Bubbles (The Wire)

Bubbles (The Wire)

Infobox character | name = Reginald Cousins

portrayer = Andre Royo
creator = David Simon
species =
gender = Male
first = "The Target" "(episode 1.01)"
last = "–30–" "(episode 5.10)"
cause = End of series
age = 30s
occupation = Recovering drug addict, newspaper salesman and soup kitchen volunteer
title =
alias = Bubbles
family =
spouse =
children = son, KeyShawn
relatives = sister
footnotes =

Reginald "Bubbles" Cousins is a fictional character on the HBO drama "The Wire", played by actor Andre Royo. Bubbles is a recovering heroin addict with a vast knowledge of surviving on Baltimore's streets. His real name is not revealed until a fourth-season episode when he is called "Mr. Cousins" and in the fifth-season premiere when he is called "Reginald".


eason 1

Bubbles was first seen seeking out his living as a homeless addict and best friend and mentor to Johnny Weeks. The two ran a scam creating counterfeit money using a photocopier and coffee staining. Bubbles was successful in using the money to purchase drugs from a crew of drug dealers working for the Barksdale organization. However when the money was passed on to the crew boss it was recognized as fake. The next time they tried the scam Johnny was severely beaten by the Barksdale hoppers when he panicked and ran after trying to pass them the counterfeit bills.

Bubbles offered to inform on the Barksdale gang for Detective Kima Greggs, to get some measure of revenge for Johnny's beating. Bubbles' knowledge of the street proved to be invaluable to Lieutenant Cedric Daniels' unit as they investigated the Barksdale organization. He helped to identify the members of the crew that ran the Barksdale pit and those that worked in the high rise towers. When Omar robbed the Barksdale stash, Bubbles was there, and gave the license plate number of Omar Little's van to Greggs, which helped the detail track down the stick-up man.

After he was nearly killed trying to steal some drugs, he tried to get off the needle, but reverted to his old habits when Greggs was shot. He paged Greggs after she had promised to help him with money and stay clean, not realizing that she had been hospitalized with a life-threatening injury after a buy-and-bust went bad. As the police were looking for murder suspects, he was mistaken as a suspect and then was brutally beaten by Detective Vernon Holley in the interrogation room. He was beaten until Seargent Jay Landsman and other officers restrained Holley calling in Jimmy McNulty to clear things up.

eason 2

McNulty recruited Bubbles to find Omar Little, whom Bunk needed as a witness in the William Gant murder. Bubbles grudgingly agreed, and in a nervous encounter with a shotgun-wielding Omar, delivered McNulty's message. In the same scene, Bubbles stumbles upon ten dollars worth of scrap metal. At the end of season two, he was arrested by Officer Santangelo while trying to steal needles and morphine from an ambulance; in exchange for his release, he tipped off Greggs and McNulty to the new alliance between Proposition Joe and Stringer Bell.

eason 3

Season three saw Bubbles assist the major case unit once again. Bubbles was a former associate of Squeak, then Bernard's girlfriend. Bubbles put them in touch with an undercover Lester Freamon, allowing the unit's plan to wire tap the phones to proceed. Later, Johnny died by overdose in one of Major Howard "Bunny" Colvin's "Hamsterdam" zones. By season's end, Bubbles was selling fresh white t-shirts to Marlo Stanfield's crew.

eason 4

In season four, Bubbles and Sherrod were peddling small goods from a shopping cart to support themselves. Sherrod had trouble with the math involved and asked Bubbles to help re-enroll him in school. Sherrod never makes it to school, however, and after a brief fall-out with Bubbles he returns to help him sell goods from the shopping carts. In Sherrod's absence, however, Bubbles has become the daily victim of another street addict, who constantly robs him and beats him up. In an effort to get rid of this daily assault, Bubbles concocts a "hot shot" of heroin and sodium cyanide that he supposes will be stolen from him by the vagrant and then consumed by him. However on the day after he prepares the "hot shot" he does not see the vagrant and falls asleep. Sherrod uses the tainted drugs while Bubbles sleeps and Bubbles awakes to find that Sherrod has died. Consumed by guilt and grief, Bubbles confesses his actions to the police, and unsuccessfully attempts suicide in the Homicide Interrogation room. Sergeant Jay Landsman sees that the death was unintentional and decides, despite the climbing homicide rate, to send Bubbles to a psychiatric facility at a state hospital rather than charge Bubbles with murder.

cite web
year = 2004
title = Character profile - Bubbles
publisher = HBO
accessdate = 2006-08-05
url = http://www.hbo.com/thewire/cast/characters/bubbles.shtml

eason 5

When the fifth season begins Bubbles has been clean for over a year. He is living in his sister's basement and selling "The Baltimore Sun" to make money. His Narcotics Anonymous sponsor is Walon.cite episode|title = More with Less|episodelink = More with Less|series = The Wire|serieslink = The Wire (TV series)|credits = Joe Chappelle|writers = David Simon (story and teleplay), Ed Burns (story)|network = HBO|station = |city = |airdate = 2008-01-06|season = 5|number = 1] Cite web|url=http://www.hbo.com/thewire/episode/season5/episode51.shtml|title="The Wire" episode guide - episode 51 More with Less|accessdate=2008-01-22|publisher=HBO|year=2008] Walon encourages Bubbles to open up in meetings about Sherrod's death but Bubbles is not ready to take that step. Walon suggests that Bubbles should find an outlet elsewhere and Bubbles begins volunteering at a local soup kitchen called Viva House.cite episode | title = Unconfirmed Reports | episodelink = Unconfirmed Reports | series = The Wire | serieslink = The Wire (TV series) | credits = Ernest Dickerson | writers = William F. Zorzi (story and teleplay), David Simon (story) | network = HBO | station = | city = | airdate = 2008-01-13 | season = 5 | number = 2] Cite web|url=http://www.hbo.com/thewire/episode/season5/episode52.shtml|title="The Wire" episode guide - episode 52 Uncomfirmed Reports|accessdate=2008-01-22|publisher=HBO|year=2008] Eventually Bubbles makes peace with his part in Sherrod's death, he has his life story published in the Baltimore Sun, and finally is last seen being brought back into his sister's life when she allows him to come upstairs from the basement and have dinner with her child.


Bubbles was based on a real police informant known as "Possum," [David Simon(1992-03-16). "Life as a snitch: Anonymous to the end, ' Possum ' tells secrets", Baltimore Sun. Retrieved on 2008-09-16.] whose true identity has not been made public at the request of his family. The real Bubbles was noted as having an incredible memory for faces, and was often very helpful in pointing out drug dealers to police. David Simon met with him twice shortly before his death from AIDS, intending to write an article about him. He ended up turning it into an obituary.


Royo was once approached by a real drug addict and given a package of heroin while filming as he appeared to "need a fix more than" the addict.Cite web|url=http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/10/22/071022fa_fact_talbot?currentPage=1|title=Stealing Life|accessdate=2007-10-14|publisher=The New Yorker|year=2007|author=Margaret Talbot] Royo calls this his "street oscar."


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