Actress Sonja Sohn attends The Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball II at Harman Center for the Arts on January 20, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Jemal Countess—Getty Images
October 16, 2014 9:31 PM EDT

Correction appended 10:40 p.m. EST

This post contains spoilers for The Wire

Much of the massive cast of HBO’s The Wire reunited at PaleyFest New York on Thursday to talk about the groundbreaking show 12 years after its premiere. In a panel hosted by HitFix critic Alan Sepinwall, the cast reflected on their time on the show and even shared some never-before-revealed secrets from the set.

Sonja Sohn, who played Detective Kima Greggs, revealed that she found out by accident during filming of the first season that she was supposed to be killed off fairly quickly. Worried about her character’s fate, she confronted the creator, David Simon, and he admitted to the plan.

Simon confirmed to Sepinwall that he had originally intended to kill Sohn’s character off the show when she was shot in the 10th episode of the first season. But Carolyn Strauss, an exec at HBO, told Simon she wanted to save the character and he listened. Though Kima Greggs does get shot in that episode, as written, she survives.

“Girl power!” Sohn said, after finding out it was Strauss who saved her character.

Sohn said she’s now extremely grateful she got to stay on the show through all five seasons, though she noted that she had initially had reservations after seeing the pilot. “Oh my lord, this is going nowhere,” she remembers thinking at the time. “I don’t know, it’s kind of slow.” But the writers reassured her that things would pick up, and other cast members expressed similar faith in Simon’s roadmap—one that would include insightful social commentary and lots of blood.

Kima would go on to be one of the few characters to escape a bullet on the show about cops, criminals and politicians in Baltimore, which offed some of its most beloved players. The cast even started a tradition of attending everyone’s death scenes to honor the actors before they left. And those characters who weren’t killed off often disappeared for entire episodes, or even seasons when the show moved locations.

Michael K. Williams, who played Omar Little, joked that in season two he became “the angry black man” after Simon briefly moved the show away from the projects and into the largely white world of the city’s waterfront docks. “How come when we made the show hot, you give it to the white people?” Williams said he asked Simon at the time. Simon replied that they would make the city too small if they continued to film in the same place, an idea Williams came to later accept and appreciate.

Though many of their characters were killed off or forced to the sidelines during filming, the cast extolled Simon, who many critics agree penned the best show in the history of television. “I have been so spoiled since because the writing was so good,” said Lawrence Gillard Jr., who played D’Angelo Barksdale, before hugging Simon.

“Now I’m sorry I killed you off in the second season,” Simon quipped.

This article previously misstated which actor hugged David Simon during the panel.

Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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