William "The Bunk" Moreland is a fictional character in The Wire, played by Wendell Pierce. Bunk's character is based on a retired Baltimore City Police Detective named Oscar Requer and nicknamed "The Bunk", an officer who joined the force in 1964 as a Western District patrolman who eventually moved into the Homicide Division. Like his best friend Jimmy McNulty, Bunk is shown to be a thoroughly competent and generally moral detective, with similar problems related to infidelity and alcohol abuse (although not to McNulty's levels). He is however more mindful than McNulty of the department's chain of command.
Bunk attended Edmondson High School in West Baltimore, where he played lacrosse. He lives in Randallstown, MD, a predominantly African American suburb of Baltimore, with wife Nadine and three children. Bunk worked as a patrolman in Baltimore's Southwestern District before becoming a homicide detective.
Bunk serves as Jimmy McNulty's lone ally in the homicide unit, informing him of its happenings while chiding him for getting involved in the Barksdale case. He is also the primary investigator for the murder of William Gant, who testified against D'Angelo Barksdale. Omar Little informs Bunk that the shooter is a Barksdale soldier called Bird, and agrees to testify against him in court. Because of this, Bunk persuades his colleague Ray Cole not to arrest Omar for the murder of Stinkum. When Omar is at the police station, Bunk discovers they went to the same high school, beginning an ongoing association between the two.
After one night of particularly heavy drinking, McNulty has to pick Bunk up from a woman's house. Bunk has locked himself in her bathroom and burned his clothing so that his wife will be unable to find trace evidence of his having slept with the woman.
At Landsman's insistence, Bunk and McNulty review the old Deirdre Kresson murder, which ultimately turns out to be related to the Barksdales, and is solved as part of the final arrests of D'Angelo Barksdale and Wee-Bey Brice.
Bunk is partnered with Lester Freamon in Homicide, and they are quickly recognized as the squad's best detectives. This reputation leads Landsman to assign them to investigate the deaths of fourteen Jane Does in a shipping container on the docks, a seemingly impossible case. They are detailed with Officer Beadie Russell from the Port Authority, who initially found the bodies. The women suffocated after an air pipe was deliberately closed off.
Bunk and Freamon track down the ship which carried the package, and hold it in port in Philadelphia to question the crew. None of the crew admit to speaking English, and Bunk and Freamon let the ship go after learning that two crewman jumped ship after Baltimore. Based on a few sparse facts, Bunk and Freamon deduce (correctly) that the women were prostitutes being smuggled from overseas, that one of the girls was murdered by a sailor after refusing sex, and the rest were killed for witnessing the crime. The murderer is one of those who fled, so the investigation is at an impasse, and Bunk and Freamon come under heavy criticism from a frustrated Colonel Rawls for releasing the ship without getting statements.
Bunk also worries about the William Gant murder; state's attorney Ilene Nathan threatens to drop the charges if the police cannot find key witness Omar Little. Bunk repeatedly reminds McNulty of this, and eventually McNulty finds Omar with help from Bubbles. Omar testifies, and Bird is imprisoned for a maximum term.
Later, Bunk and Russell return to the port in Philadelphia and find video evidence implicating Sergei, whose testimony leads to the solving of the Jane Doe murders, as well as aiding the Major Case unit's investigation into Frank Sobotka.
When the city deals with five homicides in one night, Bunk must leave his son with McNulty at an Orioles game to investigate one. He quickly recognizes the scene of Omar Little's drug robberies, and (wrongly) believes one of the victims (Tosha Mitchell) to be an innocent taxpayer. He becomes incensed, and obsesses over her death, continuing to investigate it even after his superior officers Landsman, Colonel Raymond Foerster and Rawls order him to find the stolen weapon of Officer Kenneth Dozerman, who was nearly killed in a failed drug bust led by Sergeant Ellis Carver. They all consider the weapon's recovery a top priority, though he thinks it is a frivolous use of his abilities.
Bunk meets with Omar, confronting him about the "innocent" victim. Omar informs him that she was part of his crew, and says he would never kill an innocent person. As Omar states that no one will talk to Bunk about the murder, and that she died in the game, Bunk makes Omar feel guilty about his negative influence on the world due to the collapse of their old West Baltimore neighborhood. Bunk says that predators like Omar are all that still exist in their old neighborhood, which was once a community despite its hardships. To assuage this guilt, Omar finds Dozerman's gun and returns it to Bunk.
Bunk is also one of the investigators of Stringer Bell's murder, during which Bunk uses the acronym "BNBG" - Big Negro, Big Gun - to sum up witness Andy Krawczyk's stereotypical description of the murderer. Bunk realizes Omar was the shooter but does not conclude the case. After the investigation, he tells McNulty the city's homicide rate will probably reach 300 by New Year's, noticing how McNulty has slowed down on his consumption of alcohol.
Bunk investigates the murder of Fruit, one of Marlo Stanfield's drug dealers. He is unable to find his main suspect, Curtis "Lex" Anderson, and it becomes clear that Lex was murdered, but no leads are forthcoming. At the same time, Bunk is surprised at McNulty's seemingly successful attempts to get his life back on track.
Omar Little contacts Bunk after Chris Partlow framed him for murdering an innocent woman in a convenience store robbery. Bunk initially ignores him, reasoning that Omar was guilty of several other unproven murders (including Stringer Bell), but Omar appeals to his sense of honor. He tracks down new evidence proving that Omar's witness Old Face Andre lied, leading to Omar's release. In exchange, Bunk extracts a promise from him to never kill again.
Freamon transfers back to Homicide, and the two are partnered again. Freamon manages to find Lex's body and, in the process, more than twenty other bodies, all of which are linked to Marlo Stanfield after Bunk gets key testimony from Lex's mother.
Bunk first appears interrogating and manipulating a young murder suspect. With Detective Ed Norris and Sergeant Jay Landsman, Bunk gives the suspect a fake polygraph using a photocopier to coerce a real confession. Bunk and his colleagues are dealing with cutbacks, including no overtime pay, until the city's financial situation resolves. The fiscal problems cause the closure of the major crimes unit and the reassignment of Detectives Jimmy McNulty and Kima Greggs to Landsman's squad.
McNulty and Bunk are assigned a probable overdose. When they arrive, McNulty creates choking bruises on the body and stages the scene to suggest a strangulation. McNulty tells Bunk that he plans to create the illusion of a serial killer; Bunk leaves in disgust. Bunk cannot sleep that night and returns to the homicide unit, disgusted again to find McNulty still there, drinking and poring over case files. Bunk warns McNulty about the potential consequences of his actions, including prison time, but McNulty refuses to back down. McNulty alters an old case file and further details of the probable overdose to create links to an open strangulation case being investigated by Frank Barlow. Bunk is forced to watch his machinations. Bunk enlists Freamon to talk sense into McNulty, but this plan backfires when Freamon decides that the plan could work and makes suggestions to improve it by sensationalizing the killer.
Bunk remains angry at McNulty and refocuses his attention on the vacant house murders. Bunk delivers a report to Landsman that is placed immediately into a desk drawer. Landsman points out that Bunk is simply changing the date while submitting essentially the same report. Bunk angrily asserts that he is forced to repeat his requests as he is still waiting for the crime lab to process evidence on 14 of the 22 murders. Bunk finally gets a DNA match on Chris Partlow for an unrelated murder, but agrees to delay his case in order to allow the Marlo Stanfield wire tap to continue.
Moreland is last seen investigating a homicide with Greggs, engaging in jovial conversation similar to that he used to share with McNulty.