The Wire (season 4)

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The Wire (season 4)
The Wire - Season 4.jpg
DVD cover
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 13
Broadcast
Original channel HBO
Original run September 10, 2006 (2006-09-10) – December 10, 2006 (2006-12-10)
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1 December 4, 2007 (2007-12-04)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 3
Next →
Season 5
List of The Wire episodes

The fourth season of the television series The Wire commenced airing in the United States on September 10, 2006, concluded on December 10, 2006, and contained 13 episodes. It introduces Baltimore's school system and several middle school students while continuing to examine the remnants of the Barksdale Organization, the ascendant Stanfield Organization, the Baltimore Police Department and politicians.

The fourth season aired on Sundays at 9:00 pm in the United States. The season was released on DVD as a four disc boxed set under the title of The Wire: The Complete Fourth Season on December 4, 2007 by HBO video.[1]

Production[edit]

Crew[edit]

Playwright and television writer/producer Eric Overmyer joined the crew of The Wire in the show's fourth season as a consulting producer and writer.[2] He had previously worked on Homicide. Overmyer was brought into the full-time production staff to replace George Pelecanos who scaled back his involvement to concentrate on his next book and worked on the fourth season solely as a writer.[3] Emmy-award winner, Homicide and The Corner writer and college friend of Simon David Mills also joined the writing staff in the fourth season.[2] Regular writer Ed Burns also became a producer on The Wire in the show's fourth season.[2]

Cast[edit]

The focus of the fourth season shifted among a local school, the mayoral election, police department politics and action on the street corners. The returning starring cast consisted of Dominic West as Officer Jimmy McNulty, the formerly insubordinate detective who attempts to shed his ability and his problems in favor of a better life.[4][5] Lance Reddick reprised his role as newly promoted Major Cedric Daniels, now commanding the western district.[6][7] One of Daniels's sergeants within the district was Sergeant Ellis Carver, portrayed by Seth Gilliam.[8] Robert Wisdom reprised his role as former western district commander Howard "Bunny" Colvin,[9] who has become a field researcher after a short stint working in hotel security following his retirement from the Baltimore Police Department.

The Major Crimes Unit sees a shift in personnel this season. Kima Greggs, portrayed by Sonja Sohn,[10][11] Lester Freamon, portrayed by Clarke Peters,[12][13] transfer to the Homicide Unit after the new lieutenant of the Major Crimes Unit ends the wire and halts Freamon's investigation of the Barksdale money. Corey Parker-Robinson portrays Detective Leander Sydnor, one of two detectives who remain in the Major Crimes Unit after the arrival of the new lieutenant.[14] Domenick Lombardozzi returned as Thomas "Herc" Hauk, a former member of the Major Crimes Unit whose work on the mayor's security detail earns him a promotion to sergeant and a transfer back to his old unit after Freamon and Greggs' departure.[15][16]

Wendell Pierce portrayed veteran homicide detective Bunk Moreland.[17][18] Deirdre Lovejoy starred as assistant state's attorney Rhonda Pearlman, the legal liaison between the unit and the courthouse.[19][20] Andre Royo returned as Bubbles, who continued to indulge his drug addiction and act as an occasional informant.[21][22] Jim True-Frost portrayed Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski,[23] a former member of the Major Crimes Unit who has become a teacher in an inner city school after inadvertently killing a fellow officer in season three.

The police were overseen by two commanding officers more concerned with politics and their own careers than the case, Deputy Commissioner of Operations William Rawls (John Doman) and Commissioner Ervin Burrell (Frankie Faison).[24][25][26][27] At city hall, Tommy Carcetti (Aidan Gillen)[28][29] was an ambitious city councilman seeking to become mayor. Joining the cast for the fourth season was Reg E. Cathey as Carcetti's deputy campaign manager, Norman Wilson.[28] Also joining the cast after having a recurring role during the third season was Glynn Turman as Mayor Clarence Royce.[30]

On the streets, former Barksdale crew chief Bodie Broadus (J.D. Williams)[31][32] joins the organization of new drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield (Jamie Hector).[33] Michael K. Williams portrayed renowned stick-up man Omar Little.[34][35] Joining the cast this season after having a recurring role in season three is Chad L. Coleman as Dennis "Cutty" Wise, a reformed member of the Barksdale organization who has opened a boxing gym for neighborhood children.

