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Baltimore drug scene, seen through the eyes of drug dealers and law enforcement.


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2008   2006   2004   2003   2002  
Top Rated TV #5 | Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 14 wins & 51 nominations. See more awards »



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Series cast summary:
 Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty / ... (60 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Dep. Comm. for Operations William A. Rawls / ... (60 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Asst. State's Atty. Rhonda Pearlman (60 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland (60 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Lt. Cedric Daniels / ... (60 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Det. Shakima 'Kima' Greggs (60 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Sgt. Ellis Carver / ... (60 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Det. Thomas 'Herc' Hauk / ... (60 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Det. Lester Freamon (59 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Reginald 'Bubbles' Cousins (52 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Omar Little (51 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Det. Roland 'Prez' Pryzbylewski / ... (50 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Acting Commissioner Ervin H. Burrell / ... (47 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Det. Leander Sydnor (45 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Sgt. Jay Landsman (45 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Preston 'Bodie' Broadus (42 episodes, 2002-2006)
 Avon Barksdale (39 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Russell 'Stringer' Bell (37 episodes, 2002-2004)
 Councilman Thomas 'Tommy' Carcetti / ... (35 episodes, 2004-2008)
 Marlo Stanfield (32 episodes, 2004-2008)
 Chris Partlow / ... (30 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Howard 'Bunny' Colvin / ... (27 episodes, 2003-2008)
 Slim Charles (27 episodes, 2004-2008)
 Felicia 'Snoop' Pearson (27 episodes, 2004-2008)
 Dennis 'Cutty' Wise (26 episodes, 2004-2008)
 Malik 'Poot' Carr (26 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Maurice 'Maury' Levy (25 episodes, 2002-2008)
 State Sen. R. Clayton 'Clay' Davis (25 episodes, 2002-2008)
 Joseph 'Proposition Joe' Stewart (25 episodes, 2002-2008)
Michael Salconi ...
 Off. Michael 'Sanny' Santangelo / ... (25 episodes, 2002-2008)


Set in Baltimore, this show centers around the city's inner-city drug scene. It starts as mid-level drug dealer, D'Angelo Barksdale beats a murder rap. After a conversation with a judge, Det. James McNulty has been assigned to lead a joint homicide and narcotics team, in order to bring down drug kingpin Avon Barksdale. Avon Barksdale, accompanied by his right-hand man Stringer Bell, enforcer Wee-Bey and many lieutenants (including his own nephew, D'Angelo Barksdale), has to deal with law enforcement, informants in his own camp, and competition with a local rival, Omar, who's been robbing Barksdale's dealers and reselling the drugs. The supervisor of the investigation, Lt. Cedric Daniels, has to deal with his own problems, such as a corrupt bureaucracy, some of his detectives beating suspects, hard-headed but determined Det. McNulty, and a blackmailing deputy. The show depicts the lives of every part of the drug "food chain", from junkies to dealers, and from cops to politicians. Written by Yuri

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Read between the lines (season five) See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| | |

Release Date:

2 June 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Escuta  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(seasons 3-5)| (Dolby Surround) (seasons 1-2)


Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


Marlo Stanfield was based on Timmirror Stanfield, a major Baltimore drug trafficker. In 1986, Stanfield was 25 and ran a gang which included over fifty members. The Stanfield gang controlled South Baltimore's Westport area and West Baltimore's Murphy Homes housing project. The gang committed multiple murders and drew the attention of authorities, who were able to persuade fifteen witnesses to testify. The core of the gang was convicted. See more »


Throughout the last two seasons, Carcetti repeatedly refers to a possible gubernatorial challenge in 2008, after serving two years as Baltimore mayor. But Maryland holds gubernatorial elections in off years - 2006, 2010, etc. The new governor would have been elected the same year that Carcetti was elected mayor - 2006 - and up for re-election in four years, not two. See more »


Freamon: A life, Jimmy, you know what that is? It's the shit that happens while you're waiting for moments that never come.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening song is the same, but every season a new version is used with different artists performing in different genres (blues, soul, etc.). See more »


Referenced in The Comeback: Valerie Tries to Get Yesterday Back (2014) See more »


Way Down in the Hole
Written and Performed by Tom Waits
(season 2)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

20 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I don't subscribe to HBO. A couple of weeks ago I heard an interview with a young actor from this series on NPR. It was described as a "gritty crime drama" with many Baltimore locals portraying variations on themselves. The interview made it sound interesting enough that I decided to check out the first season on DVD.

After the first few episodes I became seriously hooked and devoted 36 hours of the next ten days to the show.

Having now watched the first 3 seasons, I believe it to be the best television series I have seen.

I do not understand why this show hasn't generated the buzz or the awards of HBO's other series, such as the Sopranos or Deadwood. It is more gripping, faster paced, and more intelligent. The other shows can be a bit plodding, with plot lines that go nowhere, and a few characters I don't much care about. That wasn't the case here.

The show is a cross between the Sopranos and the old NBC show Homicide: Life on the Street. The crime/sopranos side and the law/Homicide side run in parallel. Individually, the parallel plot lines are compelling. In tandem, they are complimentary and brilliant.

There is no way to avoid having "the best show ever" tag sound like anything but silly hype--regardless, what makes this show substantially better than any other realistic and compelling crime or police drama is the fact it is... searching. It doesn't just delve into the individual psychologies motivating these people (ala the Sopranos) or the complex interactions amongst the members of a community (ala Deadwood) it asks "what the hell can be done for all of these people" and points out the problems with any and all of the answers.

It's truly brilliant. If you like intelligent television, I envy the enjoyment you will have watching this for the first time.

507 of 597 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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