The Wire (episode)

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"The Wire"
The Wire episode
Wire06.jpg
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 6
Directed by Ed Bianchi
Teleplay by David Simon
Story by David Simon
Ed Burns
Original air date July 7, 2002 (2002-07-07)
Running time 59 minutes
Guest actors
Season 1 episodes
June 2, 2002 – September 8, 2002
  1. "The Target"
  2. "The Detail"
  3. "The Buys"
  4. "Old Cases"
  5. "The Pager"
  6. "The Wire"
  7. "One Arrest"
  8. "Lessons"
  9. "Game Day"
  10. "The Cost"
  11. "The Hunt"
  12. "Cleaning Up"
  13. "Sentencing"
List of The Wire episodes

"The Wire" is the sixth episode of the first season of the HBO original series, The Wire, the titular episode of the series. The episode was written by David Simon from a story by David Simon & Ed Burns and was directed by Ed Bianchi. It originally aired on July 7, 2002.

Plot summary[edit]

The street[edit]

The episode opens on the bloody mutilated corpse of Brandon (Omar Little's boyfriend and partner in crime) atop a car. Wallace wakes up nearby in his squatter apartment and goes through his routine of readying several children in his charge for school. The police arrive in the neighborhood and as Poot Carr and Wallace leave the house they recognize Brandon's body. Across town, D'Angelo Barksdale dresses at home while Shardene makes him breakfast. They discuss their blossoming relationship and D'Angelo reveals that he believes that all women come with a cost, particularly his other girl Donette.

Wallace expresses his anguish at seeing Brandon's corpse to D'Angelo. D'Angelo unsympathetically reminds Wallace that he knew what would happen to Brandon, and reminds him that killing is part of "the game" of drug dealing in Baltimore. Stringer tells D'Angelo they are bringing Bodie home following his recent arrests. At a court hearing, Maurice Levy lies to defend Bodie's actions and the judge allows Bodie to go free with the condition of twice-weekly phone calls to a probation officer. Herc and Carver later pick up Bodie, believing him to have absconded from custody a second time and are surprised that he managed to get released with a home supervision order.

Avon, Stringer, and Stinkum visit the low rises and deliver reward money to D'Angelo and Wallace for their part in finding Brandon; Avon also tells D'Angelo that Wee-Bey and Bird killed Brandon. D'Angelo assures Stringer that there are no snitches in his crew. Avon tells D'Angelo that if he keeps working well he will receive "points on the package" soon.

D'Angelo, still withholding payment from the low-rise crew, finds his lookout, a girl named Cassandra, with groceries. She reveals she has been conspiring with Sterling to steal small amounts of drugs and sell them on the side. In order to protect them from punishment, he reassigns them elsewhere and tells nobody, save Wallace.

With Johnny released from medical care, Bubbles returns to the streets. The pair runs a short con to steal copper pipes, which they sell to a contractor at "30 cents a foot" to make their next drug purchase. Bubbles and Johnny then plan to steal the same copper pipes back from site the contractor is working on. When Johnny goes out to buy more drugs, he is arrested. Bubbles remarks upon Johnny's bad luck.

The police[edit]

Detective Jimmy McNulty meets with Major William Rawls and Sergeant Jay Landsman. Rawls tells McNulty he expects him to finish up the detail and be back in the homicide division in a week's time, which McNulty has no intention of doing. Rawls goes through the ballistics link to the old cases McNulty and Bunk had been investigating. Pressured by Rawls, Landsman orders Bunk to charge the cases. McNulty, Greggs and Freamon meet with Bunk to discuss the impact on the Barksdale investigation. They expect issuing charges will prompt Avon Barksdale to change his operations structure and negate all their work. Rawls refuses to shift his position even when Daniels asks him to do it as a favor, but Daniels convinces Deputy Commissioner Burrell to overrule Rawls. Rawls responds by asking Detective Santangelo to keep him informed of anything that McNulty does that might be used against him.