Two members of the third season starring cast did not return for the fourth season with the change in focus and the termination of those characters' storylines. Wood Harris (Avon Barksdale)[36][37] and Idris Elba (Stringer Bell)[38][39] leave the starring cast at the beginning of the fourth season.

Recurring characters[edit]

Many guest stars from the earlier seasons reprised their roles. On the side of the street Proposition Joe (Robert F. Chew), the East Side's cautious drug kingpin, became more cooperative with the Stanfield Organization after the death of Stringer Bell.[40][41] His lieutenant, and nephew, "Cheese" (Method Man) continued to elude the Major Crimes Unit investigation.[42][42] Hassan Johnson reprises his role as incarcerated Barksdale enforcer Wee-Bey Brice.[43][44] Former Barksdale enforcer Slim Charles (Anwan Glover) returned as a new recruit to Proposition Joe's organization.[45][46] Several members of the Stanfield Organization introduced in season three also returned: Chris Partlow (Gbenga Akinnagbe), Stanfield's chief enforcer;[47][48] and Felicia "Snoop" Pearson (Felicia Pearson), Partlow's protégé.[49][50] Tray Chaney continues to portray former Barksdale crew chief Poot Carr, who joins the Stanfield organization this season.[51][52]

Michael Hyatt reprised her role as Brianna Barksdale.[53][54] Michael Kostroff returned as the defence attorney Maurice Levy.[55][56] Isiah Whitlock, Jr. reprised his role as corrupt State Senator Clay Davis whose involvement with Barksdale money causes him trouble with the Major Crimes Unit.[57][58] Omar Little's crew shifted focus to the Stansfield Organization and the New Day Co-op and consisted of his new boyfriend Renaldo (Ramón Rodríguez), partner Kimmy (Kelli R. Brown), and advisor Butchie (S. Robert Morgan).[59]

Many guest stars also reprised their characters from the police department. Returning guest stars in the homicide unit include Delaney Williams as Sergeant Jay Landsman,[60][61] Ed Norris as Detective Ed Norris,[62][63] and Brian Anthony Wilson as Detective Vernon Holley.[64] Al Brown and Jay Landsman reprised their roles as Major Stan Valchek and Lieutenant Dennis Mello.[65][66][67][68] Michael Salconi recurred as veteran Western patrolman Michael Santangelo.[64] Gregory L. Williams played Michael Crutchfield, a cantankerous homicide detective.[69][70] Joilet F. Harris returned as Caroline Massey, an officer in the Major Crimes Unit.[71][72] Joining the Major Crimes Unit this season is Kenneth Dozerman (Rick Otto),[73][74] In the western district, Carver's squad includes Anthony Colicchio (Benjamin Busch), Lloyd "Truck" Garrick (Ryan Sands), and Lambert (Nakia Dillard).[64]

In the political storyline,[64] Cleo Reginald Pizana returned as Coleman Parker, Royce's chief-of-staff.[75] Brandy Burre appeared as Theresa D'Agostino, a political campaign consultant.[76][77] Frederick Strother performed as Odell Watkins, a state delegate and political king-maker.[78][79] Christopher Mann played Carcetti's city council colleague Anthony Gray.[80][81] Maria Broom returns as Marla Daniels, the estranged wife of Major Daniels who is running for a seat on the city council.[82]

The fourth season also saw the return of two former starring characters from the second season: Amy Ryan as Officer Beadie Russell, an officer at the port and Jimmy McNulty's domestic partner, and Paul Ben-Victor as Spiros Vondas, the second in command of the Greek's drug smuggling operation.

