Not for Attribution

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"Not for Attribution"
The Wire episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 3
Directed by Scott Kecken
Joy Kecken
Story by David Simon
Chris Collins
Teleplay by Chris Collins
Original air date January 20, 2008 (2008-01-20)
Running time 58 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Unconfirmed Reports"
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List of The Wire episodes

"Not for Attribution" is the third episode of the fifth season of the HBO original series, The Wire. The episode was written by Chris Collins from a story by David Simon & Chris Collins and was directed by Scott and Joy Kecken.[1] It aired on January 20, 2008.[2]


Title reference[edit]

The title, which means off the record, refers to the fabricated quote produced by Sun writer Scott Templeton regarding Daniels' backstabbing Commissioner Burrell. The title also references other plot lines, including Cheese feeding information in confidence to Chris Partlow regarding Omar's associates, Norman Wilson leaking the Burrell story to the Sun, and Detective McNulty's attempt to create a homeless serial killer on the record.


Fletcher is referring to decision-making on the newspaper concerning whose life (or death) is worthy of being covered in the increasingly shrinking amount of space the Baltimore Sun provides for information to local readers. The quote nicely aligns with the amount of determination the BPD exhibits in solving a crime, depending on the victim.

Non-fiction elements[edit]

P.S. 114: Pupil Services manual 114


Starring cast[edit]

Although credited, Seth Gilliam, Domenick Lombardozzi, and Michael Kostroff do not appear in this episode.

Guest stars[edit]

Two real BPD officers, former Homicide Detective Donald Worden and former Commissioner Leonard Hamm, appear in the episode's opening as midnight shift homicide detectives. Worden utters the first phrase of the episode: "Type quieter, asshole."

Uncredited appearances[edit]



Detective Jimmy McNulty continues his efforts to create the illusion of a serial killer and draw attention and funding for the police department. He falsifies a connection between two old cases involving homeless victims and the corpse which he had earlier staged to appear as a strangulation murder. The plan fails when both the media and his superiors are uninterested. Bunk Moreland remains outraged at McNulty’s plan and after several attempts to talk him out of it enlists the help of Lester Freamon. This strategy backfires when Freamon makes suggestions to improve McNulty’s plan by sensationalizing the killer. In a deleted scene from this episode, Freamon mentions the old arrest of Monk Metcalf and an unnamed associate of his. Monk is addressed for the first and only time by his real name, Bernard.


Deputy Commissioner of Administration Stanislaus Valchek leaks department statistics to Mayor Tommy Carcetti that indicate a rising crime rate. When Commissioner Ervin Burrell delivers manipulated statistics to Carcetti, the mayor finally has the political ammunition he needs to fire Burrell. He plans to replace Burrell with Cedric Daniels but is worried that he will not be accepted by Burrell’s supporters. Carcetti has ex-reporter Norman Wilson leak news of the plan to Sun editor Gus Haynes to test the waters.

Rhonda Pearlman begins presenting evidence before the grand jury in preparation for seeking an indictment against Clay Davis on corruption charges. Davis' driver, Damien Price, testifies under subpoena before the grand jury, and we see Pearlman interrogating him about the $20,000 cash he was arrested with by Daniel's detail when leaving the 221 Tower (Lessons). Meanwhile, Davis tries desperately, but without success, to convince his former allies to protect him, namely Burrell and Carcetti, trying to sell once again to the latter his contacts with the ministers, Nerese Campbell and the black legislative caucus.

Baltimore Sun[edit]

Alma Gutierrez is disappointed when her story on the Junebug triple homicide doesn’t make the front page.

The Baltimore Sun faces major budgetary cuts from its owners and copes by closing foreign bureaus and offering reporters "buy-outs" to leave their jobs. One reporter forced to accept a buy-out is crime beat veteran Roger Twigg. Twigg puts his institutional knowledge into play for a final time to deliver the commissioner story. Scott Templeton is disappointed when Twigg is given the story and responds by producing a strongly worded "react" quote which implicates Daniels in deposing Burrell. Daniels is mortified by the quote and confides in his ex-wife Marla Daniels about his fears that Burrell will use information about corruption in Daniels' past to end his career.


Michael Lee is withdrawn following his involvement in the home invasion murders and Duquan "Dukie" Weems convinces him that the two of them should take Bug on a day trip to Six Flags America in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. Michael hires a hack cab to transport them to and from Six Flags. The three boys enjoy the rides and games at the park, winning stuffed animal prizes at one of the carnival-style booths. The two older boys also meet and flirt with similarly-aged girls from Fairfax County, Virginia, an affluent Washington suburb. Upon their return, Michael is reprimanded by Monk for leaving his drug dealing corner untended.

Stanfield Organization[edit]

Marlo Stanfield approaches Spiros "Vondas" Vondopoulos with a monetary gift which is rejected because the bundled bills are "dirty". Stanfield seeks help from Proposition Joe both in acquiring clean bills as well as in laundering his money through Caribbean-based charities. Stanfield also offers a bounty on anyone connected to Omar Little. Joe accommodates Stanfield's financial requests but avoids helping him find Omar. Stanfield visits the Antilles to check on his laundered money and gives a second, clean gift to The Greeks. Joe tells his nephew, Cheese, that he fears provoking Omar into returning to Baltimore. Cheese ignores his wishes and gives Chris Partlow information on Omar's associate Butchie in secret for the $50,000 bounty.

Partlow and Snoop torture Butchie, demanding Omar's location. After Butchie refuses to give up Omar, Chris executes him, leaving a witness alive to ensure that word of their actions reaches Omar. The message sent by Chris and Snoop finds Omar in idyllic retirement with Renaldo in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and shatters his peace.[3][4]


  • Butchie's bodyguard - shot in the head by Snoop Pearson.
  • Butchie - tortured and killed by Chris Partlow and Snoop.


  1. ^ "Season 5 crew". HBO. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  2. ^ "HBO Schedule: THE WIRE 53: NOT FOR ATTRIBUTION". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  3. ^ Scott and Joy Kecken (directors); Chris Collins (story and teleplay), David Simon (story) (2008-01-20). "Not for Attribution". The Wire. Season 5. Episode 3. HBO. 
  4. ^ "The Wire episode guide - episode 53 Not for Attribution". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 

External links[edit]