Refugees (The Wire)

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The Wire episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 4
Directed by Jim McKay
Story by Ed Burns
Dennis Lehane
Teleplay by Dennis Lehane
Original air date October 1, 2006 (2006-10-01)
Running time 58 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Season 4 episodes
List of The Wire episodes

"Refugees" is the fourth episode of the fourth season of the HBO original series The Wire. Written by Dennis Lehane from a story by Ed Burns & Dennis Lehane, and directed by Jim McKay, it originally aired on October 1, 2006.


The episode marks the first (speaking) appearance of Prez's wife, Joan (Major Valchek's daughter). She previously appeared in the background at a family dinner scene early in the second season, (though played by a different actress). It is also significant because Richard De Angelis makes his final appearance as CID Colonel Raymond Foerster.

The dialogue between Marlo and the security guard (specifically the "You want it to be one way" section) was sampled in Little Brother's 2007 album Getback on the song "Sirens".

Title reference[edit]

The episode title refers to the detectives fleeing the major crimes unit. It also refers to Bodie being on his own in the streets after the fall of the Barksdale organization.


Prez says this referring to a game of football he is watching, but alludes to the failure of the schools to teach the children and the police to tackle crime. This quote is almost certainly a reference to the 1975 film Night Moves, in which the protagonist says virtually exactly the same thing to his wife when she asks him who is winning in a televised football game: "Nobody. One side is just losing slower than the other."


Starring cast[edit]

Although credited, Lance Reddick, Deirdre Lovejoy, and Seth Gilliam do not appear in this episode. This is the first episode of the series not to feature Reddick. Since Reddick was the only actor in every episode prior to this, from this point on, nobody has appeared in every episode.

Guest stars[edit]

Uncredited appearances[edit]




Mayor Clarence Royce meets with his Chief of Staff Coleman Parker, who thinks that with Pan-African flag colors on his campaign posters Royce can win the city's African American vote. Royce sarcastically asks if he should go one further by wearing Dashikis like former Washington D.C. mayor Marion Barry. Parker also presses him for more money and Royce suggests organizing a card game.

At Royce's poker game his opponents deliberately lose to him knowing that the money will fund his campaign. His guests are unhappy that he has held many of these fund raising games recently. The players include property developers Andy Krawczyk and Ed Bowers.

Tommy Carcetti discusses meeting with the interdenominational ministerial alliance with his campaign staff, Norman Wilson, Theresa D'Agostino and Gerry. Gerry and D'Agostino advise against the meeting, as they feel that the ministers' endorsement is beyond Carcetti's grasp. Wilson and Carcetti believe the meeting has importance beyond the election and that even if the ministers endorse Royce, they may not work as hard for him after hearing what Carcetti has to say. Carcetti's meeting goes well; he offers respect and a promise to earn the group's support over time while listening to their concerns. He is thanked for coming.

State Delegate Odell Watkins watches his protege Marla Daniels in a debate with her opponent Eunetta Perkins. Perkins has been criticized in the past for her poor meeting attendance and incumbent standing, but seems to hold her own against Daniels in the debate. Watkins then sees a campaign flyer and is enraged to see Perkins listed on Royce's ticket even though he had promised to support Daniels.


Kima Greggs shows up a day early for her new post with the homicide unit and is met by Sergeant Jay Landsman. She tells him she wanted to help her squad with the weekend shift as well as to avoid the new commander of the Major Crimes Unit, Lieutenant Charlie Marimow. Landsman has noticed Marimow's impact on the unit, sharing a disdain for the lieutenant, claiming that "Marimow does not cast off talent lightly. He heaves it away with great force." Landsman then tells Greggs that her colleague Lester Freamon arrived two days earlier. Landsman shows Greggs the interview room where Bunk Moreland has a witness who identifies Curtis "Lex" Anderson as the killer of Fruit. Landsman continues with a tour of the department. He gives Greggs a telephone message. Freamon welcomes Greggs to the unit. Both Freamon and Landsman urge Greggs to answer the message, which turns out to be a practical joke.

Homicide unit commander Colonel Raymond Foerster meets with Commissioner Ervin Burrell and his deputy William Rawls to discuss the recent murder of a state's witness. The murder has cost the mayor politically and he has asked Burrell to slow the investigation so that no proof that the motive was the victim's upcoming testimony will emerge before election day. Burrell orders Foerster to take the case away from veteran detective Ed Norris and instead assign it to Greggs because of her rookie status. Foerster appears emaciated and drained throughout the meeting. Nevertheless, he argues to keep Norris as the investigator and, suspecting Burrell's motives, offers a guarantee that no further details of the investigation will reach the press before the election. Burrell tells him that he resents the implication.

After the meeting Foerster complains to Rawls, who agrees that Burrell's decision to reassign the case is a mistake. Foerster tells Landsman about the order and has him reassign the Braddock case to Greggs despite their shared misgivings.

