Herc

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Thomas Hauk
The Wire Herc.jpg
First appearance "The Target" (episode 1.01)
Last appearance "–30–" (episode 5.10)
Created by David Simon
Portrayed by Domenick Lombardozzi
Information
Aliases Herc
Occupation Criminal Defense Investigator, former Baltimore Police Sergeant
Title Private Investigator

Thomas "Herc" Hauk is a fictional character on the HBO drama The Wire played by actor Domenick Lombardozzi. The series introduces Herc as a detective in the Baltimore Police Department's Narcotics Unit, begrudgingly detailed to the initial Barksdale investigation. He is generally portrayed as encapsulating the failings of the contemporary Baltimore police officer: simple-minded, concerned with petty street arrests and minor drug charges, and priding himself and his colleagues on 'banging heads'. He is also partner and loyal friend to Ellis Carver, the two rarely being unpaired till later seasons. Following his promotion to Sergeant, he is dismissed from the force, subsequently finding employment as a private investigator for attorney - and invariant legal advisor for drug organisations - Maurice Levy.

Biography[edit]

Season 1[edit]

Herc and Ellis Carver typically worked as a pair in Narcotics, and both are intimidated by Kima Greggs' ability and annoyed at her superior attitude towards them. All three join the Barksdale detail headed by their shift Lieutenant Cedric Daniels. Herc and Carver get into trouble early on in the investigation when, along with Detective Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski, they drunkenly charge into a Barksdale-controlled housing project and harass a group of youths. While there, Prez pistol whips one of the youths, blinding him in one eye and nearly inciting a riot. Herc is slightly injured during the incident when residents begin throwing bottles and firing at the officers, but returns early from his sick leave to take part in raids on Barksdale's operation.

When young dealer Bodie Broadus punches detective Patrick Mahone during a raid, Herc, Carver and Greggs punish him with a beating. When Bodie later escapes from a juvenile detention center, Herc and Carver pursue and rearrest him; finding that he remains defiant they give him another beating. Even so, the three play pool together when they find themselves having to wait hours to hand Bodie over. Herc's character is also humanized somewhat when, in a failed attempt to arrest Bodie at his grandmother's house, he apologizes to her for his rough language and listens politely as she discusses Bodie's troubled past.

When Herc and Carver intercept the Barksdale crew's profits for a day by tailing Wee-Bey Brice, Herc considers keeping some of the money, but Carver realizes that figures mentioned on the wiretap might leave them exposed. Some of the money still goes missing when the bag rips in their trunk. After Lieutenant Daniels confronts them about the missing money, Carver begins to suspect Herc has stolen it, until it is found in the spare-wheel well of the car. This also gets both of them on the wrong side of Daniels, who assumes they simply stole and then returned the money. Later, while raiding a drug stash in Pimlico, Herc and Carver do steal money for themselves.[1]

With little study, Herc takes and passes the sergeant's exam, placing 18 on the list of ranked, passing officers. After celebrating he finds out that he will not in fact be promoted, likely because of past brutality allegations (none of which are confirmed, but all of which are true). Carver, however, who ranks 37, is promoted to Sergeant after acting as a spy in the detail on behalf of Deputy Commissioner Ervin Burrell.

Season 2[edit]

When the detail is disbanded, Herc moves back to Narcotics, investigating white East-Side dealers. Daniels brings Herc into Major Valchek's detail investigating Frank Sobotka, recognizing Herc's stomach for the tedium of surveillance work. At Herc's request, Daniels also brings Carver back but refuses to recognize his promotion; Greggs remains lead detective for the detail.

Herc is again partnered with Carver and the two investigate drug dealing around the docks area. Herc plays the key undercover role, dealing with the mostly white drug dealers in the Polish docks neighborhood of Baltimore.

The two use a high-priced listening device concealed within a tennis ball to gain information then, after the device is damaged, fabricate a confidential informant named "Fuzzy Dunlop" (an inside joke between them referencing the tennis ball's texture and manufacturer) and take payments meant for the informant to cover its cost. Through their surveillance, they are able to establish a link between Frank's nephew and the drug trade.

Herc feels unappreciated, as he and Carver are constantly relied upon to do tedious leg work for the detail, even having to install an air conditioner in the home of a judge. After being left out in the rain waiting for a suspect who has already turned himself in, Herc convinces Carver they will never be respected in Daniels' unit, and they put in for a transfer.[2]

Season 3[edit]

Herc returns to Narcotics with Carver and works in the Western District under Major Colvin. Together they are responsible for running the district's Drug Enforcement Unit and commanding a squad of dedicated narcotics police including officers Kenneth Dozerman, Lloyd "Truck" Garrick, Lambert and Anthony Colicchio.

