Believing that the police would pay less attention to the drug trade if violence were kept to a minimum, "Proposition Joe" Stewart and Stringer Bell reached out to all the major drug dealers in Baltimore, with a proposition: Joe would provide the members with high quality heroin, shipped directly by The Greek's organization; in return co-op members agree to settle their differences peacefully. They run their organization by Robert's Rules of Order. When Bell's business partner Avon Barksdale gets involved in a war with Marlo Stanfield in season three, the Co-Op votes to deny Bell the high quality heroin until the violence stops. Ultimately, the Barksdale Organization dissolves, and with the death of Bell, total control of the Co-Op cedes to Stewart.
In the fourth season, the Co-Op faces two main problems – an incursion of New York drug dealers into Eastern Baltimore and continued violence linked to the Stanfield Organization on the West side. They decide that their primary concern is the New York drug dealers and to try to convince Stanfield to join the Co-Op to help to drive them off. Stanfield is initially reluctant but is convinced by two factors. First, Stewart engineers a conflict between Stanfield and Omar Little. Secondly, Stanfield faces an ongoing police investigation. Stewart convinces Stanfield that the Co-Op has inside information on police activity as well as stick-up crews. Stanfield makes an attempt on Omar's life, which fails.
Omar gets revenge on Stanfield and Stewart by stealing the entire heroin shipment that Stewart's men are receiving from the Greeks. The other Co-Op members form a quorum and decide that Stewart should be responsible for replacing the lost heroin. Stewart threatens to cut them all off from the supply, since he is the only one with contact with The Greek, confirming his power over the group. The quorum reluctantly agrees. Stanfield demands to meet Spiros Vondas, the second-in-command to the Greek to confirm Stewart's story about the robbery. Stewart is forced to agree as his nephew Calvin "Cheese" Wagstaff faces reprisal from Stanfield unless he can be exonerated. After this meeting, Stanfield begins investigating the Greeks' role in importing the heroin into Baltimore.
Over a year later the Co-Op faces loss of territory in Eastern Baltimore due to redevelopment of the city. They decide to pursue territory in Baltimore County and Stanfield is annoyed when they rule to give East side kingpins first refusal on the new opportunities. Stanfield creates dissent in Stewart's organization by suggesting that his lieutenants be allowed to develop the new territory themselves. Stanfield also establishes communication with Vondas without Stewart's knowledge via incarcerated former Greek soldier Sergei Malatov. Stanfield makes repeated monetary offerings to The Greeks while using Stewart to train him to launder money. The Greeks are eventually convinced to accept Stanfield's offer to act as their insurance policy against anything preventing Stewart from continuing to handle their supply because of Stanfield's tenacity and Stewart's perceived failure with the robbery. Stanfield plans to subvert the loyalty of Cheese, first by offering a bounty on the now retired Omar. Stewart is reluctant to enrage the dangerous stick-up artist and withholds information about Omar's connection to mutual friend Butchie. Cheese reveals Butchie's connection to Stanfield without Stewart's knowledge and Stanfield rewards him with the bounty and has Butchie tortured and killed. Cheese is embarrassed at a Co-Op meeting by complaints from charter member Hungry Man that he has been ignoring the agreed divisions of County territory. Stanfield capitalizes on this by kidnapping Hungry Man and delivering him to Cheese. Cheese responds in kind by giving away Stewart's whereabouts at a vulnerable time and Stanfield has Stewart murdered. After the murder, Stanfield establishes an exclusive connection to the Greek's supply. At the following co-op meeting he announces that there will be no more meetings, that anyone wanting a re-up will have to go through Monk or Cheese, and that the price is going up.
Shortly thereafter, Marlo's first re-supply with the Greeks is busted due to information gleaned by the Major Crimes Unit from an illegal wiretap on Marlo's phones. Following the bust, Marlo, Monk, Cheese and Chris are arrested for conspiracy charges, and held without bail. Marlo is offered a deal by the State's Attorney's office to step down, while Chris will go down for the vacant murders while Cheese and Monk will each do twenty years for their part in the conspiracy. Marlo acquiesces and offers to sell the connect to the Greeks to whoever can pay him ten million dollars. Slim, Fat Face Rick and Cheese, among the remaining co-op dealers, band together and pool their monies in order to pay Stanfield—although Cheese is executed by Slim Charles shortly before the deal goes down—so Fat Face Rick and Slim Charles assume control of the reconstituted co-op and begin dealing with the Greeks.