The shift of focus to the schools saw the introduction of four young actors in major recurring roles this season, Jermaine Crawford as Duquan "Dukie" Weems;[83] Maestro Harrell as Randy Wagstaff;[84] Julito McCullum as Namond Brice;[85] and Tristan Wilds as Michael Lee.[86] The characters are friends from a West Baltimore middle school.[87][88][89][90] Other new characters from the school included Tootsie Duvall as Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly;[82] David Parenti (Dan DeLuca), a Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland who works with Bunny Colvin in the school to study potential violent offenders;[91] Stacie Davis portrayed Miss Duquette, a doctoral student who works with Parenti and Colvin; Aaron "Bug" Manigault (Keenon Brice), Michael Lee's younger brother; Kenard (Thuliso Dingwall), one of the younger members of Namond Brice's circle of friends;[92] and Richard Hidlebird as Principal Claudell Withers.[93]

Reception[edit]

The fourth season of The Wire has been universally lauded and hailed as one of the best seasons of television ever produced. It is listed as one of the highest rated individual TV seasons of all time on Metacritic with a score of 98 out of 100 based on 21 critics—including 17 perfect score reviews.[94]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The writing staff of the fourth season was nominated for two awards at the 2008 Writer's Guild of America Awards - best dramatic series and best episodic drama for the episode "Final Grades" (story by David Simon and Ed Burns, teleplay by David Simon).[95][96]

Episodes[edit]

