Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty
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Quotes for
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty (Character)
from "The Wire" (2002)

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"The Wire: The Target (#1.1)" (2002)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: [epigraph] ... when it's not your turn.

Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: I got to ask you. If every time Snotboogie would grab the money and run away, why'd you even let him in the game?
Snot Boogie's Friend: What?
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: If Snotboogie always stole the money, why'd you let him play?
Snot Boogie's Friend: Got to. It's America, man.

[first lines]
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: So your boy's name was what?
Snot Boogie's Friend: Snot.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: You called the guy "Snot"?
Snot Boogie's Friend: Snot Boogie, yeah.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Snot Boogie? He like the name?
Snot Boogie's Friend: What?
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Snot Boogie?
[the kid does not answer]
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: This kid, whose mama went to the trouble to christen him Omar Isaiah Betts... You know, he forgets his jacket, his nose starts running and some asshole, instead of giving him a Kleenex, he calls him "Snot". So he's Snot forever. Doesn't seem fair.
Snot Boogie's Friend: Life just be that way, I guess.

Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: What, we don't have enough love in our hearts for two wars?


"The Wire: -30- (#5.10)" (2008)
Det. Lester Freamon: We could still go to jail. And if not, I'd expect to be back in the pawn shop unit and you, my brother, are gonna ride the boat.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: So what? It was worth it.
[pause]
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Wasn't it?
Det. Lester Freamon: Depends.

Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: You turning the world upside down with your bullshit. How are you not in jail?
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: I don't know. The lie's so big, people can live with it, I guess.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: Jesus fucking Christ, Jimmy. I told you. I fuckin' told you it was gonna come to this. You played with fire, didn't you? And now we're all getting burned.

[last line of the series]
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Let's go home.

Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: And you know why I can tell you all this? Because, you lyin' motherfucker, you're as full of shit as I am. And you gotta live with it and play it out for as long as it goes, right? Trapped in the same lie. Only difference is I know why I did it. But fuck if I can figure out what it gets you, in the end. But, hey, I ain't part of your tribe.
Scott Templeton: You're not serious. You...
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: [interrupting] No. No, I'm a fucking joke. And so are you. Now get the fuck out of here.


"The Wire: Stray Rounds (#2.9)" (2003)
Det. Lester Freamon: You do any accents? English, British, Scottish, something like that?
Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: [trying British accent] Crikey! I was looking to get a little hanky-panky and this one bloke gave me this number to call when I got across the pond.
Det. Shakima 'Kima' Greggs: [laughs]
Det. Lester Freamon: [laughs] Work on it, son.

[Jimmy McNulty has been acting as the bait for a raid on a brothel. He is typing up his report]
Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: [to Rhonda, looking at his report] There were two of them, I was outnumbered.

Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: What the fuck is that?
Asst. State's Atty. Rhonda Pearlman: It's a man's purse. European men like yourself sometimes carry one.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: [mumbles] Hm. Them people ain't right over there.


"The Wire: Bad Dreams (#2.11)" (2003)
FBI Spec. Agent Terrence 'Fitz' Fitzhugh: State your name.
[Serge says nothing]
Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: No name, huh? Well, for now, we'll just call you Boris.
Sergei 'Serge' Malatov: Boris. Why always Boris?

Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: Boy, them Greeks and those twisted-ass names.
Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Man, lay off the Greeks. They invented civilization.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: Yeah? Ass-fucking, too.

Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: [on detail] A different look for our boy.
Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Yeah, Perry Ellis, or something.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: Now, how would a just-rolled-out-of-bed-looking motherfucker like you, know the designer?
Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: [pauses] Okay, I'm guessing.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: It's a Joseph Abboud. He puts dark buttons instead of brass on his blazers. That's the Abboud signature.
Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: You know what they call a guy who pays that much attention to his clothes, don't you?
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: A grown-up.