- Main article: Stringer Bell
Stringer Bell was one of the founders of the New Day Co-Op, and the second-in-command to Westside gang leader Avon Barksdale. After his death, full control of the co-op ceded to Proposition Joe.
- Main article: Proposition Joe
Joseph "Proposition Joe" Stewart is an Eastside drug kingpin who supplies much of Baltimore through his direct connection to The Greek's smuggling organization. He is murdered and replaced as leader by Marlo Stanfield.
- Main article: Marlo Stanfield
Marlo Stanfield is the undisputed drug kingpin of West Baltimore after the fall of Avon Barksdale. He is convinced to join the co-op after "Proposition Joe" Stewart engineers a conflict between him and Omar Little, and Stewart is able to convince Marlo that the co-op has inside information both about the stick-up boys and the police investigations into its members. Stewart's machinations backfire when Stanfield later has him murdered, takes control of the Co-Op and dissolves it. After Marlo is arrested and forced out of the "game", he sells his connection to Fat Face Rick, Slim Charles, and others for 10 million dollars.
Fat Face RickEdit
- Main article: Fat Face Rick
Ricardo "Fat Face Rick" Hendrix is a drug kingpin from Baltimore's Veronica Avenue, on the East Side. He is typically seen smoking (sometimes a cigar, sometimes a cigarette), and is among the first to join the New Day Co-Op. He is a dissenting voice in the Co-Op for Stringer Bell when Avon Barksdale is warring with Marlo Stanfield. Rick and Phil Boy assist Proposition Joe when he gives Bell the ultimatum, to either end the war with Stanfield or lose access to the high-quality heroin. Later, he is the first to bring up the idea that West Sider Marlo Stanfield should work with the Co-Op against the encroachment from New York dealers. In season four, episode 11 ("A New Day"), Omar and Renaldo are spying on the New-Day Co-Op and briefly discuss a time when they robbed Fat Face Rick, who "fell down on his knees, wept like a little baby." At the end of the fourth season, Rick leads the quorum confronting Joe, after Omar has stolen the shipment.
In the fifth season Rick's full name is revealed as Ricardo Hendrix when The Baltimore Sun runs a story exposing a corrupt property deal. Rick owns a strip club named Desperado and the council wants to relocate him to redevelop the land. However, they are offering to pay Hendrix more than his club is worth and to sell him better council owned property elsewhere so that he will net a million dollars for moving. The paper exposes a history of campaign donations from Rick and people using the address of his club including several to city council president Nerese Campbell who is sponsoring the property deal.
Hendrix continues his involvement with the Co-Op and brags in a meeting about his property deal with his friend Hungry Man - drawing the ire of Stanfield.
After Stanfield's arrest and sale of the connection to the Greeks, Hendrix, along with Slim Charles, is seen, in the series finale, meeting with Spiros Vondas and discussing the new business arrangement for importing the drugs into Baltimore.
- Main article: Slim Charles
Slim Charles becomes the Barksdale organization's chief enforcer and plays a leading role in the war with Marlo Stanfield. As the most senior survivor of the police raid that destroys the Barksdale Organization, he takes over Stringer's position in the Co-Op, until he loses his remaining corners and personnel to Marlo. Slim becomes Proposition Joe's top lieutenant, and helps to buy the connect. In the ending montage, it is shown that Slim and Fat Face Rick are representing the new Co-Op to the Greeks.
- Played by: Mike D. Anderson
- Appears in:
- Season three: "Straight and True" (uncredited); "Slapstick" (uncredited).
- Season four: "Final Grades" (uncredited).
- Season five: "More With Less" (uncredited)"Transitions" (uncredited) and "The Dickensian Aspect"(uncredited)
Ghost is an East side drug kingpin and Co-Op member. He is part of the quorum that confronts "Proposition Joe" Stewart following Omar Little's robbery of the Co-Op. In the fifth season Ghost receives Baltimore County territory to compensate for territory lost in the gentrification of East Baltimore. Ghost continues to attend Co-Op meetings throughout the fifth season.