All episodes were made available by HBO six days earlier than their broadcast date, via On Demand.[97]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Story by Teleplay by Directed by Original air date
38 1 "Boys of Summer" David Simon & Ed Burns David Simon Joe Chappelle September 10, 2006 (2006-09-10)
"Lambs to the slaughter here." - Marcia Donnelly
Four West Baltimore boys wrestle with what to do with the rest of their summer vacation. When unkempt outcast Duquan "Dukie" Weems is beaten up by a neighbouring group of children, Michael Lee is the quiet leader of the group's retaliation. Randy Wagstaff has the imagination to plan the endeavour. Namond Brice is the most outspoken and the richest of the four. Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski prepares for his new career as a school teacher. The Major Crimes Unit has a wiretap investigation into the new power in West Baltimore - the Stanfield Organization. They remain unaware that when Marlo Stanfield orders a death the target is taken to a vacant building and killed by enforcers Chris Partlow and "Snoop." Randy is unwittingly involved in one such disappearance. The mayoral election campaign between councilman Tommy Carcetti and incumbent mayor Clarence Royce begins to take shape.[98] 
39 2 "Soft Eyes" Ed Burns & David Mills David Mills Christine Moore September 17, 2006 (2006-09-17)
"I still wake up white in a city that ain't." - Carcetti
Thomas "Herc" Hauk is now working for the Mayor's security detail. He catches Royce in a compromising position and learns how to spin it into a promotion opportunity. Namond visits his father, Wee-Bey Brice, in prison. Wee-Bey urges Namond to work harder at his job with drug dealer Bodie Broadus but Namond swaps it with Michael as he is in greater financial need. Bunk Moreland investigates a murder but finds his prime suspect missing. Rhonda Pearlman and Lester Freamon argue over delivering subpoenas to political figures. Another murder involving a state's witness gives Carcetti damaging ammunition in a debate with Royce. Marlo gives money away to the neighborhood children and Michael catches his attention when he refuses the handout. Dennis "Cutty" Wise continues to run the community boxing gym and also notices Michael because of his aptitude for the sport. Bubbles mentors young and homeless Sherrod in his junk selling business.[99] 
40 3 "Home Rooms" Ed Burns & Richard Price Richard Price Seith Mann September 24, 2006 (2006-09-24)
"I love the first day, man. Everybody all friendly an' shit." - Namond Brice
Royce strikes back against Carcetti with his mayoral powers, however, he alienates State Delegate Watkins over his refusal to fund witness protection. Carcetti impresses Watkins by his reserved behaviour at the funeral of the murdered witness. Bunk visits Jimmy McNulty and Beadie Russell for dinner and finds McNulty sober and enjoying domestic life. Marlo Stanfield visits Bodie's corner and muscles him into selling the Stanfield package. Marlo is impressed with Michael a second time when he sees him working for Bodie. Proposition Joe and his New Day Co-Op face problems on two fronts; New York drug dealers on the East side and the Stanfield Organization in the West; they agree to attempt to negotiate with Marlo. Omar Little robs a Stanfield stash house. Rawls sends a caustic new lieutenant to gut the major case unit from the inside. Freamon and Kima Greggs leave for the homicide unit. Howard "Bunny" Colvin embarks on a new career as a researcher into violent behaviour. Prez is shocked by a violent incident in his classroom.[100] 
41 4 "Refugees" Ed Burns & Dennis Lehane Dennis Lehane Jim McKay October 1, 2006 (2006-10-01)
"No one wins. One side just loses more slowly." - Prez
As the homicide unit's newest detective Greggs is assigned to the high-profile witness case in an attempt to stall the investigation until after the election. Freamon joins Bunk on finding his missing suspect and realizes the connection to the lack of violence from the Stanfield Organization. Freamon suggests the suspect has been killed and his body hidden. Marlo loses big in a poker game and decides to take over Bodie's corner. Chris and Snoop assess Michael as a potential recruit. Proposition Joe manipulates Omar into robbing Marlo's next card game. Watkins becomes more angry with Royce when he sees he has reneged on a promise to back his protege Marla Daniels for a council seat. Randy is caught skipping school and becomes a reluctant informant for the teachers.[101] 
42 5 "Alliances" David Simon & Ed Burns Ed Burns David Platt October 8, 2006 (2006-10-08)
"If you with us, you with us." - Chris Partlow
Carcetti learns that Greggs has been assigned the witness case and uses the information against Royce. Watkins forms an alliance with Carcetti. Now a sergeant in the major case unit, Herc takes part in a series of ill-advised raids that fail to render any significant arrests. Herc takes a video camera without permission to surveil Stanfield. Marlo tries to enlist Michael but he rejects the offer. Marlo arranges to have Omar framed for murder. Dukie debunks Randy's theory that the Chris and Snoop's victims are undead and shows him the bodies. Prez struggles to control his students' behaviour. Bubbles is beaten by another drug addict and throws Sherrod out for skipping school.[102] 
43 6 "Margin of Error" Ed Burns & Eric Overmyer Eric Overmyer Dan Attias October 15, 2006 (2006-10-15)
"Don't try this shit at home." - Norman Wilson
Namond is pushed into drug dealing by his mother when they are cut off by the remnants of the Barksdale Organization (who had been supporting them). Randy reveals his involvement in the murder to his teachers and is placed under Sergeant Ellis Carver's care. Marlo proves elusive despite Herc's camera. Colvin's new special class separates the worst behaved students (known as "Corner Kids") from their peers. Carcetti wins the election despite a last minute smear campaign. Omar is arrested for the murder Marlo organized.[103] 
44 7 "Unto Others" Ed Burns & William F. Zorzi William F. Zorzi Anthony Hemingway October 29, 2006 (2006-10-29)
"Aw yeah. That golden rule." - The Bunk
