Unconfirmed Reports

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"Unconfirmed Reports"
The Wire episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 2
Directed by Ernest Dickerson
Story by David Simon
William F. Zorzi
Teleplay by William F. Zorzi
Original air date January 13, 2008 (2008-01-13)
Running time 58 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"More with Less"
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"Not for Attribution"
List of The Wire episodes

"Unconfirmed Reports" is the second episode of the fifth season of the HBO original series, The Wire. The episode was written by William F. Zorzi from a story by David Simon & William F. Zorzi and was directed by Ernest Dickerson. It originally aired on 13 January 2008.


Title reference[edit]

The title refers to Scott Templeton's fabricated report, as well as McNulty's imaginary serial killer and the purported insults to Marlo's sexuality.


While discussing the situation in Baltimore with Lester and McNulty, Bunk sardonically remarks that Baltimore is not like Aruba, apparently referring to the Natalee Holloway case. Had McNulty's "killer" garnered anywhere near as much media coverage as the Holloway case, the Baltimore P.D. would likely start to receive their much needed funding. This was made in reference to the fact that the death of Black males in inner cities seem to be handled as less of a concern than that of Whites (see Missing white woman syndrome).

Non-fiction elements[edit]

Carcetti mentions the governor "diatribe on Olesker", a Baltimore Sun journalist, an incident that happened in real life in 2004. David Simon also wrote an op-ed in the Baltimore City Paper to support Olesker over alleged plagiarism leading to his resignation.[1] Olesker worked as an extra in this season of The Wire.

Carcetti also mentions the real life debate the state of Maryland was having about legalizing "slots", with Republican governor Bob Ehrlich (2004–2007, and by then the first Republican governor in Maryland since 1969) supporting the change of law, while the Maryland General Assembly, historically Democrat, was against it.[2]


Starring cast[edit]

Although credited, Lance Reddick, Seth Gilliam, Domenick Lombardozzi, Michael K. Williams, Jermaine Crawford, and Michael Kostroff do not appear in this episode.

Guest stars[edit]

Uncredited roles[edit]

  • Curt Boushell as Andy - Sun copy editor
  • Louis Stancil - Unknown Corner Boy


  • Kevin Infante and Nancy Porter (the people McNulty runs into at the medical examiner's office) are characters from novels by Laura Lippman, who is married to series creator David Simon.



Bubbles attends a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. He follows a speaker named Dee-Dee who discusses her struggle with her inner addict and her inability to maintain a personal code because of her addiction. Bubbles is engaging and humorous but unable to discuss an emotional memory. Walon tries to convince Bubbles that he has to share the tragedy of Sherrod's death in order to move on. Walon convinces Bubbles to at least occupy his time and he volunteers at a local soup kitchen.

Baltimore Sun[edit]

Scott Templeton plans a color piece about the Baltimore Orioles opening game. He fails to find a suitable subject and returns with an unverifiable story about an orphaned wheelchair user truanting to attend. Gus Haynes is concerned about the piece's lack of corroboration, implying that the story was fabricated, but is forced to print it after James Whiting gives his approval. Later, Rebecca Corbett also questions the authentication of the story, but Haynes tells her there's nothing he can do.

Stanfield Organization[edit]

Marlo Stanfield meets with Chris Partlow and Snoop about the withdrawal of the year-long police investigation (they note for example, that the police has not tried to spy on them with cameras since Unto Others). Stanfield decides to reassert his authority and orders several murders and the luring of Omar Little out of retirement. Accompanied by Partlow and one of the young protégés they have been training, Snoop carries out the murder of a rival drug dealer. Afterwards, Snoop, Partlow and Michael Lee watch the house of one of Stanfield's targets named June Bug. Marlo has ordered his murder merely because of rumors that June Bug has called Marlo a homosexual, even though no one believes it's true. Michael questions the necessity of the murder of an entire family simply for a possible verbal insult but he is admonished by Snoop for second guessing Marlo's orders. Michael is instructed to wait in the back alley and to shoot anyone who runs out of the back door. Snoop and Partlow disable the street's security cameras, stage a home invasion, and kill the three adults inside. Two children escape - one hides undetected in a closet and another flees via the back door. Michael does not shoot the child and is disgusted by the entire operation.

Stanfield visits MCI Jessup to see Sergei Malatov, but finds Avon Barksdale waiting in his place. Barksdale tells Stanfield that in order for him to talk to Malatov, Stanfield has to give his sister $100,000. Stanfield agrees and later talks to a defiant Malatov. Stanfield convinces Malatov, with encouragement from Avon, to give him a line to Vondas.


Commissioner Burrell struggles to deliver clean statistics and accommodate the mayor's crime reduction target while implementing budget cutbacks. Burrell alienates Clay Davis by refusing to interfere in his corruption case.

Mayor Carcetti confirms his plan to run for governor despite the city's fiscal difficulties, and accepts that as a consequence the city will have to "starve" until he runs, because of the impossibility of working on both schooling and crime problems at the same time, without asking for money to Annapolis (which would undermine his chances at getting elected as governor, see Final Grades); Odell Watkins expresses disappointment in the mayor's priorities.

Major Crimes Unit[edit]

Detectives Freamon and Sydnor are still preparing the Davis case for court. Freamon believes this type of sprawling and interconnected case is career-defining but also spends his own time surveilling known Stanfield meeting places. Jimmy McNulty desperately wants to return to the Stanfield case and is increasingly frustrated in the homicide unit.

Freamon and McNulty meet with FBI agent Terrence Fitzhugh seeking support for their investigation. Fitz arranges a meeting between the local and federal authorities, but the proposal is shot down by the Republican federal prosecutor with whom (Democratic) Mayor Carcetti previously disagreed about the case's jurisdiction. Freamon and McNulty bitterly drown their sorrows with Bunk afterward.


McNulty is assigned a case deemed a natural death and learns at the morgue that postmortem pressure on the neck is indistinguishable from deliberate strangulation. Later, Detective Greggs is assigned to June Bug's homicide and finds a child hiding in the closet. She picks up the child and leaves the building, a portion of which is used in the title sequence.

McNulty and Bunk Moreland are assigned a probable overdose. McNulty goes to his car and drinks some whiskey he had in the trunk. He returns to the crime scene, bottle in hand, and chokes the deceased and stages the scene to suggest a strangulation. McNulty tells Bunk that he plans to create the illusion of a serial killer with the intent of compelling City Hall to better fund the police department in response to public pressure. Bunk wants no part of it and leaves the scene in disgust.[3][4]


June Bug + 2 others - murdered by Chris and Snoop on orders by Marlo Stanfield.

Unknown Corner Boy from Webster Franklin's crew - shot and killed by Snoop Pearson.


  1. ^ "Michael Olesker Is A Plagiarist? Who Isn’t?". David Simon. Baltimore City Paper. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "Slots Divide Candidates In Md. Governor's Race". Washington Post. 20 February 2005. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  3. ^ Ernest Dickerson (director); William F. Zorzi (story and teleplay), David Simon (story) (2008-01-13). "Unconfirmed Reports". The Wire. Season 5. Episode 2. HBO. 
  4. ^ "The Wire episode guide - episode 52 Uncomfirmed Reports". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 

External links[edit]