All Prologue

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"All Prologue"
The Wire episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 6
Directed by Steve Shill
Story by David Simon
Ed Burns
Teleplay by David Simon
Original air date July 6, 2003 (2003-07-06)
Running time 58 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Season 2 episodes
List of The Wire episodes

"All Prologue" is the sixth episode of the second season of the HBO original series, The Wire. The episode was written by David Simon from a story by David Simon & Ed Burns and was directed by Steve Shill. It originally aired on July 6, 2003.


Title reference[edit]

The episode title refers to D'Angelo's comment that all of a person's life is an unchanging prologue to their current situation. It also underscores the divide between the first and second halves of the season, when consequences of actions come more sharply into focus.


D'Angelo makes this comment when discussing F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby and the theme of Gatsby's inability to escape his past and who he was no matter how much he tried to cover it, a sentiment that D'Angelo shares as he is unable to escape that he is a Barksdale. It also refers to Jimmy McNulty's attempts at reconciliation with his wife.


Starring cast[edit]

Although credited, John Doman, Frankie Faison, Deirdre Lovejoy and Andre Royo do not appear in this episode.

Gant trial[edit]

Omar Little solves a crossword clue for the bailiff as he awaits his appearance in court. When he is called, he answers honestly about his occupation as ASA Ilene Nathan questions him. Omar is quick to identify Marquis "Bird" Hilton, stating that they served prison time together. Bird's attorney Maurice Levy objects to the reference to Bird's previous convictions and it is stricken from the record. Omar identifies Bird's weapon and insults Bird, saying he was too stupid to dispose of it. Bird flies into a rage and has to be restrained as Judge Phelan calls for order. As they observe the trial, Stringer Bell tells Jimmy McNulty that word on the street is that Omar was nowhere near the crime scene; McNulty reminds Stringer that the word on the street is not worth anything in a court of law.

Levy cross-examines Omar and asks if his testimony is part of a deal with the police. Levy reads Omar's arrest record, including a charge for attempted murder. Omar explains away the charge, saying that he deliberately shot a drug dealer named Mike Mike in the "hind parts" with no intent to kill, drawing an amused reaction from the jury. Levy is incredulous about Omar's career and characterizes him as a violent criminal. Levy claims that Omar would have killed Gant himself if he needed to – an assertion that Omar flatly denies; maintaining that he wouldn't kill a citizen who wasn't in the "game." Levy continues, describing Omar as a parasite living off the plight of the drug trade. Omar turns this comment around on Levy – both live off the drug trade, Omar through his shotgun and Levy through his briefcase. The courtroom reacts in shock; Nathan and Judge Phelan are both thrilled with Omar's performance under cross-examination. Levy is unable to further discredit Omar as a witness after his own credibility is diminished in front of the jury.

When the jury returns a guilty verdict, Levy protests claiming that Omar's testimony was fabricated on a deal with the police department, and calls for an appeal bond. Judge Phelan shows little mercy for Bird, claiming that there will be no appeal bond unless evidence is presented proving Bird is Jesus Christ come back to earth. Phelan then states that the presentence report will be a formality and claims that Bird will serve life without parole. After the trial, Nathan gives Omar her card and offers him a "get out of jail free" pass on any charge up to aggravated assault. On his way out of the courthouse, Bird threatens Omar's life while Omar tells Bird to remember Brandon, Omar's dead lover, while serving his sentence. McNulty asks Omar if he really saw Bird commit the crime, to which Omar replies, "You really askin'?"

Sobotka detail[edit]

Lieutenant Cedric Daniels reviews the information that his detail has gathered so far. Lester Freamon reports that Frank Sobotka lives within his means, while the union books show a decline in membership and difficulty meeting their debts. Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski and Freamon describe a paper trail through campaign finance records linking the union to $70,000 in contributions. Thomas "Herc" Hauk reports that they have had success making street level hand-to-hands but have established no ties so far between drug dealers and the union. Beadie Russell suggests that the union is making extra money by facilitating smuggling in and out of the port. Daniels introduces Russell and Bunk Moreland and explains their co-operation with the detail over their Jane Doe homicides. Daniels reassigns Kima Greggs and Prez to focus on the vice trade, and Freamon to work with Russell and Bunk looking at container movements. Herc asks Russell out on a date and she declines. Ellis Carver mocks Herc.

Greggs meets with Shardene Innes to ask for help tracking down Eastern European girls working in the vice trade. Shardene is now living with Freamon and attending nursing school. Later Greggs discusses her strip club assignment with Cheryl. Cheryl is jealous and angry that Greggs has returned to detective work, and insists on accompanying Greggs. Prez is also roped into visiting the clubs and seems uncomfortable, refusing to look directly at any of the strippers. Shardene's friend is only too willing to help, because her earnings are threatened by the imported girls. She tells the detectives that there is a madam who organizes the girls and that their pay is low, so they undercut local dancers. The girls are kept in a motel and driven back and forth to work and they are carefully guarded and prevented from becoming close with their customers. After visiting the club, Greggs takes Cheryl to the port and explains how the girls died.

Russell shows Bunk and Daniels how to use computers to track container movements. She warns them that it will require long hours of surveillance. The tedium of the surveillance work sends Bunk to the bar early. Bunk drinks with McNulty and tells him that he thinks Colonel William Rawls expects him to clear the cases or he will force him out of the unit. McNulty tears up the photo of the dead girl he has been carrying since he found her body, telling Bunk he is done pretending to be a detective and that he is going to make another go of things with Elena.

The next day, Russell and Freamon report their findings to Daniels while Bunk struggles through a terrible hangover. They have linked all of the missing containers to Thomas "Horseface" Pakusa. Daniels is still reluctant to fold the Jane Doe murders into his investigation despite the link through Horseface.