Royce and Carcetti make their peace. Prez has a good day with his class minus the "corner kids". Omar convinces Bunk to help him prove his innocence. Greggs uses "soft eyes" at a crime scene and finds the witness killing was accidental. Marlo steals Herc's surveillance camera provoking him into a more direct approach. Carver hands Randy over to Herc who fails to understand the importance of his story. Sherrod begins working in the drug trade and fights with Namond over territory. After receiving a beating Namond disrupts Colvin's class. Proposition Joe continues to court Marlo's involvement with the Co-Op.[104] 
45 8 "Corner Boys" Ed Burns & Richard Price Richard Price Agnieszka Holland November 5, 2006 (2006-11-05)
"We got our thing, but it's just part of the big thing." - Zenobia
Colvin uses corner logic in class and is greeted with enthusiasm, particularly from Namond. Michael is devastated when his stepfather returns to live with him. Bunk exposes the frame on Omar but antagonizes his colleagues by meddling in the case. Herc stops Chris and Snoop and fails to realize the significance of the tools he finds in their car - they use them to conceal the corpses of their victims. Carcetti makes the rounds and discusses his plans as Mayor and his intentions for the future. He considers employing a new police commissioner and Cedric Daniels sees his stock rising.[105] 
46 9 "Know Your Place" Ed Burns & Kia Corthron Kia Corthron Alex Zakrzewski November 12, 2006 (2006-11-12)
"Might as well dump 'em, get another." - Proposition Joe
Bubbles identifies a witness for Herc but Herc fails to return the favor by protecting him from his tormentor. Colvin offers an incentive to his class. Old Face Andre turns to Proposition Joe for protection after his ineptitude in the framing of Omar. Joe ingratiates himself with Marlo by handing Andre over to Chris and Snoop. Marlo finally joins the Co-Op and his enforcers begin to take on the New York drug dealers. Carver warns Namond about his drug dealing. Carcetti restricts commissioner Ervin Burrell's authority and insists on a promotion for Daniels. Michael takes his problem with his step father to Marlo. Omar plans revenge on Marlo and Proposition Joe.[106] 
47 10 "Misgivings" Ed Burns & Eric Overmyer Ed Burns Ernest Dickerson November 19, 2006 (2006-11-19)
"World goin' one way, people another." - Poot
Burrell's new mandate for quality of life arrests is met with civil disobedience and political maneuvering. Chris takes care of Michael's problem. Marlo has a member of Bodie's crew killed after he is interviewed by Herc and orders word spread about Randy for the same reason. Carver arrests Namond and he reaches out to Colvin for help. After another beating, Bubbles gets revenge for Herc's continual betrayals by setting him up to arrest a minister. The teachers are pressured to teach test material despite their recent successes.[107] 
48 11 "A New Day" David Simon & Ed Burns Ed Burns Brad Anderson November 26, 2006 (2006-11-26)
"You play in dirt, you get dirty." - McNulty
Carcetti faces a dilemma over a complaint from the minister against Herc. Carcetti galvanizes other departments into action with non-specific complaints. Randy faces bullying from his school mates after he is exposed as an informant. Omar tricks Proposition Joe into giving away the timing of his next shipment. Freamon is tempted back to Major Crimes by Daniels and has a revelation regarding the hiding place of the missing bodies.[108] 
49 12 "That's Got His Own" Ed Burns & George Pelecanos George Pelecanos Joe Chappelle December 3, 2006 (2006-12-03)
"That all there is to it?" - Bubbles
Prez is rankled by Dukie's social promotion to high school after having become close to him. Omar orchestrates the theft of the Co-Op's shipment. Michael trains as an enforcer in the Stanfield Organization and violently alienates Cutty and Namond. Randy is kept home for his own protection but an arson attack on his home leaves his foster mother horribly burned. Herc is suspended for his loss of the camera. Freamon's discovery of bodies in vacant houses damages the homicide unit's annual clearance rate. Daniels realizes the statistics can be blamed on Royce so Carcetti approves a city wide search. Carcetti faces a massive school budget deficit and is forced to go to the governor for assistance. Bubbles prepares a lethal vial of narcotics for his tormentor but Sherrod takes it unwittingly and dies.[109] 
50 13 "Final Grades" David Simon & Ed Burns David Simon Ernest Dickerson December 10, 2006 (2006-12-10)
"If animal trapped call 410-844-6286." - Baltimore, traditional
Bubbles attempts suicide after confessing his part in Sherrod's death and is taken to rehab. Freamon begins to build his investigation and has Chris and Snoop brought in for DNA samples. Bodie reaches breaking point over Marlo's murder of his people and turns to McNulty. Bodie is later killed on his corner because he was seen leaving central booking with McNulty. McNulty decides to rejoin the Major Crimes Unit. Proposition Joe is forced to reveal his supplier to Marlo to reassure the Co-Op after Omar's robbery. Marlo meets with Spiros Vondas who vouches for Joe. Omar brazenly sells the stolen drugs back to the Co-Op. Carcetti rejects the Governor's offer of assistance with the schools as it would cost his career too much in the future. Despite Carver's efforts to prevent it, Randy is reluctantly returned to a group home. Colvin's special class is shut down by the education board. However, he persuades Namond's parents to let Namond live with him in order to keep him away from drug dealing. Michael commits his first murder and is given Bodie's corner to run; Dukie is unable to settle in high school and joins his crew.[110] 

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  101. ^ "Episode guide - episode 41 Refugees". HBO. 2006. Retrieved October 3, 2006. 
  102. ^ "Episode guide - episode 42 Alliances". HBO. 2006. Retrieved October 9, 2006. 
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  105. ^ "Episode guide - episode 45 Corner Boys". HBO. 2006. Retrieved November 9, 2006. 
  106. ^ "Episode guide - episode 46 Know Your Place". HBO. 2006. Retrieved November 15, 2006. 
  107. ^ "Episode guide - episode 47 Misgivings". HBO. 2006. Retrieved March 29, 2007. 
  108. ^ "Episode guide - episode 48 A New Day". HBO. 2006. Retrieved March 29, 2007. 
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