Took (The Wire)

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The Wire episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 7
Directed by Dominic West
Story by David Simon
Richard Price
Teleplay by Richard Price
Original air date February 17, 2008 (2008-02-17)
Running time 58 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Dickensian Aspect"
Next →
List of The Wire episodes

"Took" is the seventh episode of the fifth season of the HBO original series, The Wire. The episode was written by Richard Price from a story by David Simon & Richard Price and was directed by cast member Dominic West.[1] It aired on February 17, 2008.[2]


Title reference[edit]

The title refers to Scott Templeton, since as some of his lies are being confirmed, Gus Haynes is for the first time stating out loud that Templeton may have lied ("Everybody gets took now and then. I know I did. It's about not owning up to it."). It also refers to the fact that the politicians, police commanders, and newspaper executives have been duped into putting resources towards the faux serial killer by subordinates looking to further their own agenda. On a different meaning of the word, it could also refer to the homeless man Jimmy McNulty abducted off the street in the previous episode.


Pearlman says this referring to the pseudo-populist tactics Sen. Clay Davis used to escape conviction.

Non-fiction elements[edit]

B.P.I.: Baltimore Police Identification.[3] This system is mentioned when Dennis Mello answers Gus Haynes about the plausibility of Scott Templeton's defense for his "crab lady" story.


Starring cast[edit]

Although credited, John Doman, Domenick Lombardozzi, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Jamie Hector, and Michael Kostroff do not appear in this episode.

Guest stars[edit]

Stanley Boyd's name is misspelled in the credits as Stanely Boyd.

Uncredited appearances[edit]


McNulty's Serial Killer[edit]

Jimmy McNulty, Lester Freamon, and Leander Sydnor devise a plan to get Baltimore Sun reporter Scott Templeton to take a phone call from the faux homeless serial killer. McNulty, as the killer, acts upset about the articles painting him in a sexual light and declares that no more bodies will be found in the city; instead, he will simply send pictures of his victims (via cell phone). In both the newspaper and police offices the bosses tell their troops that they have been assured that they will have the resources to follow the case/story to its end and that it is a top priority.

Freamon, given technology to intercept the cell phone images via his illegal Marlo tap, runs up against a tougher code than he expected – nothing but a clock face showing a different time in each picture – and he needs more manpower for surveillance to see what Marlo's people are doing and where they're going after they receive these messages from The Greek.

McNulty, knowing the case is one big facade, sends the surveillance teams to Freamon while allocating the extra manpower assigned to (and forced on) him to allow other detectives to get "real police work" done: giving the detectives the overtime they have sorely needed. Unfortunately, the added attention begins to be too much for McNulty as the bosses offer him more and more men and, eventually, the fact that he's giving away time gets out and people come looking for it.


Detective "Bunk" Moreland refuses to attend a mandatory meeting about the homeless murders, knowing their true nature, opting instead to work on his 22 open murders going back to the previous year. Sergeant Ellis Carver takes Michael Lee off of his corner, bringing him to Bunk so he can ask about Michael's dead stepfather. Michael provides Bunk with nothing new, which only adds to Bunk's unhappiness with everything going on with McNulty – including his inability to get lab results back due to the homeless murders taking precedence.


Off-screen, Omar Little robs a Stanfield stash house, killing a soldier and flushing several kilos of heroin down the drain. He leaves Vincent alive and tied up to make sure the message reaches Marlo. Omar later traps former Barksdale and current Stanfield soldier Savino Bratton, who states that he wasn't there when Chris Partlow and Snoop tortured and killed Butchie. Omar suggests that he wouldn't have tried to help the situation anyway. Bratton remains silent, so after a moment of consideration, Omar kills him.

Later, in broad daylight, Omar limps on a crutch to confront Michael's corner, visibly scaring them. He tells Michael to tell Marlo that he killed Savino, and that he'll take out all his muscle until Marlo comes at him himself.


Gus Haynes consults Major Dennis Mello, an old friend, in a cop bar about someone — hypothetically — going through the court system with a false name. Mello points out that arrest sheets carry fingerprints and photos making such a thing nearly impossible, casting doubt on Scott Templeton's confirmation that his original "crab lady" story was correct (Templeton reports about the story in Unconfirmed Reports, and the first doubts about the veracity of the orphans' "scholarship fund" mentioned in his article arise and are denied by Templeton in The Dickensian Aspect). Rebecca Corbett and Gus both show disgust later at Templeton's maudlin story about his night living with the homeless.

Gus sends Mike Fletcher off to research the homeless as well, not specifically for a story, and he winds up at the same kitchen Templeton was at and Bubbles is working at. Bubbles informs him it's not really a place for homeless persons, which surprises Fletcher, but offers to take him around later. They meet under the same expressway overpass Templeton previously visited, and Fletcher spends some time talking to the homeless in the area. When he offers to pay Bubbles, Bubbles turns him down, telling him to "write it how it feels".

Clay Davis' Trial[edit]

State Senator Clay Davis hires high-powered attorney Billy Murphy (played by the real life Baltimore attorney of the same name) to represent him in his case, attempting to sway him to his side by "offering" to be indicted federally to make it a bigger case. Davis arrives at the courthouse with a copy of Prometheus Bound, comparing himself to the titular character (and mispronouncing both the name of the main character and author). During the trial the state presents its evidence and testimony from former Davis driver Damien Lavelle "Day Day" Price, who states that he returned his charity salaries to Davis in cash. Taking the stand himself, Davis charms the jury, saying he withdrew cash simply so that it would be on hand for him to dispense to needy constituents. To the shock of Bond and Pearlman, Davis is found not guilty.


Detective Kima Greggs, assigned to the homeless killings full-time, spends an entire day getting background information on the confirmed victims which "ruins her whole week". After work she has plans to keep her ex-partner's son Elijah for the night and asks McNulty where to get children's furniture. He tells her IKEA, but fails to inform her that their furniture must be assembled. Having apparently failed to assemble the bed, she sleeps on a chair in the living room; it's suggested that Elijah has been put to sleep in her own bed. However, when Elijah wakes her saying that he can't sleep, Greggs sits with him in the apartment window (an homage to a scene in the film Clockers, which was based on the Richard Price novel of the same name) saying good night to the denizens of the inner city à la Goodnight Moon.


Special appearance[edit]

Richard Belzer makes a cameo appearance as former Baltimore police detective John Munch, the character he portrayed on the Baltimore-based police drama Homicide: Life on the Street (1993–1999), and subsequently on the New York-based Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–2014). Clark Johnson's character, Augustus Haynes, walks into a bar to speak with Major Dennis Mello, played by Jay Landsman (The John Munch character was based upon Landsman from David Simon's non-fiction book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets ). On Homicide, Johnson's character Meldrick Lewis owned a Baltimore bar with Munch. As Haynes walks past him, Munch can be heard telling the bartender that he once owned a bar.


  1. ^ "Season 5 crew". HBO. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  2. ^ "HBO Schedule: THE WIRE 57: TOOK". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  3. ^ Simon, David (1992). Homicide : a year on the killing streets (Pbk. ed.). Canongate. p. 313. ISBN 9781847673121. 

External links[edit]