Late Editions

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"Late Editions"
The Wire episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 9
Directed by Joe Chappelle
Story by David Simon
George Pelecanos
Teleplay by George Pelecanos
Original air date March 2, 2008 (2008-03-02)
Running time 60 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of The Wire episodes

"Late Editions" is the ninth episode of the fifth season of the HBO original series, The Wire, the penultimate episode of the series. The episode was written by George Pelecanos from a story by David Simon and George Pelecanos and was directed by Joe Chappelle.[1] It aired on March 2, 2008.[2]



As the series winds down, many of its principal players will be fired, honored, arrested, acquitted, or killed. A central tenet of the series is that the ethics of the characters dictate these fates much less than the uncontrollable machinations of the 21st century city. This is also a direct quote from 1992's Unforgiven.

Non-fiction elements[edit]

Lester mentions to Leander that they will "need a Title 3" before being able to use the evidence found on Marlo's crew phones. This refers to the Title III of The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (Wiretap Act),[3] whereby for example, agents need to indicate on the Title 3 affidavit probable cause ("PC").[4] PC has been mentioned throughout the series.

Lester also mentions to Daniels he needs an "S.-and-s. warrant", that is, a search and seizure warrant, requested by the "S.A.O." (State Attorney Office).[5]

When Gus tells Steve he needs to get into Walter Reed, Steve reminds him that as a journalist, after the "Post" unveiled a scandal there in 2007, he may not be welcome.


Starring cast[edit]

Although credited, Michael Kenneth Williams does not appear in this episode.

Guest stars[edit]

Uncredited appearances[edit]

  • Todd Scofield as Jeff Price
  • Brian E. McLarney as Brian McLarney
  • Marcus Hamm as Marcus


The cold opening shows Lester Freamon still slightly flummoxed by Marlo's clock codes. He does figure something out, however, and calls Sydnor, who is tailing Monk, to peel off and head out to Broening Highway. "This is a fresh one," he tells Sydnor. Freamon then calls McNulty and delivers words they both had been waiting for: "It's on."

Freamon meets with Sydnor. Sydnor reports what he had seen, telling him about Partlow's actions. Freamon tells Brown to forget Partlow and go for the big kill. "The case is in the phones," he says, but admits that a Title III would be needed to look at them. Right before leaving, Freamon tells Sydnor that it is "time to 'fess up."

Felicia "Snoop" Pearson sits in Levy's office with O-Dog, who is still recovering from the shot he took from Omar during the ambush at Monk's apartment (React Quotes). O-Dog is reluctantly taking the blame for the gun charge that Snoop and Chris got hit with the previous year. Levy tells O-Dog he might have to do a short stretch, but assures him that he will be "well compensated." After the two leave, Herc recalls how different things are when police officers take "one in the line" as opposed to street soldiers. "Marlo runs a tighter ship," Levy explains.

Chris arrives at the dock to inspect the shipment. He is satisfied with what he sees and gives the go-ahead. Officers Garrick and Dozerman are watching from the weeds.

Haynes continues his investigation regarding Templeton's suspected lies. He enlists an old colleague, Robert Ruby, to do some background checking on Scott, saying he needs "fresh eyes on the fellow."

Dukie continues to work with the arabber.

Back at the warehouse Cheese and his crew roll up. The officers, watching from a distance, report the white van that pulled up. Sydnor tells them to "stay on the gate."

Rawls and Daniels express their frustration to Steintorf, who tells them to continue manipulating the crime statistics. "Be creative," he tells them as he leaves. Freamon arrives at the station and tells Daniels about the sting on Marlo. Sydnor calls Freamon in the middle of this conversation, telling him they caught Monk "riding dirty." Freamon hangs up and tells Daniels who he needs arrested. Taken aback, Daniels calls Pearlman, asking, "Are you sitting down?"

The raid begins. Heavily armored police vehicles crash through the gates of the warehouse. Sydnor busts Cheese Wagstaff himself. Freamon arrives at the warehouse, and uncovers even more narcotics. Bunk, complete with cigar, has finally served his warrant on Chris, and looks elated at having the man in cuffs. Freamon, at Marlo's hangout spot, shows disgust when he finds the infamous clock that Marlo, who is in flex cuffs along with several of his soldiers, had been using. Snoop shows up at Michael's home, and they watch the bad news on the television. "Do I still have to take that charge?" O-Dog chimes in. Mayor Carcetti gives another rousing speech about the raid, while being mocked by Bill Zorzi. Alma attempts to interview Daniels, who coldly remarks "It's a good day for the good guys." When she presses him for more comment, he says he's upset because of the false and unflattering remarks they attributed to him regarding Burrell.

Marlo sits in jail with Monk, Cheese, and Chris. They speculate on how they got busted, but the conversation is momentarily halted when Monk lets Omar's rants regarding Marlo slip, prompting Marlo to get extremely angry. "My name was in the streets?" He vows to rectify the situation. The conversation goes back to the bust, and they debate whether Michael Lee was the snitch.

Landsman berates McNulty on his lack of progress on the serial killer investigation. McNulty looks very depressed and Greggs makes it even worse for him with her snide comments. McNulty tries to rationalize it by saying that Marlo is locked up, but Greggs still isn't impressed.

