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|First appearance||"The Target" (episode 1.01)|
|Last appearance||"Mission Accomplished" (episode 3.12)|
|Created by||David Simon|
|Portrayed by||Idris Elba|
|Occupation||Drug kingpin, housing developer|
Russell "Stringer" Bell is a fictional character in The Wire, played by Idris Elba. Bell serves as drug kingpin Avon Barksdale's second-in-command, assuming direct control of the Barksdale Organization during Avon's imprisonment. Bell attends economics classes at Baltimore City Community College and maintains a personal library, including a copy of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations. He attempts to legitimize the Barksdale Organization and insulate himself from direct criminality through money laundering and investments in housing development, aided through his buying of influence from politicians.
Stringer is first seen attending the trial of Avon's nephew and lieutenant, D'Angelo Barksdale, for the murder of rival drug dealer "Pooh" Blanchard. Avon has tasked Stringer with ensuring that D'Angelo is acquitted. To this end, Stringer has enforcers Roland "Wee-Bey" Brice, Anton "Stinkum" Artis, and Savino intimidate and bribe witnesses over the course of the trial. When D'Angelo is released, Avon has Stringer demote him to running the operation in the low-rise projects known as "the pit."
Stringer then has his hands full dealing with Omar Little's crew, after they steal some of Barksdale's stash from the pit. Stringer visits D'Angelo to instruct him about checking his organization for an informant who may have been giving Omar information. Avon orders contract killings on Omar and all of his crew. Avon also has Stringer assist Stinkum in taking over new territory for the organization.
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