The Cost (The Wire)
|The Wire episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Brad Anderson|
|Teleplay by||David Simon|
|Story by||David Simon
|Original air date||August 11, 2002|
|Running time||55 minutes|
"The Cost" is the tenth episode of the first 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 Brad Anderson. It originally aired on August 11, 2002.
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Bubbles, clean for three days, sits on a park bench, people watching. He meets with Walon, an NA sponsor. Walon gives Bubbles some frank advice, while telling him about catching the bug, and infecting his girlfriend.
Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell meet with Wee-Bey Brice and tell him to contact Omar Little to negotiate a truce. Stringer convinces Avon to take a step back from the game and insulate himself further from his organization. Avon gives up his pager so that his subordinates will have to contact him through Stringer.
Detective Jimmy McNulty visits Judge Phelan’s office and it seems the judge has lost his stomach for the investigation. After the meeting, ASA Rhonda Pearlman tells McNulty that Phelan is off the mayor's re-election ticket.
D'Angelo Barksdale ignores his girlfriend Donette as she plans out a home for them and their son. He walks out without giving her the money she is asking for. He waits for his new flame Shardene outside of Orlando's gentleman's club, but she refuses to talk to him.
At the detail offices, Lester Freamon has mapped the Barksdale stash to a payphone in Pimlico. Every time a resupply is needed, they page the same number and the return call comes from the same payphone. Ellis Carver and Leander Sydnor are the only detectives available for surveillance of the phone as Herc is on a training course for the week.
Carver works the night shift at the Mondo mart. Sydnor takes over the next day. Detective Santangelo identifies Little Man using the tower phone and Sydnor soon finds the respondent at his phone. Freamon instructs Sydnor to follow the resupply man and he tracks him to a suburban house. Later, at the office Freamon organizes Sydnor and Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski to surveil the house as garbage men.
Orlando is arrested by narcotics cops when he tries to buy cocaine from an undercover officer, Troy Wiggins. He gives them Avon's name to try to avoid his charge and the detail gets involved. When Orlando is transferred to county jail, he is identified by Marvin Browning, a Barksdale crew member serving time, who phones in Orlando's whereabouts. Levy visits Orlando, but only to take his name off the club's liquor license; now that he has a record, Avon is severing their ties.
Lieutenant Daniels and Pearlman meet with Kima Greggs and McNulty to discuss the use of Orlando. Daniels suggests they could use him in a buy bust to move up the ladder. In a meeting with Deputy Commissioner Burrell and Major Foerster, Daniels makes a case for waiting, but Burrell insists they make a buy bust.
After working out that Wallace is squatting in the projects and tapping power from a vacant apartment, McNulty bribes Officer Bobby Brown and his partner with a case of beer and some crab cakes to wait for Wallace to return to his home. Greggs pages McNulty and he goes to meet with her. Omar has contacted her and needs medical care for his shoulder wound.
Once Wallace is brought in, McNulty finds him ready to talk. He gives up Stringer, Wee-Bey, and several other tower soldiers in Brandon's murder. Daniels sits in on Wallace's interrogation. Afterwards, Pearlman discusses where Wallace can go until they need him for the trial. They decide he would be best placed with his grandmother on the Eastern Shore, as there are no funds for protective custody. Later, Daniels drives Wallace to his new home and notices that he is in withdrawal.
McNulty discovers that his estranged wife Elena has organized an emergency hearing to limit his visitation rights. The judge dismisses the suggestion and asks them to deal with the problem themselves. McNulty tries to convince Elena that he loves his family. Elena reminds him that she has photographs of him meeting with Pearlman.
Greggs goes out drinking with Cheryl and the two try to match each other. It seems Cheryl has as strong a stomach as Greggs. One of their friends asks how Greggs knew she wanted to be a cop, and she tells the story of an adrenaline-fueled arrest. Cheryl looks uncomfortable throughout, but when Greggs acknowledges her misgivings, the two kiss.
Omar meets with Stringer under Proposition Joe's supervision. They discuss a truce and, despite Omar wearing a wire, the detectives come away with little new information. Bell does not deny a link to Brandon’s murder, but is quick to shield Avon’s name from the discussion. Omar asks for $5,000 for a retirement fund; Stringer does not reject this, which leads Omar to believe the truce is a trap. Omar later boards a bus to New York. McNulty sees him off and asks him to keep in touch.
Wee-Bey, Avon, and Stringer discuss the meeting later and Shardene tries to listen in with little success. She reports in to Freamon and tells him that she finds it hard to identify any of the players without her glasses, which she doesn't wear to work. They joke about her ugly spectacles.
Bubbles meets with Greggs and asks for her help getting a place to stay clean; she agrees to give him some money the following day.
With no other option, Daniels organizes a buy bust. Greggs is to be the undercover officer in the car, and she tapes a gun to the underside of the back seat in preparation. Savino meets with Orlando and they drive to another location. Greggs sits in the back. She tries to give their location over a concealed radio, but Savino seems suspicious and turns up the car's radio. The detail loses track of the car. Savino exits the vehicle to bring the product. Greggs is unsure of their location because the signs have been moved around, and she gets suspicious when she sees two hooded figures approaching the car. Orlando is shot by the two men while Greggs scrambles to find her gun. Greggs' signal disappears before the detail can find her. When they eventually find the vehicle, Orlando is dead and Greggs is severely wounded with gunshots to the neck and chest.
The title refers to the injury to Greggs, the cost of the investigation. Also, it refers to the cost of Bubbles's newfound sobriety, as well as the cost of what he could lose (a home with his estranged sister).
|“||And then he dropped the bracelets... - Greggs||”|
Greggs uses the quotation when describing her experience of a difficult physical arrest where she received nonchalant backup and realized she was meant to be a police officer.
The song playing in the car with Orlando and Greggs is "Hater Players" by Black Star. The song playing while Shardene tries to listen in on Wee-Bey, Avon, and Stringer is Ms. Fat Booty by Black Star-member Mos Def.
In his meeting with Omar, Stringer uses the phrase "truth be told" which is also the title of the guide book on the series.
When Omar leaves at the bus station and says goodbye to McNulty, he is asked about New York City. He replies 'There must be something happening, it's too big a town', a line lifted from the Steve Earle song 'New York City'
- Wendell "Orlando" Blocker: Avon Barksdale's errant frontman turned police co-operator.