"The Wire," which ran from 2002 to 2008, was filmed in Baltimore and put a spotlight on the city's struggle with poverty and drug violence. Pearson's character, which shares the nickname "Snoop," murders several people for the fictitious Stanfield drug gang.
"Felicia never felt that 'The Wire' did more than harm than good," her manager Ally Roberson told ABCNews.com. "It's been a real blessing for her. She appreciates everything she's been able to gain. But while living in Baltimore, it's had the serious affect of not allowing her to move forward."
In 2008, Pearson was arrested on a minor drug charge after she refused to cooperate as a witness in a murder trial. "The police broke down her door, shackled her feet, pretty much dragged through the mud," Roberson said.
She was ultimately found not guilty.
Pearson's first brush with the law came at an early age. She served five years in prison for a slaying committed when she was 14. She was released in 2000.
According to her memoir "Grace After Midnight," prison helped Pearson turn her life around. Born to two incarcerated drug addicts, Pearson was raised in foster homes and dealt drugs instead of going to school. While in prison, she earned her GED.
After her release, she met actor Michael K. Williams, who played Omar Little on "The Wire." He brought her to the set and, following an audtion, she was cast as Snoop.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.