Scott Templeton continues to get praise for his fabricated stories. He finds out that his stories might have a shot at a Pulitzer Prize. The newsroom men, including Templeton, Klebanow and Whiting debate on how to portray the life of the homeless, and Templeton finds it opportune to repeat the words the "Dickensian aspect", that he first heard his boss Whiting use about how to depict Baltimore children lives, then after the serial killer news emerged, the homeless (Unconfirmed Reports, The Dickensian Aspect). Haynes scratches the quote Alma received from Daniels and continues giving Templeton cold looks.

Still depressed, McNulty refuses to partake in Freamon's celebratory drink. McNulty expresses his regret over his and Freamon's fake case.

Michael and Spider sit on a stoop and debate Omar's death. Michael reports it as it happened, but Spider tells a different, more sensational story. Snoop arrives and chats with Michael. She tells him that with everyone locked up, she needs him for some "serious business." Michael's suspicions are raised when she tells him that there is no need for him to bring a gun.

"Bunny" Colvin and his wife proudly watch Namond deliver an informative speech about AIDS at an Urban Debate League event. Colvin spots Carcetti walking in and shakes his head in disgust. Carcetti later attempts to apologize for not supporting Colvin's Hamsterdam project (that Colvin helped him visit in Middle Ground, before he announced his run for Mayor), while failing to mention his effect on Colvin and Dr. Parenti's pilot program being terminated because of a budget crisis. Carcetti says "nothing could be done with your thing." He is frozen out by the bitter Colvin, who replies, "there is nothing to be done," underscoring the conflict between police work and political ambition that has been a feature of the series.

McNulty continues sending men out for the serial killer case with little enthusiasm. Landsman orders McNulty to go to the scene of another homeless man's death. Greggs is unsympathetic to McNulty's dilemma at being ordered to go to a crime scene they both know is not relevant to his "case."

Haynes questions Templeton briefly, then tries to get admission into Walter Reed Army Medical Center so he can investigate Templeton's writing regarding Terry Hanning, the homeless Iraq War veteran. At the hospital Haynes watches as Hanning's military buddy shows off his state-of-the-art prosthetic hands. The vet verifies Hanning's story. He reiterates that while many bad things happened in Iraq, nothing in the way of a firefight happened on that particular day.

Bubbles continues talking with Mike Fletcher, who is interested in his story. Fletcher looks on as Bubbles' sister appears uninterested in celebrating Bubbles' anniversary for staying clean.

Freamon meets with Senator Davis, trying to get more information out of him, and after more threats, gets info on the corrupt dealings of Maurice Levy.

Marlo talks with Levy and the belief that someone is snitching is shot down because everyone who knew about the clock messages has been locked up and charged.

Greggs approaches Carver to ask how he felt bringing charges against Colicchio for brutality against a citizen. He indicates he has made his peace with it. Greggs visits Daniels' office, looking grim.

Michael Lee sits in a cab, watching Snoop from a distance. He views her talking to the very guy he was supposed to kill, realizing that his suspicions were valid: he is being set up for a hit.

Bubbles brings Fletcher to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. After receiving applause for staying clean, Bubbles finally opens up about Sherrod's death.

Daniels and Pearlman visit evidence control and confirm what Greggs had told him earlier: the serial killer case is bogus. The phone that was supposed to be the serial killer's actually belonged to Marlo.

Snoop picks Michael up to go to the spot where his hit will take place. Michael looks a bit nervous, but continues to question the task at hand. After Snoop brushes him off, Michael claims he has to urinate and has her pull over. He then pulls a gun on Snoop, who explains why the hit was out on him. Staring down the barrel of Mike's gun, Snoop also tells him that he was "never one of them" and never could be. Mike cocks his gun. Snoop, accepting her fate, checks herself out in the vehicle's side mirror and casually asks how her hair looks. Michael replies, "You look good, girl," before pulling the trigger.

He returns to his home and rushes Dukie and Bug to gather their things and leave the house. He then drives them to his aunt's suburban Howard County home, where she is awaiting Bug's arrival. Michael walks Bug to the door with a shoebox full of cash to pay for his support, fighting back tears as he says goodbye to his little brother. Michael, forced to abandon Dukie, drops him off in the squalid area where the arabber lives among other homeless people and junkies. Dukie reminisces about humorous events that happened the year before, asking "You remember that one day summer past ...?" but after a long pause Michael replies, "I don't." They say goodbye and part, Dukie hesitating as he sees the arabber injecting heroin. Dukie turns around to Michael one last time, but he has already left.



When Michael comes home, Dukie is watching television and says that the program is about a serial killer who only kills other serial killers. This is a reference to the popular series Dexter, made by HBO's rival premium cable channel, Showtime. A brief glimpse of the screen can be seen, with a body on a table covered in plastic cling-wrap, which is a trademark of the title character.

When Lester goes to take Marlo's cell phone during the raid, 'MCNASTY' is visibly written in graffiti behind Marlo's head.


  1. ^ "Season 5 crew". HBO. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  2. ^ "HBO Schedule: THE WIRE 59: LATE EDITIONS". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Title III of The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968". Justice Information Sharing. U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  4. ^ "Electronic Surveillance—Title III Affidavits". U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "2010 Maryland Code- Search warrants". Retrieved 23 March 2016. 

External links[edit]