In the detail office, Lester Freamon notes the high level of pager activity the previous night. The new wire taps on the project pay phones legally require officers to monitor them; Thomas "Herc" Hauk is dismayed that this will mean long hours of surveillance work. Freamon is angry at his co-workers' laziness and asks what they expected when they joined the detail. After Stinkum chastises Bodie for using his name on the phone, Freamon explains to Prez that the call should be marked "pertinent" because it is evidence of conspiracy, even without providing hard evidence of drugs. Polk stumbles in, drunk at 9AM, and Daniels berates him for his poor performance, ordering him to either get to work or check into medical for alcohol abuse. To Daniels' dismay, Polk chooses the latter.

Detectives Vernon Holley and Ed Norris are working Brandon's murder. McNulty discusses the potential link to the Barksdale organization. The detectives complain about waiting for the crime lab because both available units are investigating the theft of patio furniture from a politically influential city council president. McNulty gets a call from Omar while minding his sons - he is forced to bring them along to the station with Omar. The two play with a soccer ball and a handheld video game while McNulty takes Omar downstairs to see Brandon's body. On seeing his lover's body, Omar screams, which the boys hear. Omar comes with Greggs and McNulty to the detail. Greggs points out that Brandon was tortured before his death. Freamon fits the pattern of pager activity to Omar's description of Brandon's movements. McNulty is angry that they were unable to use the information, complaining that they are continually one step behind. Freamon and McNulty interview the arcade owner and Freamon matches the nearby pay phone to the one used the night before. Greggs continues to interview Omar and he offers to act as a witness in the Gant murder case. The episode ends with the police photographs of Brandon's mutilated corpse on Daniels' desk.[1][2][3]

Production[edit]

Title reference[edit]

The title repeats the show's own title, indicating that the series has truly begun, and refers to the wiretap devices used to monitor phone calls made by the Barksdale organization.

Epigraph[edit]

... and all the pieces matter.

—Freamon

Freamon uses this phrase to describe the importance of the individual calls recorded by their wiretap device to Prez. Simon has also described it as referring to the need for the viewer to concentrate on all aspects of the show to follow the plot.[4] Additionally, this can be connected to the continuing theme of the chess board used throughout the show, signifying that even the most insignificant people can change everything. The phrase was later used as the title of the program's official soundtrack, And All the Pieces Matter.

Credits[edit]

Starring cast[edit]

Although credited, Deirdre Lovejoy does not appear in this episode.

Music[edit]

This episode is one of the few in which the soundtrack features non-diegetic music. In a slow motion sequence (also a rarity) featuring Avon, Stringer and Stinkum in the low-rises, a piece called "Wax Box Music" by Lorem Ipsum from the Cytoplastik collective is played.[5] Usually only season finales feature music not emanating from an on-screen source.

The selection playing during the final scene, where Daniels advises McNulty that he has managed to buy them some time, is 'Fleurette Africaine' performed by Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach, which appears on their album Money Jungle recorded in 1962.

First appearances[edit]

This episode marks the first appearance of homicide Detectives Ed Norris and Vernon Holley, seen investigating the death of Brandon. Ed Norris is played by former Baltimore Police Commissioner Ed Norris; the character's personality is based on the real Norris, but his history is entirely different from his portrayor's. According to Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, there was actually an African-American detective in the Baltimore Police Department homicide division named Vernon Holley.

Also seen for the first time is Sean McNulty, the oldest son of Jimmy and Elena McNulty.

Deceased[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Episode guide - episode 06 The Wire". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-07-26. 
  2. ^ David Simon, Ed Burns (2002-07-07). "The Wire". The Wire. Season 1. Episode 6. HBO.
  3. ^ Alvarez, Rafael (2004). The Wire: Truth Be Told. New York: Pocket Books. 
  4. ^ David Simon (2005). The Wire "The Target" commentary track (DVD). HBO. 
  5. ^ "Lorem Ipsum: Wax Music Box". 2005. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 

External links[edit]