The Greeks[edit]

Nick Sobotka meets with Spiros "Vondas" Vondopoulos and his drug lieutenant Eton Ben-Eleazer to discuss the chemicals. Nick asks for help with Ziggy’s problems with Cheese. Vondas offers to kill Cheese and Nick says that he is not looking for a war and that Ziggy is in the wrong. Vondas calls Nick smart and Nick takes the opportunity to ask for muscle to talk to Cheese.

Nick accompanies Sergei "Serge" Molatov to a meeting with Cheese and watches from the car as Serge and his associates draw multiple firearms on Cheese and his men, including an Uzi. Serge reports that he has negotiated with Cheese and that he will talk to Proposition Joe to compensate Ziggy Sobotka for Cheese destroying his car. Serge arranges a meeting with Proposition Joe at his electronics shop. When Serge vouches for Nick, Joe agrees to compensate Ziggy. Proposition Joe makes it clear that Ziggy and Nick would both be dead if not for their association with the Greeks. At the same time, Joe is somewhat understanding of Nick's situation realizing that problematic family members such as Ziggy occur in almost every family including Joe's.

Nick delivers the chemicals to Eton and Vondas; they offer to pay him with drugs. Nick opts to take half the payment in cash and the rest in drugs. Nick refuses to let Ziggy get involved with the package after the trouble he caused with the last one. Their accomplice Johnny "Fifty" Spamanto is on hand to drive home with them.

Union business[edit]

Frank Sobotka chairs a meeting with his union about their political aims. Nat Coxson is skeptical about the usefulness of dredging the canal and their chances of restarting the grain pier. Also in attendance are Horseface, Little Big Roy, Moonshot, Chess and Ott amongst others. Nat urges the checkers to start to contact their legislators. After the meeting Nat tells Frank that he knows he must be getting money from another source and warns him to be careful.

At Delores's bar Frank buys a round and Little Big Roy and Horseface tell stories. Nick arrives to give Ziggy his compensation. Ziggy immediately buys a round for the bar and burns some of the money. Frank leaves the bar, disgusted with Ziggy’s actions. Outside he asks Ziggy how he got the bruises, still visible from the beating Cheese gave him; Ziggy lies and says he fell over. He questions Ziggy about where he is getting money from. He tells Ziggy perhaps he should have gone to community college with his brother. Ziggy reminisces about his childhood – his memories focus entirely on the docks, his father and the union.

Prison and Barksdale business[edit]

Stringer Bell delivers an envelope of cash to Leech, a contact from Washington D.C. He is there to organize a contract killing and insists that it must not be traceable to him.

D'Angelo Barksdale flushes his remaining drugs down his cell toilet. He attends a book group in the prison library and discusses F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. D’Angelo offers a sophisticated analysis of the novel asserting that a person can never escape his past, no matter what fronts he attempts to establish.

Brianna visits D'Angelo and tries to persuade him to use Avon's set-up of CO Tilghman to shave time from his sentence. He refuses, saying that Avon's actions were evil. He reminds his mother that she taught him to stand up for himself from an incident when he was younger where she forced him to fight twins that were picking on him rather than let him in the house. He then reminds his mother that he learned to take responsibility from that incident and refuses to try to get out of prison given what she taught him and her forcing of him to take the majority of the drug charges for the Barksdale Organization. He then asks her to tell Stringer, Avon and Donette to leave him alone. D'Angelo passes Avon in the corridor and refuses to talk to him.

While working in the prison library, D'Angelo is assaulted and strangled to death with a belt by another inmate named Mugs. Mugs positions the body and hands so that it appears to be a suicide by hanging. [1][2][3]

First appearances[edit]

  • Eton Ben-Eleazer: Israeli lieutenant in charge of The Greek's drug supply operation.



Omar Little's courtroom scene in this episode has been described as the character's "defining scene" and is among actor Michael K. Williams' favorites.[4]

The Futon Critic named it the ninth best episode of 2003, saying "There's simply been nobody like Omar (Michael K. Williams) on television before and he absolutely steals the show in this episode as he's called on to testify for the D.A.'s office. After being grilled by the defense for his less than moral activities, Omar responds with an amazing, funny and cheer inducing monologue about the legal system."[5]

The episode was also praised as a 'seminal moment for the series'. The tragic death of D’Angelo Barksdale was highlighted, with one reviewer stating that the episode drew on the show's 'incredible wealth of character and story background' to 'forge a powerfully emotional and meaningful episode'.[6]


The episode drew an average of 4.11 million viewers and was the second most watched program on cable television (after lead-in Sex and The City) for the week ending July 7, 2003.[7]


  1. ^ "Episode guide – episode 19 all prologue". HBO. 2004. Retrieved June 22, 2006. 
  2. ^ David Simon, Ed Burns (2003-07-06). "All Prologue". The Wire. Season 2. Episode 06. HBO. 
  3. ^ Alvarez, Rafael (2004). The Wire: Truth Be Told. New York: Pocket Books. 
  4. ^ Delaney, Sam (July 19, 2008). "Omar Little is the gay stick-up man who robs drug dealers for a living in The Wire". The Guardian. Retrieved November 29, 2009. 
  5. ^ Brian Ford Sullivan (January 4, 2001). "The 50 Best Episodes of 2003: #10–1". The Futon Critic. Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  6. ^ Samuel Walters. "2.06 – All Prologue – The Wire Review". Retrieved July 2, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Cable Ratings Fill TBS With 'Congeniality'". Zap2It. 2003. Retrieved March 10, 2007. 

External links[edit]