Bunk and Freamon meet with Officer Jimmy McNulty in the Western District. Freamon is disappointed that McNulty is not making the most of his investigative talents, but McNulty remains content with his new role. They discuss Marimow's destruction of the major crimes unit, whereupon Bunk claims that Marimow has a reputation for being the departmental "unit killer". Officer Walker arrives as the homicide detectives have requested backup. They are there to serve a warrant on Lex's home. After the warrant is served Freamon invites McNulty for a drink but he refuses to commit to any plans. Once inside, Bunk realizes that Lex's mother is grieving and has set up a shrine to her son. He pressures her with the threat of further raids, but she has no information for him.

Bunk and Freamon drink without McNulty in a bar. Bunk is chasing women but Freamon is intent on their case. He ties the disappearance of Lex after shooting a Stanfield drug dealer to the lack of violence relating to Stanfield despite his prominence. Freamon theorizes that Stanfield is hiding corpses somewhere; perhaps in sewers, parks or a rogue funeral home.

Bunk and Crutchfield take Greggs through her first crime scene. Bunk advises her that she needs "soft eyes" to see everything at a scene (foreshadowed in "Soft Eyes", a previous episode). Greggs notices something in the victim's hand, but it is another initiation joke. When they return to the office, Greggs is dismayed when Landsman assigns her the Braddock case after having previously promised that she would not take the lead role in any homicide cases for her first few months.

Marlo Stanfield[edit]

Marlo Stanfield plays poker with a group of old timers. He is goaded into going all-in on a hand and loses everything. Outside Marlo calls Chris Partlow to pick him up from a nearby grocery store. Marlo enters the store and is recognized by the security guard. He brazenly steals a lollipop as the security guard watches. The guard follows him outside and asks him why he had to steal when he knew he was there. Marlo claims the guard's presence meant nothing to him. The guard protests Marlo's attitude and Marlo tells the guard that he wants it to be one way but it's the other way, as Chris pulls up.

Marlo gets a visit from Old Face Andre at Vinson's rim shop. Andre reports Omar Little's recent robbery of his store. Andre tries to claim that Marlo should let him out of his debt because Omar is comparable to a terrorist. Marlo is more interested in Andre's ring than his excuses and demands that he hand it over and then tells him to pay what he owes. After Andre leaves, Marlo tells Chris that he needs more money for another poker game. Marlo is confident that he will begin winning soon or else he will send Chris to reclaim his losses.

Marlo assigns Chris and Snoop to kill the security guard for talking back to him. They stake out the store and track his movements. Next they visit independent drug dealer Bodie Broadus to confirm his decision on Marlo's ultimatum to take their package or move on. As they walk over, Bodie's corner leaves Bodie alone to talk to Chris and Snoop. Bodie reluctantly agrees to sell for Marlo. Chris asks about Michael; Bodie tells them he has moved on and wonders why they are interested in him. Chris warns Bodie that "'why' ain't in your repertoire no more," making it clear that he has a low rank in the Stanfield organization. Stanfield soldier O-Dog arrives as soon as Chris and Snoop leave. He gives Bodie a package of narcotics and the terms of his business relationship with Marlo. Bodie is warned not to mess with Marlo's money by O-Dog but Bodie pays little acknowledgement to the soldier.

Chris and Snoop track Michael to his home. Snoop notices his poor circumstances and theorizes that a good offer will lure him into becoming a crew chief for them. Chris remains uncertain. Later they store the corpse of the guard in another vacant building and board it back up. Chris discards the guard's badge after confiscating it from Snoop, who had hoped to keep it as a souvenir.

New Day Co-Op[edit]

Proposition Joe meets with Marlo to try and convince him to join his drug dealers' co-op. Joe is interested in acquiring Marlo's help in a planned war with New York drug dealers who are moving into Eastern Baltimore. Marlo is unconcerned because his territory is all in the West side. Joe offers protection from surprises through his information network, legal support and the highest quality product. Marlo believes he is already untouchable and ends the meeting politely but abruptly.


Omar visits his advisor Butchie at his bar. Proposition Joe is there having arranged a meeting. Joe is careful to assure Omar that he had nothing to do with Stringer Bell's plans to manipulate Omar into killing Brother Mouzone despite organizing the meeting with Omar on Stringer's behalf. He offers Omar a proposition to make amends: information on the high-stakes card game that Marlo attends. He asks for a quarter of the take but claims there are no strings attached. Omar agrees to stake out the game and decide for himself but warns Joe that he will hold him responsible if anything seems suspicious.

Omar finds the opportunity to his liking and robs the game while Marlo is playing. He takes Marlo's recently acquired ring along with all of his money. When Marlo tells Omar that this is not the end of their dealings Omar warns him that he can find his people with less effort than Marlo will need to find him. Marlo leaves Omar with a wish that he wear the ring in health.

Major case unit[edit]

Lieutenant Charlie Marimow watches his two remaining officers, Leander Sydnor and Caroline Massey, as they turn off the wiretaps they had strived to get in place on the Stanfield organization.