"The Wire: Back Burners (#3.7)" (2004)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Can I get a Jameson?
Bartender: Bushmills OK?
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: That's Protestant whiskey.

Det. Shakima 'Kima' Greggs: Damn boy, you smell like sex. Take a fucking shower.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Late for work.

Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: The bosses don't know, huh?
Maj. Howard 'Bunny' Colvin: Fuck the bosses.


"The Wire: Reformation (#3.10)" (2004)
Det. Lester Freamon: Check this.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: That's Western District. What, Stringer's calling the Western?
Det. Lester Freamon: Maybe he's surrendering.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: After all the work we've done, I'd never forgive the son of a bitch.

Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: I listen to the shit she talks about, first time in my life I feel like a fucking doormat. Like anyone with any smarts would do something else with his life, you know, earn money or get elected. Like I'm just a breathing machine for my fucking dick.


"The Wire: Old Cases (#1.4)" (2002)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: How long you been in the pawn shop unit?
Det. Lester Freamon: Thirteen years and four months.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Thirteen years?
Det. Lester Freamon: And four months.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: I gotta ask you, what exactly does a police officer assigned to the pawn shop unit do?
Det. Lester Freamon: You intake reports from registered pawn shops on all items valued over $50. Then you make an index card for that item. Then you file that index card. If someone wants to find out if something stolen has been pawned, we look to see if we have an index card. If we do, we do. If we don't, we don't.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: You did that for thirteen years?
Det. Lester Freamon: And four months.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Why'd you ask out of homicide?
Det. Lester Freamon: Wasn't no "ask" about it.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: You got the boot?
Det. Lester Freamon: Uh-huh.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: What'd you do to piss 'em off?
Det. Lester Freamon: Police work.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: I think I need to buy you a drink.
Det. Lester Freamon: Just one?

Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: [both investigating a crime scene] Ah, fuck.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Motherfucker.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: Fuck, fuck, fucking fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: What the fuck?
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: Ah fuck.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Fuck! No.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: Ah,fuck.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Fuck it. how the fuck?
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: Motherfuck. Aw, fuck. Aw fuck.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Fuckity, fuck fuck, fuck fuck, fucker. Ah fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: Ah, fuck, fuck, fuck. Motherfucker.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Fuckin' A. Fuck.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: What's that?
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Motherfucker.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: Fuck me.


"The Wire: Undertow (#2.5)" (2003)
Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: He play you hard?
Bubbles: I go at him respectable. He put that goddamn shotgun in my face, man. I'm looking at two goddamn tubes of the Harbor Tunnel staring right at me.
[McNulty laughs]
Bubbles: Each one about yea-big. I damn near piss my pants.

Bubbles: [after seeing Jimmy 'tie off' the his boat at the dock] What the hell is that?
Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Baltimore knot.
Bubbles: Baltimore knot? What the hell is a Baltimore knot?
Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: I dunno, but it's never the same thing twice.


"The Wire: Mission Accomplished (#3.12)" (2004)
Jimmy McNulty: [McNulty sits on a windowsill, looking at Stringer's body. Bunk sits next to him and lights a cigar] I caught him, Bunk. On the wire, I caught him... And he doesn't fuckin' know it.

Jimmy McNulty: The things that make me right for this job, maybe they're the same things that make me wrong for everything else.


"The Wire: The Detail (#1.2)" (2002)
Judge Daniel Phelan: Under the power vested in me by the circuit court for Baltimore city,
[makes sign of the cross]
Judge Daniel Phelan: I absolve you of all you sins, Detective McNulty.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: You are my sin, you know that?

Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: See, that's what I don't get about the drug thing. Why can't you sell the shit and walk the fuck away? You know what I mean? Everything else in this country gets sold without people shooting each other behind it.


"The Wire: Dead Soldiers (#3.3)" (2004)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: So that's the cop shooter?
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: Yeah, not much to it. But he did that job on the Dozerman kid last week. Gave it up on a full statement.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Before or after you knocked the shit out of him?

Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: So what do you think?
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: I think this is a tragic motherfucking miscarriage of justice. I think it deserves a special grand jury, and if not, the President should appoint an independent prosecutor. Oh, no no, no no, actually, I think Kofi Bryant and the United fucking Nations should get involved.


"The Wire: The Cost (#1.10)" (2002)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: So what's the name of your fish?
Troy Wiggins: Wendell O. - as in "Oh shit, I tried to buy from a State Police" - Blocker.

Judge Daniel Phelan: McNulty, I hold you in contempt!
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Who doesn't?


"The Wire: Final Grades (#4.13)" (2006)
Preston 'Bodie' Broadus: I been doing this a long time. I ain't never said nothing to no cop.
[sighs]
Preston 'Bodie' Broadus: I feel old. I been out there since I was 13. I ain't never fucked up a count, never stole off a package, never did some shit that I wasn't told to do. I been straight up. But what come back? Hmm? You'd think if I get jammed up on some shit they'd be like, "A'ight, yeah. Bodie been there. Bodie hang tough. We got his pay lawyer. We got a bail." They want me to stand with them, right? But where the fuck they at when they supposed to be standing by us? I mean, when shit goes bad and there's hell to pay, where they at? This game is rigged, man. We like the little bitches on a chessboard.
Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Pawns.

Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: You're a soldier, Bodie.
Preston 'Bodie' Broadus: Hell yeah.


"The Wire: The Wire (#1.6)" (2002)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: [on their way to see Major Rawls] What the fuck can I tell him?
Sgt. Jay Landsman: Whatever the man wants to hear, Jimmy. Whatever he wants to hear.

[last lines]
Lt. Cedric Daniels: The murder warrant's on hold. The deputy gave us another month. Also, whoever that was you brought in here today gave himself up as an eyewitness in the Gant murder.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Who, Omar?
Lt. Cedric Daniels: And Greggs said to tell you she'd write it up in the morning.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Lieutenant - thanks.
[McNulty leaves]
Det. Lester Freamon: It cost you?
[Daniels says nothing]


"The Wire: Hot Shots (#2.3)" (2003)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: You got yourself a hell of a case.
Moreland: Fuck you very much.


"The Wire: More with Less (#5.1)" (2008)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: I wonder what it feels like to work in a real police department!


"The Wire: Collateral Damage (#2.2)" (2003)
Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: [quote at end of opening credits] They can chew you up, but then they gotta spit you out.


"The Wire: Sentencing (#1.13)" (2002)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Jesus, what the fuck did I do?
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: You happy now, bitch?


"The Wire: Late Editions (#5.9)" (2008)
Det. Lester Freamon: Drink with me, Jimmy! This is what you wanted, man!
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Then why do I feel like shit?
Det. Lester Freamon: Postpartum depression.


"The Wire: One Arrest (#1.7)" (2002)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: You know why I respect you so much, Bunk?
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: Mm-mmm.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: It's not 'cause you're good police, 'cause, y'know, fuck that, right?
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: Mm. Fuck that, yeah.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: It's not 'cause when I came to homicide, you taught me all kinds of cool shit about . . . well, whatever.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: Mm. Whatever.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: It's 'cause when it came time for you to fuck me . . . you were very gentle.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: You damn right.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: See, 'cause you could have hauled me out of the garage and just bent me over the hood of a radio car, and . . . no, you were, you were very gentle.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: I knew it was your first time. I wanted to make that shit special.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: It was, man. It fucking was.


"The Wire: The Pager (#1.5)" (2002)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: [after his ex-wife hangs up on him] You know something? My ex-wife, the way she acts sometimes, the way she deals with shit... You would think a less enlightened man than myself, a cruder man than myself, a man less sensitized to the qualities and charms and value of women- a man like that, not me, but a man like that, he just might call her a 'cunt.'
Det. Shakima 'Kima' Greggs: You just called the mother of your children a cunt.


