Mayor Thomas Carcetti

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Aidan Gillen (Mayor Thomas Carcetti)

The politically astute Valchek once said of then-Councilman Carcetti: "He's an asspain when he wants something, but mostly good people." Having aspirations besides warming the backbench, this self-described proud son of the Fighting First District harbors a genuine idealism and a desire to improve the life of the city's diverse population. But those ideals are harnessed to naked political ambitions. With a steady and calculated effort, Carcetti unseated Baltimore's black incumbent mayor, despite the fact that he is white in a majority-black city.

To do so, Carcetti had to play hardball politics. Carcetti is about contradictions: a family man committed to his wife and young children, he isn't above the odd indiscretion. Nor was he above sacrificing Colvin and his drug legalization experiment, even though it was clear to him that there was some merit to the idea. Now that he's made it to the mayor's office, he's dealing with some of the thorniest tradeoffs of his career - including a compromise that would bring state money to desperate city agencies while helping a potential political rival.