Detective Kenneth Dozerman and Sergeant Thomas "Herc" Hauk report to the unit, having just been assigned there. Marimow is skeptical of Herc's credentials, noting that he was promoted after driving for the mayor for just three months. Herc is dismayed to learn that Freamon and Greggs have been reassigned and takes an instant dislike to the lieutenant. Marimow lectures Herc and Dozerman on what and how they will be operating.


Bubbles berates his young charge Sherrod for missing school and warns him that not attending classes could mean the end of their business partnership. The two meet with Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly to discuss Sherrod's poor attendance; Bubbles continues to pose as his uncle and places the blame on their business enterprise. Donnelly encourages Sherrod to attend. When Bubbles questions the logic of placing Sherrod in eighth grade when he has missed three years of school, Donnelly explains to Bubbles the reasons for the school's social promotion policy. Later Bubbles watches Sherrod pretend to read books from school. Sherrod takes out an algebra book and a French dictionary, claiming one to be a workbook that goes with the other. Bubbles isn't fooled but says nothing about the ruse.


Middle school friends Duquan "Dukie" Weems, Randy Wagstaff, Namond Brice and Michael Lee spend time at the community gym run by Dennis "Cutty" Wise. They talk about the maiming of one of their classmates, Chiquan, by another girl, Laetitia. Namond upsets Dukie by re-enacting the scene, Michael breaks the two apart. Dukie claims that Laetitia's parents drove her crazy. Randy tells the others that she came from a group home. Cutty is waiting for a young fighter named Spider for a lesson. When Spider doesn't arrive Cutty offers Michael a training session. The deacon arrives at the gym to offer Cutty a custodian position with the Edward Tilghman Middle School that the boys attend.

At home, the teacher of the math class where the girl was injured, Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski, plans a talk for his class to help them get over the event. His wife tries to convince him to get out of the house but he is too preoccupied thinking of his class.

Donnelly introduces Sherrod to Mr. Pryzbylewski and he joins the class. When Prez tries to discuss the incident with the class his attempts are disrupted by Namond Brice, Karim Williams, Darnell Tyson and others quizzing him about his past career with the police. Randy and Sherrod both use the disruption to leave the class. Prez notices Sherrod taking a book from the ground outside the classroom window.

Randy is caught selling candy in the sixth grade cafeteria by Miss Reese and taken to Mrs. Donnelly's office. At the office Donnelly is interviewing Cutty for the new job. Rather than act as a custodian she is hoping he will take the job and perform as a truant officer for the school. Because there are no funds available to employ truant officers, Donnelly holds the custodian jobs back to pay for them. Cutty recognizes Randy when he is brought in. Donnelly questions Randy about a spate of graffiti, implying that his fake hall pass had given him ample opportunity to "tag" the school. She insists that he tell her who is responsible or she will phone his foster mother, Miss Anna.

Cutty and another man named Marvin begin rounding up children for classes. Cutty learns that rather than trying to get children an education, their main aim is to give the school the minimum attendance figures it needs to secure extra funding: each truant child need only attend once a month for the first two months of the year.

Howard "Bunny" Colvin and Dr. David Parenti meet with the school superintendent, Mrs. Conway, to discuss starting an in-school program aimed at preventing children from growing up to become repeat violent offenders. She is eager to affirm that the scheme will not bring bad publicity to the education board. Otherwise, she is happy to accept the funding. Later the trio meet with the principal and Colvin and Parenti sign confidentiality agreements and safety waivers. After the meeting Colvin meets with the eighth grade head teacher Grace Sampson. She tells him that many teachers view the scheme as the latest unwelcome intrusion from city hall. She tells him that the children follow a weekly cycle with their best behavior on Wednesdays where they have spent the most time in the relatively safe environment of the school. Colvin observes some classes and walks the halls. He sees variation in how well classes perform with the best behavior in the younger grades.

After school Namond tells the others that someone was suspended for the graffiti and theorizes that someone must have told the teachers. There is a universal contempt for "snitches" at the school. While the students head home, Prez meets with Donnelly and the police and learns that Chiquan will be severely scarred but that she was not HIV positive. Michael takes his younger brother Bug home and starts him on his homework. Michael then heads to the gym.

At the gym Cutty oversees a sparring match between Justin and Marcus. With Spider still absent, Cutty offers to take Michael to a boxing match that he had planned to attend with Justin and Spider. Michael agrees to come, after receiving assurance that Justin will also attend. At the match Michael avoids Cutty's attempts at conversation and talks to Justin instead. When Cutty drops Justin home Michael gets out of the van and refuses a lift to his house.


  • Security guard: murdered by Chris and Snoop for talking back to Marlo.



  1. ^ "Episode guide - episode 41 Refugees". HBO. 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-03. 
  2. ^ Dennis Lehane, Ed Burns (2004-10-31). "Refugees". The Wire. Season 4. Episode 04. HBO. 

External links[edit]