy's sake. The Greek learned of Frank's agreement through his inside man at the FBI, agent Koutris, and had Vondas murder Frank.

Following the murder Vondas left the country under a fake Croatian passport with the Greek, using the alias Kirko Skaddeng. Before Vondas left he met with Proposition Joe to assure him that the Greek's operation would continue to supply him using new personnel after a short break to avoid the investigation.

Season four[edit]

After a shipment from the Greek to Proposition Joe's New Day Co-Op was stolen by Omar Little, Joe set up a meeting with Vondas and Marlo Stanfield in order to assuage Marlo's suspicions that Joe had set him up in order to make him pay twice for the same shipment. It was thus revealed that Vondas had returned to Baltimore some time after the Major Crimes investigation of the docks had ended, and that he had resumed his working relationship with Proposition Joe. While Marlo was satisfied with Vondas's explanation, he placed a tail on him in order to learn more about his role in importing the shipments into Baltimore.

Season five[edit]

Once the Major Crimes investigation into his organization was shut down, Marlo Stanfield felt secure enough in making a move to establish a direct relationship with Vondas and the Greeks. He researched the port case and discovered that former Greek soldier Sergei Malatov was incarcerated at Jessup. After paying prison gang leader Avon Barksdale to gain access to Sergei, Marlo used him to locate the Greeks' diner headquarters and dropped off a large sum of money in order to persuade Vondas to grant him a meeting. Vondas was displeased that Marlo had brought him dirty money, from the street, and insisted that all business would continue to go through Joe, then sent him on his way. Marlo quickly cleaned his cash, and dropped off the fresh money at the diner, telling Vondas' man that he didn't mean for there to be any misunderstanding.

Marlo once again meets with Vondas, and attempts to sell himself as an insurance policy for the Greeks, implying that if something were to happen to Proposition Joe, they would need another agent they could do business with. While Vondas believes that all that matters is that the Greeks already have a secure relationship with someone they trust, The Greek states that Marlo makes a valid point that it is wise to have an insurance policy in volatile times, implicitly telling Marlo that if he moves on Joe, they will not stop him. After Marlo leaves, Vondas and the Greek seem resigned to Joe's demise and to initiating a new business relationship with Marlo, believing that Joe's time has come, and that Marlo's tenacity and ambition will not allow him to accept the Greeks' rejection of his business overtures.

After Marlo has Proposition Joe murdered, he received the blessing of Vondas to be Joe's replacement as agent between Vondas' drug shipments and the New Day Co-op's drug distribution activities.

Later, Stanfield's first re-supply with the Greeks is busted by the Major Crimes Unit, and as part of a deal with the State's Attorney's office, Stanfield is forced to retire from his life of crime. To set himself up for life, Stanfield sells the connection to the Greeks to whoever can pay him ten million dollars. In the series finale, Vondas is seen meeting with Fat Face Rick and Slim Charles at Little Johnny's Diner. They are discussing the new business arrangement while The Greek quietly listens in the background.

References[edit]