Retired neurosurgeon and current Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has continued to rise in the polls as he attempts to sell his political vision through the lens of his own inspirational life story.
Indeed, Carson’s story is so powerful it once landed the doctor a shout-out on David Simon’s critically-acclaimed Baltimore crime drama, “The Wire.”
In an episode during the fourth season – focused primarily on how the effects of the drug war rippled into the education system – several kids who were flagged as potential future dropouts were pulled out of middle school and thrown into an experimental learning course.
One of the first activities the instructor asked the students to do was discuss potential future careers. Though the majority said they wanted to be professional basketball players, one said he wanted to be a pediatric neurosurgeon, making a reference to a famous black neurosurgeon.
“Dr. Ben Carson,” an instructor says in the episode.
“Yeah, that dude,” the student replied.
Carson has notable stature in Baltimore, where he lived for decades and served as the youngest head of pediatric surgery at Johns Hopkins.
The retired neurosurgeon became well-known in the medical world for completing the first successful surgery to separate Siamese twins.
The feat helped him score mentions in popular culture. Cuba Gooding Jr. played Carson in a made-for-television movie about the surgeon’s life, and he scored a cameo appearance as the surgeon who separates Matt Damon and Jeff Daniels in the comedy “Stuck On You.”
Caron’s political breakthrough came during a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013, during which he publicly criticized President Obama’s healthcare plan while the president sat only several feet away.
Carson actually isn’t the only 2016 presidential candidate depicted in “The Wire.”
Simon famously based the character of Tommy Carcetti – the idealistic local politician who slowly abandons some of his principles as he runs into the limits of his office – on former Baltimore mayor and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who is running for president on the Democratic side.
Watch the clip below: