More with Less

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"More with Less"
The Wire episode
The Wire Gus.jpg
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 1
Directed by Joe Chappelle
Story by David Simon
Ed Burns
Teleplay by David Simon
Original air date January 6, 2008 (2008-01-06)
Running time 58 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Final Grades"
Next →
"Unconfirmed Reports"
List of The Wire episodes

"More with Less" is the first episode of the fifth 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 Joe Chappelle. It originally aired on January 6, 2008.


Title reference[edit]

The title refers to the cutbacks and buyouts at The Baltimore Sun; managing editor Thomas Klebanow states that they "simply have to do more with less". It also refers to the unstable fiscal situation in Baltimore, which affects many other institutions, including the police department. In interviews, creator David Simon has professed that despite being an oft-repeated command to dying institutions, the ability to do more with less is an inherent impossibility.[1]


Bunk makes this remark after perpetrating an elaborate hoax to trick a young suspect into confessing to a crime. Season 5 of The Wire will revolve around a series of lies, both public and private. This episode also marks the second time the epigraph is spoken during the cold open sequence. The other time was in the first episode of season 3.

Non-fiction elements[edit]

The U.S. Attorney mentions the federal statute U.S. Code 18, Art. 924, whereby possession of firearms while committing "a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime" carries a minimum 5-year sentence with no parole, as a tool Carcetti can use to bring down the drug related crime rate, despite having less police budget.


Starring cast[edit]

The fifth season starring cast consists of: Dominic West as Jimmy McNulty; Reg E. Cathey as Norman Wilson; John Doman as William Rawls; Aidan Gillen as Tommy Carcetti; Clark Johnson as Augustus Haynes; Deirdre Lovejoy as Rhonda Pearlman; Tom McCarthy as Scott Templeton; Clarke Peters as Lester Freamon; Wendell Pierce as Bunk Moreland; Sonja Sohn as Kima Greggs; Lance Reddick as Cedric Daniels; Andre Royo as Reginald "Bubbles" Cousins; Seth Gilliam as Ellis Carver; Domenick Lombardozzi as Thomas "Herc" Hauk; Michael Kenneth Williams as Omar Little; Gbenga Akinnagbe as Chris Partlow; Jamie Hector as Marlo Stanfield; Neal Huff as Michael Steintorf; Jermaine Crawford as Duquan "Dukie" Weems; Corey Parker Robinson as Leander Sydnor; Tristan Wilds as Michael Lee; Michael Kostroff as Maurice Levy; Michelle Paress as Alma Gutierrez; Isiah Whitlock, Jr. as Clay Davis.

Clark Johnson, Tom McCarthy, and Michelle Paress joins the main cast as journalists at The Baltimore Sun. Neal Huff, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Tristan Wilds, Jermaine Crawford, Isiah Whitlock, Jr., and Michael Kostroff are now billed in the opening credits. Reg E. Cathey’s credit has moved up to the start with the credits in alphabetical order instead of the section where two or more names appear at a time. Fourth season stars no longer appearing in the starring credits include Frankie Faison (Commissioner Ervin Burrell), Jim True-Frost (teacher Roland Pryzbylewski), Robert Wisdom (retired police officer Howard Colvin), Chad L. Coleman (community boxing trainer Dennis "Cutty" Wise), Glynn Turman (ex-Mayor Clarence Royce) and JD Williams (murdered drug dealer Bodie Broadus).

Although credited, Michael K. Williams and Isiah Whitlock, Jr. do not appear in this episode.

Guest stars[edit]

Lee Everett Cox and David Costabile’s names are misspelled in the credits as Lee Evertt Cox and David Costible respectively.

Uncredited appearances[edit]



Detective Bunk Moreland extracts a confession from a suspect using manipulation and a mock polygraph test, tricking the suspect into thinking a photocopier is the polygraph machine. His reasoning gives the episode its epigraph "the bigger the lie, the more they believe."


Mayor Tommy Carcetti's plan to rejuvenate the police department has been halted by funding cuts necessitated by the massive education deficit. Norman Wilson remains disappointed in Carcetti for refusing the governor's assistance for the schools and putting his ambition to unseat the governor before his responsibilities as mayor. Police commanders Ervin Burrell and William Rawls are forced to accept further funding cuts from Carcetti but convince him to lift the limits on secondary employment for police officers.

