Hot Shots (The Wire)

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"Hot Shots"
The Wire episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 3
Directed by Elodie Keene
Story by David Simon
Ed Burns
Teleplay by David Simon
Original air date June 15, 2003 (2003-06-15)
Running time 58 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Collateral Damage"
Next →
"Hard Cases"
List of The Wire episodes

"Hot Shots" is the third 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 Elodie Keene. It originally aired on June 15, 2003.


Title reference[edit]

The bad package brought into the prison is referred to as 'hot shots' by an inmate. According to the glossary in William S. Burroughs's novel Junkie, a hot-shot is a portion of drugs which has been spiked with poison, usually with the intention of killing a police informant or other undesirable. 'Hot shots' may also refer to Ziggy and Nick, who are trying to become part of the criminal world independent of Frank Sobotka.


Officer Russell makes this statement in reference to the women involved in the illegal sex trade. This also refers to the eventual alliance of Omar, Dante, Tosha and Kimmy, as well as the refusal of the Atlantic Light's crew workers to speak to Bunk and Lester. In the show as a whole, it is an ironic quote, as the stevedore union's storyline shows that the power that unions once had has dwindled to almost nothing.



Although credited, Domenick Lombardozzi, John Doman, Deirdre Lovejoy, Andre Royo and Sonja Sohn do not appear in this episode.



The Jane Does[edit]

Detectives Bunk Moreland and Lester Freamon interview the crew of the container ship that brought the girls into port, but all pretend to speak no English. Frustrated, Bunk and Freamon lose their temper with the ship's lone black seaman (whom Bunk calls Kunta Kinte). The first mate is more forthcoming and admits that many of the crew asked for pay advances during the trip. He believed that they may have been gambling, but Bunk thinks they may have been spending it on the girls. He shows them the cabin and possessions of two crew members who jumped ship. He tells them that the crew members will speak English again but not in the police's presence. Furthermore, he convinces Bunk and Freamon that if they bring in a translator, nothing will be said as the crew generally agrees not to inform on each other, as what happens below decks stays below decks. They then agree to let the ship go with little evidence and jurisdiction for interrogation.

The detectives later report back to Sergeant Landsman at the homicide unit. He berates them for letting the boat go. He asks Officer Russell about her status and tells her that she can wear plain clothes while she is detailed to the case. Later, Bunk and Russell try to trace the movements of the container in which the bodies were found and find that much of the paperwork has been falsified.

Officer McNulty visits the morgue and discusses the case with Frazier, the medical examiner. He learns that three of the girls had received breast implants in the same clinic in Budapest. Additionally, in the 24 hours before their death, seven of the girls had vaginal intercourse, two had anal intercourse, and six had oral sex. He visits the homicide unit with this information, but Russell, Freamon and Bunk have already come up with the same theory. They shatter McNulty's pride by beating him to everything he was about to say. McNulty and Russell agree that they do not want to see the girls remain unidentified and shipped out as medical cadavers.

Bunk, Russell and Freamon take the French addresses listed on the paperwork to the FBI, who confirm that they are false and give the detectives more information on the international vice trade. Later, McNulty joins Bunk and Russell in a bar. McNulty asks Russell about her children and learns that she is a single mother. They discuss their progress in the case and McNulty tells Bunk of his desire to put a name to the dead girl he pulled from the harbor.

Sobotka detail[edit]

Major Valchek is informed of his missing surveillance van by a sergeant. It is seen being delivered to stevedores in Wilmington. Prez is annoyed that his commander in the detail will not authorize telephone monitoring on their target, Frank Sobotka, and that their investigation appears to have gotten a false start. Later at Valchek’s anniversary party, Prez tells him that the detail will move slowly under Lt. Grayson and that Lieutenant Daniels would have brought in a better case on the Barksdale detail if it had not been for the interference of acting commissioner Burrell.

Valchek is prompted to visit the detail offices when he receives photos of the missing surveillance van. He finds the detectives playing poker and the lieutenant missing. Enraged, Valchek tracks Burrell to the vestibule outside the city council chambers where he is awaiting the vote as police commissioner. Valchek regards the detectives that he has been sent as "a detail of humps." Burrell attempts to quiet Valchek, who then claims he'll tell the first district to vote against Burrell's nomination for commissioner in addition to other politicians he knows. Valchek then warns that Burrell's quest to become commissioner will be made uglier than he wishes for it to be unless he complies with his request for a real police detail. He then forces Burrell into assigning Daniels to the Sobotka detail, claiming he will use all of his city hall connections to make Burrell's life hell unless he cooperates.

Omar's crew[edit]

Omar Little is back in town with a new boyfriend named Dante in tow. They stake out a stash house to potentially rip off. They are beaten to the take by Tosha Mitchell and Kimmy, fellow thieves. Omar tails them to their hideout and announces his return to Baltimore, taking their haul from them. Later, the two couples team up to scout out another stash house.

