Jay Landsman

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Jay Landsman
Flag of the United States.svg - Baltimore, MD, United States
Police career
DepartmentBaltimore Police Department
Baltimore County Police Department
Other workActor
Jay Landsman
OccupationTelevision actor

Jay Landsman is an American retired homicide detective and actor. He was featured in David Simon's 1991 book about the Baltimore homicide unit Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. According to the book, Landsman was the last of his family line on the Baltimore Police Department. His brother Jerry was a detective in the agency who left in the 1980s and their father was the department's first Jewish district commander.[1]

The book was later developed into the television series Homicide: Life on the Street. He was the inspiration for the fictional character John Munch (also Jewish) on that show[2] as well as a character named Jay Landsman on the television series The Wire, created by Simon (although the Landsman character is not played by Landsman himself, but by Delaney Williams). Landsman portrayed himself in a brief appearance on the HBO miniseries The Corner and, later, appeared in The Wire, playing the character of Lieutenant Dennis Mello. He appeared in season five of the food and travel show No Reservations, when host Anthony Bourdain stopped in Baltimore on a tour of America's rust belt.

In December 2015, Landsman was promoted to lieutenant in the Baltimore County Police Department. Landsman retired from the city's police force in 1994, when he joined the county. In 2004, he and his son Jay C. Landsman Jr. were simultaneously promoted from corporal to sergeant in the department. By 2015, Landsman Jr. was a captain.[3]

As of March 2016, all four of Landsman's children were serving with him in the Baltimore County Police Department, as was one granddaughter.[4]


  1. ^ Simon, David (2006) [1991]. "One". Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets (4th ed.). Owl Books. p. 85. ISBN 0-8050-8075-9. His father had retired with a lieutenant's rank as acting commander of the Northwestern district, the first Jewish officer to rise to a district command on a predominantly Irish department.
  2. ^ Simon, David (2006) [1991]. Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. New York: Owl Books. Photo insert section.
  3. ^ Meehan, Sarah (8 December 2015). "'Wire' inspiration, actor and real-life cop Jay Landsman Sr. promoted to lieutenant". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  4. ^ Snyder, Ron (17 March 2016). "Local family celebrates 80 years of police service; Landsman family has been serving the public since 1936". WBAL-TV. Retrieved 4 September 2017.

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