One Arrest

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"One Arrest"
The Wire episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 7
Directed by Joe Chappelle
Story by David Simon
Ed Burns
Teleplay by Rafael Alvarez
Original air date July 14, 2002 (2002-07-14)
Running time 59 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Season 1 episodes
List of The Wire episodes

"One Arrest" is the seventh episode of the first season of the HBO original series, The Wire (2002-2008). The episode was written by Rafael Alvarez from a story by David Simon & Ed Burns and was directed by Joe Chappelle. It originally aired on July 14, 2002.

Plot summary[edit]

The police[edit]

The Barksdale detail discuss the information they have garnered from their cloned pagers and wiretap, with Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski showing a surprising gift for decrypting messages. They have identified a resupply with a specific time. Detectives Herc, Ellis Carver, Leander Sydnor and Kima Greggs make a labored arrest of the package carrier, but let Stinkum (the driver) get away so as to not compromise the wiretap. Stinkum pages Stringer Bell from outside the towers and Sydnor rushes over to photograph him as the call is returned, so they can legally monitor the phone call. In interrogation, Prez recognizes the carrier as Kevin Johnston, the boy he blinded in one eye in Episode 2. Lieutenant Daniels appeals to Johnston to contact him if he ever wants to change his life; Johnston mocks his offer.

Detective McNulty and ASA Rhonda Pearlman meet with Judge Phelan, who pulls McNulty up in his poor grammar, but nonetheless decisively agrees to back the detectives. He then flirts with Pearlman, but when she leaves he opens up to McNulty and asks him to respond. Phelan gives support to McNulty - phone calls at "50 cents a pop" no longer work.

Phelan is surprised that Daniels stood up for the wiretaps, and worries that McNulty no longer trusts him since the murdered witness story hit the newspapers. McNulty feels that he cannot trust anyone at the moment. Daniels attends a fundraiser with his wife, Marla. Also in attendance are Deputy Commissioner Ervin Burrell and State Senator Clay Davis. Daniels finds himself in the kitchen with Davis’ driver Damien "Day-Day" Price, who is viewing the house's valuables. He speculates about the profit that could be made until Daniels reveals that he is a police officer.

Major William Rawls puts more pressure on Michael Santangelo to inform him of McNulty's actions. He then gives him an ultimatum - if he wishes to remain in homicide, he must either clear at least one of his unsolved cases by day's end or inform on McNulty. Sergeant Jay Landsman jokingly recommends a psychic, Madame LaRue, and a desperate Santangelo follows his advice. Madame LaRue turns out to be a phony, as she is unable to tell Italian from Irish, has questionable knowledge of the Saints and doesn't clean up her kid's toys.

McNulty and Bunk Moreland work on the William Gant murder case based on Omar Little’s tip that Bird Hilton was involved. They canvass the buildings opposite the crime scene looking for witnesses and find an older woman who corroborates Omar's story, and is willing to testify. Omar informs them where Bird goes to get high. The entire detail covers the shooting gallery; when Bird comes out, Bubbles identifies him and Freamon neutralizes him with a Malt Liquor bottle. Bird is arrested, and a ballistics test confirms that his gun was the murder weapon. After Bird refuses to cooperate with the interrogation and repeatedly and profanely insults the interrogators, Greggs in particular, he is beaten by Daniels, Landsman, and Greggs. Omar gives a statement to Bunk, criticizing Bird for killing a civilian. When Bunk asks Omar if he has any other tips on old murders, he gives information of Denise Redding, which happens to be one of Santangelo's open cases. McNulty relays Omar’s information to Santangelo, waking him up at home to inform him they have solved one of his open cases. Relieved, Santangelo tells McNulty that Rawls is after him. McNulty visits Pearlman to discuss his worries about Rawls as he loves the job too much for Rawls to take it from him.

The street[edit]

Greggs gets Johnny out of his charge for possession on Bubbles' behalf; part of his deal involves going into a treatment program. Bubbles and Johnny attend a Narcotics Anonymous meeting as part of the deal. Bubbles is impressed by the speaker, Walon, and declares that he has a strong desire to live at the end of the meeting.

D'Angelo Barksdale visits Orlando's to see Avon Barksdale. Orlando tells D'Angelo he has a proposition for him. Later, in The Pit, Orlando asks him to help sell some cocaine from New Orleans behind Avon’s back; D'Angelo tells Orlando he will have to think about it.

In the office, Stringer Bell berates Stinkum for talking on the phone and insists that something is wrong in D'Angelo's crew. Avon tells D'Angelo to change up and stop all trade for now. Avon also worries that the police do not seem to be onto Stinkum, as they should have connected him through the truck's plate number already. In The Pit, Bodie Broadus quizzes fellow dealer Poot Carr about Wallace. Wallace is holed up in his squat and has started taking drugs, as he is still upset over the murder of Brandon. Stringer orders them to rip out the payphones in the pit and to vary which payphones they use, not using the same one more than once per day.[1][2][3]


Title reference[edit]

The title of this episode seemingly refers to the arrest of Bird for the murder of William Gant, the major event of the episode. As the wire taps are killed by the payphone removal, "One Arrest"—that of Kevin Johnston, the runner—is also the sum total of progress the unit made from information gathered from the wire.

Another interpretation of the title is that it refers to Rawls's demand that Santangelo close at least one case; for a homicide case to be considered "closed" only requires that a suspect be arrested and charged. After the suspect is charged, the murder is considered closed/solved even if the suspect is not convicted; this is why, earlier in the season, Rawls pushes for arrests on murders in order to help the statistics, even though the cases are weak.


Bunk uses this phrase when Omar discusses his rules for life on the street. It also refers to the codes that the law and the street also follow, such as that there should be no talking on phones about business which Stinkum breaks resulting in being berated by Stringer.


First appearances[edit]

The episodes marks the first appearance of Senator Clay Davis and his aide Damien Price, establishing the first link to the political plotline that will become prominent in seasons 3–5. This is also the first appearance of Walon, Bubbles's sponsor and friend.


  1. ^ "Episode guide - episode 07 The Wire". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-08-02. 
  2. ^ David Simon, Ed Burns (2002-07-21). "One Arrest". The Wire. Season 1. Episode 7. HBO. 
  3. ^ Alvarez, Rafael (2004). The Wire: Truth Be Told. New York: Pocket Books. 

External links[edit]