When Dante and Omar are alone, Dante shows a jealous side. Omar tries to convince him he is not interested in the women beyond business. Dante insists that Omar prove that his interests don't lie elsewhere, and the two kiss; however, when Dante claims that this is not enough, Omar teasingly pushes him out of bed. The four later hold up another stash house using Tosha to pose as a caring neighbor to the daughter of the man in charge.


McNulty visits Daniels in the evidence offices and they discuss their career misfortunes. McNulty is there to return the evidence on the Gant case and discusses looking for Omar at the request of ASA Nathan and Bunk. Daniels tells McNulty that he has put in for early retirement and plans to use his law degree to become a lawyer. McNulty learns that Kima Greggs is working in asset forfeiture and has reached the second year of her pre-law course. He doesn't think it's the right fit for Kima.

McNulty returns his sons to their home after spending the evening with them. Elena tells him that she is sending him a separation agreement. He receives the paperwork shortly afterwards.

Nick's money troubles[edit]

Nick Sobotka has his hair cut by his girlfriend Aimee while their daughter Ashley sits nearby. She complains that their daughter is talking about them not living together in her classes at preschool. She wants them to move in together and he tries to reassure her that they will when they can afford it. At the docks, he complains about the lack of work and his position with Aimee to Ziggy. Ziggy tries to convince him to join him in the drug trade for a second time. Nick angrily rebuffs his offer, stating that the drug business is high risk for low return. Nick tells Ziggy he will think of something else.

Nick and Ziggy steal a container of cameras from the docks with the help of Johnny Fifty. Horseface is surprised to see Nick driving the container. They sell the cameras to George "Double G" Glekas, the warehouse manager and fence for the Greeks. They agree that the 400 cameras are worth about $200k retail, and they negotiate $20k to be shared by Nick, Ziggy and their accomplice at the port. Ziggy angers Glekas by taking his photo with one of the cameras. Glekas checks the deal with Spiros "Vondas" Vondopoulos and tells him that although he thinks Ziggy is using drugs and is a 'malaka', they can trust Nick, as he is smart.

Union business[edit]

Frank Sobotka attends a political evening at Father Lewandowski’s church with his lobbyist Bruce DiBiago. He is complimented on his presence by district seven councilman Bobby, who has promised his support. DiBiago pulls him aside and tells him that he needs to focus on the people who may not support them: John Carter, Lisa Tobin, and Clay Davis. In particular he says that Davis has taken $40,000 in contributions from them and has still not made any promises. Sobotka is outraged but is forced to make nice with Davis to court his support.

Sobotka meets with a checker named Ringo who is having trouble getting enough work to live on. When Ringo mentions he's contemplating a move to a different local, Sobotka sends Ringo to Delores's bar and tells him to order a shot and a beer on him. When Ringo arrives at the bar and uses Frank Sobotka’s name, Delores gives him a bundle of cash. Ziggy is there to see the exchange.

Prison blues[edit]

Stringer, Country and Shamrock discuss shares as they tail CO Tilghman. Country asks why Stringer is selling his shares in phone companies and Stringer tells him that he saw Poot Carr with two phones — a sure sign that the market is saturated. Later, Tilghman meets with Butchie and they place bets on his dog catching rats. Afterwards, Tilghman buys a package of narcotics from Butchie. Country and Shamrock watch him receive the package and make the connection. On Avon's orders, Stringer contacts Butchie and asks him to supply Tilghman with a bad package the next time he comes to him for narcotics. Butchie is reluctant but agrees when Stringer uses Avon's name and promises compensation.

Stringer Bell visits Donette to ask her to visit D'Angelo at the prison. The two flirt throughout the discussion and once Stringer has delivered his message he and Donette kiss and undress each other.

Shamrock sits in Butchie’s bar as Tilghman picks up the package.

D'Angelo is working in the prison library and trading comics with an inmate. Avon Barksdale arrives and tries to convince him that he's being looked after, saying the library job is hard to get, and that there may be a way to shave some years from their sentences. He says he knows he's using drugs and convinces him to lay off for a few days.

Tilghman smuggles the package into the prison. D'Angelo honors his promise to stay clean, but several other inmates are poisoned from the heroin. As prison staff rush the inmates away on stretchers, Avon calmly reads a book.[1][2][3]

First appearances[edit]


  1. ^ "Episode guide - episode 16 hot shots". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-06-22. 
  2. ^ David Simon, Ed Burns (2003-06-15). "Hot Shots". The Wire. Season 2. Episode 03. HBO. 
  3. ^ Alvarez, Rafael (2004). The Wire: Truth Be Told. New York: Pocket Books. 

External links[edit]