Stray Rounds

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"Stray Rounds"
The Wire episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 9
Directed by Tim Van Patten
Story by David Simon
Ed Burns
Teleplay by David Simon
Original air date July 27, 2003 (2003-07-27)
Running time 58 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Duck and Cover"
Next →
"Storm Warnings"
List of The Wire episodes

"Stray Rounds" is the ninth episode of the second 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 Tim Van Patten. It originally aired on July 27, 2003.


Title reference[edit]

The title refers to the stray bullets from the gunfight one of which killed a nearby child, as well as the 'rounds' of alcohol which poisoned Ziggy's duck. It may also refer to the Greek's straying from their normal business activity by having rounds of clean cans sent, and by Stringer straying from Avon's wishes by using Proposition Joe's raw connect sold in his towers. Finally, Lieutenant Daniels and his team 'stray' from the target appointed them by Major Valchek, embarking on a case much wider than was originally conceived.


The Greek makes this statement referring to telecommunication. It also refers to the fact that many of the show's characters are connected to each other, even while being unaware of it.


Starring cast[edit]

Although credited, Wood Harris and Andre Royo do not appear in this episode.



Sobotka detail[edit]

Members of the detail are dismayed at the lack of activity from their subjects and realize that they must have changed their operating procedures. The team decides they need to track a new phone number for the target they just identified before the smuggling ring changed up. Lieutenant Cedric Daniels assigns Thomas "Herc" Hauk and Ellis Carver to watch the warehouse while Lester Freamon, Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski, Bunk Moreland and Beadie Russell man their remaining wiretaps.

Jimmy McNulty continues to try to infiltrate the Greek's brothel and has more success when taking Freamon's advice to pose as a British john. McNulty uses a badly faked English accent and the cover name James Cromwell (the surname coming from Oliver Cromwell), to book a visit. McNulty visits his pal from the FBI, Terrence "Fitz" Fitzhugh and apologizes for his actions last time they met. Fitz agrees to help him look up George "Double G" Glekas. Fitz finds that Glekas’s file has been sealed by an agent named Koutris. Koutris tells Fitz there is little to the file they are holding. Once the call is finished, Koutris phones Spiros "Vondas" Vondopoulos to let him know other agents are looking into Glekas.

At the office, Russell notices a container going missing and asks Carver to watch what happens with it as he is already out on surveillance at the Greek's warehouse. Carver reports the truck’s arrival while Eton Ben-Eleazer orders one of his men to record the license plates of cars near the warehouse in order to check if the police are nearby.

McNulty successfully infiltrates the brothel and is seduced by two prostitutes as he calls for the rest of the team to intervene. When they arrive and arrest the patrons, they find McNulty in the middle of sexual intercourse. McNulty later writes a statement which is witnessed by a visibly annoyed Rhonda Pearlman.

The Greeks[edit]

Nick Sobotka meets with Vondas to discuss their business. Vondas puts Nick in touch with "White" Mike McArdle to supply him with his drugs from now on. Vondas gives Nick a new list of clean containers to disappear.

Vondas discusses the smuggling business with Eton and they agree to move more drugs. Later, The Greek has dinner with Vondas, Eton, Double G and Ilona (the madam from the brothel). At dinner, they discuss the unreliability of their Colombian business partners. In an act of revenge, The Greek gives the details of a huge Colombian cocaine shipment, disguised as blue paint pellets in a shipping container, to agent Koutris, his man in the FBI, who makes the drug bust.

Western shooting[edit]

Bodie Broadus’s crew face the repercussions of beating another crew of dealers to get them off their turf when they come back with guns. In the ensuing gunfight, a nine-year-old boy is killed by a stray bullet through his bedroom window.

Colonel William Rawls welcomes Major Howard "Bunny" Colvin and Lieutenant Dennis Mello to the scene of the shooting. Rawls is angry that they are late, with a sarcastic lament: "It used to be when a nine-year-old kid hit the pavement, the district commander would be there within minutes." Colvin explains that Burrell had taken him to DC with other district commanders to attend a seminar. Ed Norris is the lead investigator from homicide. Rawls asks Colvin to have Western and tactical arrest as many dealers as possible while his men work the case.