Mayor Carcetti and Council President Campbell meet with the Republican U.S. Attorney as a means of enlisting federal resources to help the Baltimore Police Department. Carcetti is told that as political corruption and counter-terrorism are the Justice Department's main investigative priorities, the U.S. Attorney's office will grant them a dozen FBI agents in exchange for corrupt state senator Clay Davis. In the discussion, Carcetti defends Baltimore City State's Attorney Rupert Bond's decision to keep the case local, as he fears the Republican attorney will use the case to damage the image of the Democratic Party. Campbell then criticizes Carcetti for upsetting the feds and as they discuss Clay Davis, Carcetti claims that Bond will charge most of the Royce administration, including Campbell, who herself sees Bond's motive to charge Davis as a means of one day running against her for mayor.

Major Crimes Unit[edit]

The Major Crimes Unit's year-long investigation into the Stanfield Organization and their involvement with the murders in the vacant houses has still not produced enough evidence to make arrests, but their continued observation has curtailed some of the criminals' activity. Marlo Stanfield continues to scheme despite noticing the continued surveillance. He is intimidating independent drug dealers into buying his narcotics, causing unrest in the New Day Co-Op about splitting up new territory, and has Chris Partlow working to find Sergei Malatov as a connection to the Co-Ops' suppliers. Ironically, Partlow approaches Bond, Pearlman, and Cedric Daniels in the courthouse hallway for directions. Unbeknownst to him, they are currently discussing the Stanfield case and the associated murders. McNulty, who has been following Partlow, notes that his visit to the courthouse is definitely not due to his weapon charge (Final Grades), which Partlow already got postponed twice.

The Unit is closed down as part of the cutbacks, effectively ending investigation of the murders that produced the 22 corpses found in vacant buildings. State Attorney Rupert Bond convinces Carcetti to retain detectives Lester Freamon and Leander Sydnor to staff the Davis investigation. Colonel Cedric Daniels is distraught at the thought that a corrupt politician is more important than 22 murders.


Detective Jimmy McNulty is outraged and despondent upon his return to the homicide unit. McNulty has begun drinking heavily and womanizing again and fails to return home to his domestic partner Beadie Russell. As if foreshadowing this, one of his new partners in the unit reminds him of a story he read about, where McNulty, working undercover in an illegal brothel, actually received sex before arrests were made (Stray Rounds).

Western District[edit]

Morale is similarly low in the Western District because of pay cuts. Sergeant Ellis Carver struggles to keep his men in line and drinks after work with his old partner Thomas "Herc" Hauk. Herc has been discharged from the department and is now using his contacts in the department as a defense investigator for Maurice Levy.


Michael Lee is acting as an enforcer under Partlow while his friend and cohabitant Duquan "Dukie" Weems runs their drug dealing crew. Dukie has not gained the respect of the crew and Michael suggests paying him for looking after his younger brother Bug instead.

The Baltimore Sun[edit]

In The Baltimore Sun newsroom similar funding cutbacks are affecting the reporters' morale and work. Editor Gus Haynes remains principled and efficient. His institutional memory allows his team to identify and break a story about city council president Nerese Campbell relocating known drug dealer Ricardo "Fat-face Rick" Hendrix’s strip club out of a redeveloping neighborhood at a considerable cost to the city budget, and to link the plan to campaign contributions from Hendrix and associates to Campbell. Ambitious reporter Scott Templeton remains dissatisfied while his colleague Alma Gutierrez, who got a choice quote from Hendrix for the story, is happy with her work.


Bubbles is living in his sister's basement and no longer using drugs. However, he often must leave each evening as his sister (who regularly works the night shift) does not trust him enough to leave him alone in her house. He walks through the city while she's at work, trying to avoid the temptations of the street. Bubbles works as a rush hour distributor of The Baltimore Sun to commuters – he sells a copy to Campbell, who is outraged by the Fat-face Rick story.[2][3]

First appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Ryan, Maureen (10 January 2008). "David Simon talks about his career in journalism and the final chapter of 'The Wire'". Chicago Tribune. 
  2. ^ Joe Chappelle (director); David Simon (story and teleplay), Ed Burns (story) (2008-01-06). "More with Less". The Wire. Season 5. Episode 1. HBO. 
  3. ^ "The Wire episode guide - episode 51 More with Less". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  4. ^ "Character profile - City Editor Augustus "Gus" Haynes". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  5. ^ "Character profile - Scott Templeton". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  6. ^ "Character profile - Alma Gutierrez". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  7. ^ "Character profile - Executive Editor James Whiting". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  8. ^ "Character profile - Managing Editor Thomas Klebanow". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  9. ^ "Character profile - Steven Luxenberg". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  10. ^ "Character profile - State Editor Tim Phelps". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  11. ^ "Character profile - Rebecca Corbett". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2015-12-04. 
  12. ^ "Character profile - Rewrite man Jay Spry". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  13. ^ "Character profile - Roger Twigg". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  14. ^ "Character profile - Mike Fletcher". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 

External links[edit]