The DEU squad is responsible for policing Colvin's unsanctioned free drug trade zone, nicknamed "Hamsterdam". Herc is critical of the Major's pet project and eventually leaks details of the zones to the Baltimore Sun. When the national media begins covering the story Hamsterdam is soon shut down and Major Colvin is forced to retire as a lieutenant.[3][4]

Season 4[edit]

Herc is working the security detail for Mayor Clarence Royce, when he stumbles across the mayor receiving fellatio from his assistant in his office. Major Stanislaus Valchek advises Herc how to turn the mishap to his advantage and quickly make rank. The Mayor quickly surmises Herc's desire for promotion and demonstrates his willingness to help Herc's career in exchange for his discretion. Royce calls Burrell and demands that Herc be promoted to the first opening for sergeant. He receives the sergeant's post in the Major Crimes Unit under Lieutenant Charles Marimow, but soon loses his "rabbi" when Royce loses the Democratic mayoral primary. He and Marimow clash over methods, and Herc shows no respect for his leadership abilities.

Herc takes a police camera to spy on Marlo Stanfield without Marimow or a court's approval. Stanfield's crew realize they are being filmed and give fake information (prompting Herc to detain an innocent woman) and then steal the camera. Herc attributes the fake information to the fictitious informant "Fuzzy Dunlop". While attempting to retrieve the camera, Herc interviews Randy Wagstaff, who has knowledge about the murder of Lex, one of Boadie Broadus's drug dealers. However, Herc later mistakenly reveals Randy's cooperation to a conspirator to the murder, Little Kevin; this information gets back to Stanfield and results in Randy being labeled a "snitch", eventually leading to the injury of Randy's foster mother and Randy's placement in a group home. Still attempting to retrieve the camera, Herc pulls over Chris and Snoop and finds a nail gun which ultimately proves to be an important clue for Lester Freamon's investigation into the murders of Lex and Little Kevin.

Greggs, now in Homicide and no longer in need of a drugs informant, puts Bubbles in touch with Herc, who believes he will be able to appease Marimow if he links Stanfield to a murder. Herc agrees to help Bubbles with his problems if in return he helps Herc find a witness to Fruit's murder. However, Herc repeatedly lets Bubbles down, and so, to get back at Herc, Bubbles provides him with bad information, leading him to arrest a church minister. Since the minister is African American and part of a politically influential coalition, Herc is accused of harassment and racial profiling. The ministers apply pressure to newly elected Mayor Tommy Carcetti, and Commissioner Burrell pushes the internal affairs division to look into Herc's wrongdoings with an eye toward finding a palatable excuse for discharging him. Herc is suspended with pay pending a full trial with the I.I.D. division.

Season 5[edit]

Herc is now working as an investigator for defense attorney Maurice Levy, who has previously represented the Barksdale Organization. Herc is able to provide Levy with information from his contacts inside the Baltimore Police Department, including Ellis Carver,[5] but he is irritated when Levy takes on Marlo Stanfield as a client. Herc meets Carver for drinks and admits feelings of remorse for some of his actions as a police officer.[6] He attempts to redeem himself by making a note of Stanfield's confidential phone number from Levy's Rolodex and handing it to Carver (who then passes it on to Lester Freamon).

In the final episode, however, Herc tells Levy that a wiretap has probably been used in the Stanfield investigation – a wiretap which Levy realizes must be illegal. This tip allows Levy to keep Marlo Stanfield out of prison. A grateful Levy tells Herc he has done well and invites him to dinner at his home, as Herc is now mishpochah (Hebrew for "family"). Herc congratulates Carver on his promotion to lieutenant. He is last seen in the end-of-season montage at the bar buying drinks for his former colleagues.

Production[edit]

Actor Domenick Lombardozzi speaks with the accent of his native South Bronx, which producers did not believe Lombardozzi would be able to convincingly hide and so did not ask him to try, planning a future explanation as to why the character was policing in Baltimore.[7] Ultimately, in the fifth season premiere episode, "More with Less", Herc mentions having come from the Bronx when he makes a reference to his hometown New York Yankees being historically more successful than the Baltimore Orioles.[5]

Reception[edit]

Salon described Herc and Carver as providing needed comic relief to the show and acting as a "bickering couple".[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "HBO: The Wire: Episode Guide: Summary: Season 1: Episode 11". HBO. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  2. ^ a b Dan Kois (2004). "Everything you were afraid to ask about "The Wire"". Salon.com. Retrieved 2006-07-12. 
  3. ^ "Org Chart - The Law". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-07-22. 
  4. ^ "Character profile - Detective "Herc" Hauk". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-07-25. 
  5. ^ a b Joe Chappelle (2008-01-06). "More with Less". The Wire. Season 5. Episode 1. HBO.
  6. ^ Dan Attias (2008-01-27). "Transitions". The Wire. Season 5. Episode 4. HBO.
  7. ^ David Simon, George Pelecanos (2004-12-10). The Wire - Cleaning Up (DVD audio commentary). HBO.