- Main article: Hungry Man
Nathaniel "Hungry Man" Manns is an older East Side drug kingpin and charter member of the New Day Co-Op. He is at the meeting to discuss encouraging Marlo Stanfield to join the Co-Op to combat the incursion of New York drug dealers into eastern Baltimore. Hungry Man believes that Stanfield is hiding bodies by putting several into individual coffins through a funeral home front until he is corrected by Slim Charles. He is part of the quorum that confronts "Proposition Joe" Stewart following Omar Little's robbery of the Co-Op.
In the fifth season, Baltimore County territory is divided among Eastside kingpins to compensate for territory lost in the gentrification of east Baltimore. Hungry Man is one of the people to benefit from the arrangement. He tells Marlo Stanfield that he is out of line for encouraging Prop Joe to delegate control of the territory to his subordinates. Later Hungry Man airs a grievance with Prop Joe's nephew Cheese because Cheese has been encroaching upon the territory assigned to Hungry Man. Cheese is furious, but Prop Joe promises that Cheese will respect the agreed boundaries. Stanfield observes Cheese storming out of the meeting, and later has his enforcers Chris Partlow and Snoop kidnap Hungry Man and deliver him to Cheese as a gift to encourage Cheese to betray Prop Joe. When Hungry Man's body surfaces, the implication is that Cheese has killed him.
- Main article: Phil Boy
Phil Boy is another portly kingpin who joins the Co-Op, though he does not attend the initial formation meeting. He is noticeably younger than his colleagues, and he can be recognized by the do-rag he always wears. He and Fat Face Rick accompany "Proposition Joe" Stewart when he gives Stringer Bell the ultimatum, to either end the war with Marlo Stanfield or lose access to the high-quality heroin. Philboy is part of the quorum that confronts Stewart after Omar Little steals their shipment of narcotics. Phil Boy continues to attend Co-Op meetings in the fifth season. He is also present at the first meeting of the re-formed Co-op following Marlo's downfall in the series finale.
Calvin "Cheese" WagstaffEdit
- Main article: Cheese Wagstaff
Cheese is the favorite nephew of Proposition Joe and a crew chief in his Eastside drug crew. He is murdered by Slim Charles. Originally, his first name was listed as "Melvin" on the official HBO site, but it was later changed to "Calvin". The character is played by rapper Method Man.
- Main article: Kintel Williamson
Kintel "Prince K" Williamson is a Jamaican drug kingpin from Baltimore's Park Heights, on the Northwest Side, recognizable by his long dreadlocks and beard. In the third season, the Major Case Unit briefly targets Williamson because they can easily connect him to murders, and Police Commissioner Burrell and Lieutenant Daniels want the stats for political reasons. Jimmy McNulty intervenes and gets the Unit to re-focus on Stringer Bell and Avon Barksdale. Williamson reduces his violent activity after joining the New Day Co-Op. When Barksdale continues warring with Marlo Stanfield, the police arrest several of Williamson's dealers as part of a general crackdown, leading him to push the Co-Op to confront Bell. He continues to attend Co-Op meetings in the fourth season.
Clinton "Shorty" BuiseEdit
- Played by: Clinton "Shorty" Buise
- Appears in:
- Season five: "–30–."
First seen when Marlo meets with the remaining Co-Op members to sell his connection to The Greeks, Clinton "Shorty" Buise is an ex-drug trafficker turned jazz musician who plays himself on the show. He is last seen criticizing Slim Charles for killing Cheese.
- Jelly: Shot in the back of the head by Tri, on Cheese's orders. (2004)
- Butchie: Shot and tortured by Chris, as Cheese was responsible by giving Chris where Butchie's bar is. (2008)
- Hungry Man: Shot by Cheese on Marlo's orders. (2008)
- Proposition Joe: Shot in the head by Chris. on Marlo's orders and betrayed by Cheese. (2008)
- Cheese Wagstaff: Shot in the head by Slim Charles, for betraying Proposition Joe. (2008)