|First appearance||"The Target" (episode 1.01)|
|Last appearance||"-30-" (episode 5.10)|
|Reason/Cause||End of Season|
|Occupation.||Confidential Informant, Recovering drug addict, newspaper salesman and soup kitchen volunteer|
|Affiliations|| Johnny Weeks (deceased)|
|Relatives|| Unnamed Sister|
|Kill Count||Techniquly 1|
|Portrayed by||Andre Royo|
Reginald "Bubbles" Cousins is a recovering heroin addict with a vast knowledge of surviving on Baltimore's streets, portrayed by Andre Royo.
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". Bubbles has a son named KeyShawn, a fact he reveals in a conversation with Walon on a park bench in season one, episode ten ("The Cost"). KeyShawn lives with his mother "up Jersey way".
Bubbles is a crucial informant for the police throughout the series due to his
extraordinary depths of knowledge about the streets of Baltimore and their inhabitants. Although a heavily addicted drug abuser, Bubbles is an intelligent and compassionate man who genuinely cares about his friend Johnny Weeks and the teenager he "adopts," Sherrod. His struggle to overcome his addiction and make a better life is a major sub-plot over the course of the five seasons of the series.
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 successfully used the money to purchase drugs from a crew of 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.
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 invaluable to Lieutenant Cedric Daniels' unit as they investigated the Barksdale organization. He helped identify the crew members who ran the Barksdale pit and those who worked in the high rise towers. When Omar Little robbed the Barksdale stash, Bubbles was there, and gave the license plate number of Omar's van to Greggs, which helped the detail track down the stick-up man.
After nearly being killed while trying to steal 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 stay clean, not realizing that she was hospitalized with a life-threatening injury after a buy-and-bust went bad. As the police sought murder suspects, Bubbles was mistaken as a suspect and brutally beaten by Detective Vernon Holley in the interrogation room until Sergeant Jay Landsman and other officers restrained Holley, calling in Jimmy McNulty to clear things up.
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.
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. During this time Bubbles' continued cooperation with the police began to create a rift between Bubbles and Johnny, who encouraged Bubbles to end his career as an informant - eventually Bubbles left Johnny to fend for himself.
As the investigation progressed Bubbles began to supplement the income he was earning as an informant by collecting discarded cell phones and t-shirts to sell out of a shopping cart; upon discovering Major Howard "Bunny" Colvin's "Hamsterdam" zones he expanded his inventory to suit the needs of the dealers and addicts there. While in Hamsterdam Bubbles also came back into contact with Johnny and, upon recognizing that his friend's health was failing due to drug abuse, encouraged him to leave - his fears are realized at the end of the season, when Johnny is found dead from an overdose.
Bubbles shares an abandoned garage with teenaged Sherrod, 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. To stop this daily assault, Bubbles concocts a "hot shot" of heroin and sodium cyanide that he supposes the vagrant will steal from him and then consume. However, Sherrod uses the tainted drugs while Bubbles sleeps and Bubbles awakes to find that Sherrod has died. Consumed by guilt and grief, Bubbles goes to the police and confesses his actions, before unsuccessfully attempting 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 state psychiatric facility rather than charge him with murder.
When the fifth season begins Bubbles has been clean for almost a year. He is living in his sister's basement and selling The Baltimore Sun to make money. His Narcotics Anonymous sponsor is Walon. 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. Eventually Bubbles makes peace with his part in Sherrod's death and has his life story published in the Baltimore Sun. In his final scene of the series, he is seen being brought back into his sister's life when she allows him upstairs from the basement to have dinner with her and her child.
A key allegiance in previous seasons, his and Greggs, is no longer presented in any way after Bubbles rehabilitates, especially after Greggs is unable to ultimately help him. The terms of their friendship and whether they came in contact after the events of season 4 is not revealed.
- Sherrod: Accidently killed by a hot shot, but Bubbles didn't intend to use it on Sherrod, he intended to use it on a drug addict who kept stealing from him. (2006)
Bubbles was based on a real police informant known as "Possum," whose true identity has not been made public at the request of his family. Possum 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 [Possum's] death from AIDS, intending to write an article about him. He ended up turning it into an obituary.
|Other Street-Level Characters|