Bodie reports the gunfight to Stringer Bell; Stringer is angry that their trade will be disrupted indefinitely by the boy's accidental death. Stringer tells Bodie that their business revolves around more than violence, territory and reputations and that Bodie needs to show some flexibility and intelligence. Shamrock drives Bodie to dispose of the weapons; Bodie wipes them clean as they travel and throws them over the side of the Hanover Street bridge near the harbor. Unbeknownst to them, the bag of guns lands on the deck of a passing barge and is later picked up by city police.

Colvin's district conducts a large-scale strike operation against drug dealers and makes numerous arrests. The SWAT Team leader has everyone in the pit arrested on suspicion of murdering the young child. Mello comments that they waited too long to do this and Colvin asks him what it is they think they are actually doing.

Sergeant Jay Landsman discusses the case with Ray Cole and Norris. They have had witnesses mention Bodie. Norris and Cole later bring Bodie in and interrogate him. To his surprise, Cole and Norris present him with the bagged weapons he failed to adequately dispose of. Cole tells him they have matched his prints to a weapon. Bodie challenges Cole by asking him to point out which one was his. When Cole, who is clearly bluffing, picks the wrong weapon, Bodie knows it and believes he's not in as much trouble as they say he is. Bodie confidently says one word: "Lawyer."

Barksdale trade[edit]

Stringer meets with Proposition Joe to discuss co-operating over sharing product and territory. Proposition Joe is worried that Avon Barksdale might not be so keen to share his territory. Stringer suggests that when Avon sees how much money his organization will make from co-operating with Joe's, he'll come around, but he himself sounds far from convinced.

Stringer asks Brianna Barksdale to talk to Avon about the deal he has made with Proposition Joe. He says that with their weak product and lack of muscle, they're out of options. Brianna soon reports back that Avon is still adamantly against co-operating with Proposition Joe. Avon told Brianna to assure Stringer that he's working on getting a new supply and is bringing in muscle from New York, named Brother Mouzone, to help fight off rival dealers.

Disturbed, Stringer takes this news to Proposition Joe who is even more concerned. Stringer assures Joe that their deal is still on and that they have time before Brother Mouzone arrives to get their plan into action, insisting to Proposition Joe that they work together to deal with Brother Mouzone. Joe refuses to send any of his people up against Brother Mouzone, realizing his reputation as a feared hitman.

At the end of the episode, a calm, well-dressed man in a suit and bow-tie arrives at the projects, nodding amiably at the police swarming around the area. The man surveying the scene is the fearsome Brother Mouzone - two weeks early.

Dock business[edit]

Ziggy Sobotka drinks with Johnny "Fifty" Spamanto and expresses a desire to get out of the drug business, despite having been involved for over a year. Nick arrives later and Ziggy, very drunk and distraught, tries to start a fight with him. Nick refuses to rise to Ziggy, then finds out in the bar why Ziggy was so upset. Ziggy had accidentally killed his pet duck—he gave the duck hard liquor, and it died of alcohol poisoning in the bar.

Ziggy meets with Glekas and offers him stolen cars from the docks to sell abroad. Glekas is initially reluctant but eventually agrees to give Ziggy a chance since it is a good deal for him. Ziggy plans to create a track across the grass and a hole in the fence to take the cars through to make the theft look like an outside job.


  • T.T.: A child, shot and killed in Westside projects gunfight.
  • Ziggy's duck: Died of alcohol poisoning.

First appearances[edit]

  • Howard "Bunny" Colvin: Commander of the Western district, seen at the scene of the child’s shooting.
  • Dennis Mello: Shift lieutenant in the Western district and Colvin’s right-hand man.
  • Brother Mouzone: New York hitman and drug enforcer who appears in a manner similar to Nation of Islam members.


Robert F. Colesberry makes his final appearance as Detective Ray Cole in this episode. Colesberry died in 2004 following complications from cardiac surgery.

Jimmy McNulty struggles with an English accent and vernacular in this episode. Dominic West is British. Also McNulty's undercover name was Mr. Cromwell, and West later played Oliver Cromwell in the Channel Four drama The Devil's Whore.

Detective Freamon's use of the NATO phonetic alphabet is correct, save for the letter P for which he should have used Papa instead of Paul.


External links[edit]