"The Wire: All Due Respect (#3.2)" (2004)
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: I don't know. Men of color usually don't do themselves. I mean, take me, for instance.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Yeah, I mean, you got all the reason in the world.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: And yet here I am, still standing.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Give or take.


"The Wire: The Buys (#1.3)" (2002)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: I'm not going.
Lt. Cedric Daniels: You're insubordinate?
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: I'm not jumping out on something I believe's going to harm the case. You want to write me up on that, you can.
Lt. Cedric Daniels: You think I want this? I got the Deputy Ops on my ass for this shit! Now I got you showing me up in front of the whole damn detail!
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: I don't mean to show anyone up.
Lt. Cedric Daniels: Get your vest on.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: No. I've got police work to do.
Lt. Cedric Daniels: Motherfucker, if you felt this way, why didn't you call in sick?
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: I'm not sick.
Lt. Cedric Daniels: [whispering] Yeah you are.


"The Wire: Slapstick (#3.9)" (2004)
Det. Roland 'Prez' Pryzbylewski: [reading from a fortune cookie] "A new friend makes himself known."
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: "Himself"? If it was "herself," then you'd have a fortune.
Det. Roland 'Prez' Pryzbylewski: Shit, I'm married. With lawn furniture, man.


"The Wire: Took (#5.7)" (2008)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: The quicker we bring this in and shut it down, the safer we'll all be. I mean, Landsman wants me over to fucking Quantico, have the FBI do a profile.
Det. Lester Freamon: [laughs] You might learn something about yourself.


"The Wire: Misgivings (#4.10)" (2006)
Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: [to a patrolman who has given someone a ticket at the urging for more arrests] Baker, Let me let you in on a little secret, The patrolling officer on his beat is the one true dictatorship in America, we can lock a guy up on the humble, lock him up for real, or say fuck it and drink ourselves to death under the expressway and our side partners will cover us, No one - I mean no one - tells us how to waste our shift!


"The Wire: Duck and Cover (#2.8)" (2003)
Det. Shakima 'Kima' Greggs: It takes a whore to catch a whore.
Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: What the fuck did I do?


"The Wire: The Hunt (#1.11)" (2002)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: If only half you motherfuckers at the district attorney's office didn't want to be judges, didn't want to be partners in some downtown law firm... If half of you had the fucking balls to follow through, you know what would happen? A guy like that would be indicted, tried and convicted. And the rest of 'em would back up enough, so we could push a clean case or two through your courthouse. But no, everybody stays friends. Everybody gets paid. And everybody's got a fucking future.


"The Wire: The Dickensian Aspect (#5.6)" (2008)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: I gotta tell you, Lester, I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I can see why Daniels cringed every time you opened your fucking mouth. You're a supervisor's nightmare.


"The Wire: Game Day (#1.9)" (2002)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Well, you know what they say: "stupid criminals make stupid cops". I'm proud to be chasing this guy.


"The Wire: Hamsterdam (#3.4)" (2004)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: He's a boss. Fuck the bosses.


"The Wire: Straight and True (#3.5)" (2004)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: You disappoint me, Stringer. I had such fucking hopes for us.


"The Wire: Not for Attribution (#5.3)" (2008)
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: You see Griggs out there, bagging evidence alone, then going back out there to recanvas on a triple? A triple fucking murder! A home invasion, and she's working it alone. They pulled Crutchfield this morning, put him back on the rotation.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: That's on them! You can't come --
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Fucking right, it's on them. A triple murder, and 12 hours later they leave one detective alone on it? I guess she's lucky she has a car!
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: This shit won't work.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Well, then we're no worse than before. Extra red name or two on the board.
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland: Yeah, unless you got caught.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Who in this fucking unit's going to catch me? Most of the guys up here couldn't catch the clap in a Mexican whorehouse.