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)
Episode chronology
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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.


When Omar is called into court, he identifies Bird and the weapon used to kill William Gant. As they observe the trial, Stringer discusses with McNulty whether Bird was really responsible for the Gant murder. Levy subjects Omar to a harsh cross-examination, but Omar quickly turns the attacks back on Levy and diminishes the attorney's credibility to the jury. After the jury returns a guilty verdict, Judge Daniel Phelan refuses Levy's request for an appeal bond and sentences Bird to life in prison. Afterwards, McNulty asks if Omar really saw Bird commit the murder, to which Omar responds, "You really askin'?".

Freamon tells Daniels that Frank lives within his means, while his stevedores union is in financial trouble. Freamon and Prez have found a paper trail through campaign finance records linking the union to $70,000 in contributions. Herc reports that they have had success making street level hand-to-hands, but have found no ties between portside drug dealers and the union. Beadie suggests that the union is making extra money by facilitating smuggling through the port. Daniels reassigns Prez and Greggs to focus on the vice trade, and Freamon works with Russell and Bunk looking at container movements. Beadie turns down Herc for a date, eliciting mockery from Carver.

Greggs meets with Shardene Innes for help tracking down Eastern European girls working in the vice trade. She discusses her strip club assignment with Cheryl, who is angry that Greggs has returned to detective work and insists on accompanying her. A friend of Shardene's tells the detectives that there is a madam who organizes the girls and keeps them at a motel, where they are under guard when not working. After visiting the club, Greggs takes Cheryl to the port and explains how the Jane Does died. Beadie shows Bunk and Daniels how to track container movements on the computer. Over drinks, Bunk laments the pressure he feels from Rawls, while McNulty wants to make another go of things with Elena. Beadie and Freamon are able to tie the missing containers to Horseface.

Nick asks Vondas for help in resolving Ziggy's problems with Cheese. He accompanies Serge to a meeting with Cheese and watches from the car as Serge and his associates draw guns on Cheese's crew. Serge then arranges a meeting in which Proposition Joe agrees to compensate Ziggy for the torched car. However, Joe makes it clear that Ziggy and Nick would both be dead if not for their association with the Greeks. Nick, Ziggy, and Johnny Fifty deliver the chemicals in exchange for drugs. Tempted by the additional payoff and Ziggy's pleas, Nick opts to take half the payment in cash and the rest in drugs. After a union meeting, Nick goes to the bar and gives Ziggy his compensation. Ziggy burns the money, causing Frank to leave in disgust. Outside, he asks Ziggy where he got his money and how he got his bruises.

Stringer delivers an envelope of cash to Leech, a contact from Washington, D.C., concerning a contract killing. Brianna visits D'Angelo and tries to persuade him to use Avon's set-up of Tilghman to shave time from his sentence. D'Angelo refuses, reminding his mother that she taught him to stand up for himself. He tells her to let him deal with things on his own and to take the fall 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 strangled to death by an inmate named Mugs, who overheard the talk with Brianna. Mugs stages the body to make the death look like a suicide. [1][2][3]


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.

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]