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|First appearance||"Ebb Tide" (episode 2.01)|
|Last appearance||"The Dickensian Aspect" (episode 5.06)|
|Created by||David Simon|
|Portrayed by||Pablo Schreiber|
|Occupation||Dock worker, Drug Dealer, Smuggler|
|Family||Louis Sobotka (father), Joan Sobotka (mother)|
|Relatives||Frank Sobotka (uncle), Ziggy Sobotka (cousin)|
Nickolas Andrew "Nick" Sobotka is a fictional character on the HBO drama The Wire, played by actor Pablo Schreiber. Nick is cousin to Ziggy Sobotka, the wayward and rebellious son to his uncle Frank Sobotka.
Nick is a dockworker, and works for his uncle Frank Sobotka, the secretary treasurer for the International Brotherhood of Stevedores. He often has to keep his cousin (and Frank's son) Ziggy out of trouble, although he shows Ziggy considerable patience. Nick is much more cautious and level-headed than Ziggy, a fact his uncle appreciates. He is involved in his uncle's smuggling operation and often serves as Frank's go-between in meetings with Spiros "Vondas" Vondopoulos. He would meet with Vondas at the diner which serves as the Greek's "office." Vondas would give him the serial numbers of the cargo containers The Greek was bringing into the port, and Nick would convey this information to his uncle.
Nick has a girlfriend, Aimee, with whom he has a daughter, Ashley. They want to move in together, but they are unable to afford a place of their own; Nick lives with his parents and when she spends the night with him, she has to hide from them. Though Nick very much wants to settle down with her, his lack of steady income lead to tensions between them.
Since Nick is one of the younger stevedores, seniority prevents him from getting enough work at the docks. Desperate for cash, he and Ziggy stole a trailer full of cameras, which they sold to the Greek's front man, Glekas. This brought Nick to the attention of Vondas, who asked him if he could procure large quantities of certain chemicals. Ziggy was immediately interested, but Nick was more conscientious, fearing that the chemicals would be used to make bombs. After some research on the internet, he discovered that they would be used to process drugs and he agreed to the deal.
Ziggy is into drug dealing and invites Nick to join in, but at first Nick angrily refuses. Later, when Ziggy's ineptitude nearly cost him his life at the hands of Proposition Joe's nephew Cheese, Nick asked Vondas to intervene. Vondas sent Sergei "Serge" Malatov, who forced Cheese to back off at gunpoint. Sergei then helped Nick negotiate a settlement with Prop Joe himself.
When the two cousins brought Vondas the chemicals he had requested, Nick asked for payment half in cash, half in heroin. Since Ziggy had proved incompetent, he began selling the drugs to local dealers himself, with much more success than his cousin. He was spotted meeting with the dealer Frog by Herc and Carver, who were doing surveillance of drug dealers near the port. When the drugs he'd received for the chemicals ran out, Vondas put him in contact with "White" Mike McArdle, who became his new supplier of heroin.
Despite Nicky's disdain for Ziggy's ineptitude and antics, he seems to genuinely care for his younger cousin, whom he treats like a little brother. Nick is distraught when Ziggy is arrested for killing Glekas. Knowing that Ziggy's stature and temperament make him ill-suited for prison, Nick descends into a drunken depression and tearfully laments the circumstances that landed Ziggy behind bars.
Eventually a warrant was issued for Nick's arrest. The police raided his parents' house shortly after Ziggy's arrest. Though Nick was not home, his parents were aghast when the police found Nick's stash of drugs and cash in the basement.
Later that day Vondas approached Nick with an offer to help Ziggy, in exchange for his and Frank's silence. The young Sobotka eagerly conveyed the offer to his uncle. Frank told Nick he would go see the Greek alone. Just before the meeting, the Greek learned from his FBI mole that Frank had offered to testify against him, so he had the elder Sobotka killed. A grieving Nick turned himself in to the police, agreeing to become a witness against the Greek and his gang. As his uncle had, he refused to incriminate members of his union. When Daniels's detail interrogated him he identified the Greek in a photograph, giving the detail its first picture of its main target.
At the end of season two, Nick, Aimee and Ashley entered federal witness protection. The last scene of the second season focuses on him looking at the decaying shipping shoreline from behind a chain-link fence. After shedding a few tears, he walks away on a sidewalk leading uphill. The scene symbolized the season's main theme, the death of blue-collar work in American industry.
Nick makes a brief appearance in season five, heckling Mayor Carcetti’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the conversion of the old and derelict grain pier into condos and waterfront commercial space, instead of putting the pier back into working order, as his uncle Frank had hoped. This, together with the appearance of another former dockworker in a homeless encampment earlier in the season, suggests that the Port of Baltimore was continuing job cuts between the end of season two and the beginning of season five. No information about Nick's life since the end of season two was provided, although Simon has since said that Nick left the witness protection program after missing his friends and family, as many who are enrolled in the witness protection program do.
- "Character profile - Nick Sobotka". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-08-16.
- "The Wire, "The Dickensian Aspect" - Those left behind". What's Alan Watching?. 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-12.