"The Wire"
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It's a prank used by the officers in Bunk's department when someone falls asleep at their desk: you nod off for long enough or fall completely asleep, they'll cut your tie off. In a few episodes from previous seasons you can see a few quick shots of the bulletin board where they've tacked up the ties they've claimed. You can read more in the 3rd paragraph here.

It is a slang term for police used on the streets to alert people of their presence. It originates from the 1970 TV show Hawaii 5-0 (Hawaii being the 50th state of the USA).

The "connect" is a code/slang word for the supplier of the drugs sold on the streets by the Barksdales & later Marlo Standfield's gang. Joe is a liaison of sorts between suppliers outside of Baltimore who smuggle the drugs into the country using illegal methods (such as bribing public officials or customs workers or finding ways to hide them in legal shipments). What Joe will do is contact people he knows in large cities like New York & have them sell their supply to him or to the crime families in Baltimore. Joe, for his services, gets a monetary percentage in return.

A "re-up" is a small supply of product taken from a processing lab & delivered to local distribution points like the Pit in Season One or the corners in later seasons for sale to addicts. In Season One there was a processing lab in the Franklin Towers (which were later demolished in Season 3). In Season 1 the MCU (Major Crimes Unit) staked out the Towers and were watching for instances where a package would leave the building & be taken to the Pit. At one point we see a package dropped from an upper floor down to Bodie who runs it out to the Pit.

FBI Agent Terrance "Fitz" Fitzhugh explains the contents of the file to Detective McNulty in the pilot - the FBI did assets investigations and found that Daniels had far more money that Daniels should have been able to accumulate on his Lieutenant's salary. They weren't able to go further with it and gave the file to Burrell but nothing ever came of it. The implication is that Daniels got the money from corruption while in the Eastern District Drug Enforcement Unit but there was no conclusive evidence - that is why Daniels often dismisses the contents of the file. It would have been enough to raise a scandal though and upsetting the bosses would have cost his ex-wife Marla and his current partner Rhonda a great deal.

It is clear from Daniels conversations with Carver in S2 (and other ocassions with Marla) that he has a history that he is not proud of but we never learn how he got the extra funds, nor would we have from reading the FBI file.

Is Rawls Gay?

There has been a lot of speculation regarding this, but there are only two bits of hard evidence.

1) (Season 3) As one of Brother Mouzone's allies enters a gay bar looking for Omar, the scene ends with a quick shot of Rawls at the same bar.

2) (Season 4) When Landsman is in the restroom at the downtown Homicide division offices, there is a bit of graffiti on the stall wall that says "Rawls sucks cock", which causes Landsman to chuckle.

Some have also noted that Rawls' character uses a lot of homosexual references when berating subordinates, which might be overcompensation on his part if he is a closeted gay man working in a profession which has traditionally been hostile to homosexuals.

"-30-" is a journalistic term that has been used to signify "the end", "over and out", and "a sign of completion" since the Civil War when telegraphers tapped "XXX", the Roman numeral signifying 30, to end transmissions.

The song played over the opening credits of each season is a variation on Tom Waits' original song, "Way Down in the Hole", from his 1987 album, Frank's Wild Years. Each season has had a different performer.

Season 1 - Blind Boys of Alabama

Season 2 - Tom Waits (the original recorded version)

Season 3 - Neville Brothers

Season 4 - Ivan Ashford, Markel Steele, Cameron Brown, Tariq Al-Sabir and Avery Bargasse - the group is known collectively by the name DoMaJe and are middle school children in keeping with the season's theme

Season 5 - Steve Earle

Many thanks to shotcallerz15 for the answer to this one:

Season 1: "Step by Step" - Jesse Winchester
Season 2: "I Feel Alright" - Steve Earle
Season 3: "Fast Train" - Solomon Burke
Season 4: "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" - Paul Weller
Season 5: "Way Down in the Hole" - The Blind Boys of Alabama

"The Body of an American" by The Pogues.

"The Fall" written by Blake Leyh, Music Supervisor for The Wire

Yes. Lockdown records released a soundtrack on January 8th 2008.

It features:

Way Down in the Hole The Blind Boys of Alabama (S1 opening). Way Down in the Hole Tom Waits (S2 opening). Way Down in the Hole The Neville Brothers (S3 opening). Way Down in the Hole DoMaJe (S4 opening) The Fall - Blake Leyh (Episode ending theme) I Feel Alright - Steve Earle (S2 montage theme) Fast Train - Solomon Burke (S3 montage theme) I Walk on Gilded Splinters - Paul Weller (S4 montage theme) The Body of an American - The Pogues (Cole & Foerster wakes) The Life, the Hood, the Streetz - Mullyman (Final scene of S4) Oh My God - Michael Franti (Season 1) Dance My Pain Away - Rod Lee (Ep 44) Jail Flick - Diablo (Ep 44) Projects - Tyree Colion (Ep 47) What You Know About Baltimore? - Ogun + Phathead. (Season 5)

and some Stelios Kazantzidis is also included, from some of the Greek semi-montage scenes in Season 2.

Some of the most memorable dialog from the programs five years is also included on the album. The CD booklet features essays by the author and series writer George Pelecanos, series creator David Simon and the noted hip-hop journalist Jeff Chang.

In season three, the detail runs into the problem of "burners", or prepaid cell phones. The dealers will only use them for a week or two before throwing them away. This means that as soon as the police begin to get up on a phone network with a tap the network collapses and they have to start from scratch.

They come up with the idea of selling pre-tapped burners to the Barksdale organization. This will allow them much more time on their wire taps. Through Bubbles, Lester gets in contact with Bernard, who is in charge of buying burners for the Barksdale crew. Bernard normally spends extensive time diriving around Maryland and Virginia buying small quantities of phones at various locations. This is a calculated move on the part of Stringer to avoid detection. If Bernard bought a large number of phones from a single location then the clerk might remember the sale if asked by the authorities. The small purchases are less likely to be remembered.

Lester poses as a small time scam artist who claims to collect discarded prepaid phones and illegally adds more minutes to them. He then resells the phones at a discount rate. As part of his cover identity, Lester pretends to have been performing telephone related scams for a while. Bernard asks for proof, which is what Lester gives him when he rattles off the long list of numbers.

What Lester is doing is called "shoulder surfing." This is when someone covertly observes someone else and tries to steal information from them. The most common form was phone surfing. This was usually done at a bank of pay phones in a crowded location such as an airport or train terminal. The victim would input numbers from a prepaid phone card and the scam artist would covertly observe them. If the card had any money left on it they could then either use the numbers to make free phone calls themselves or even resell it to others. Prepaid phone cards are popular among low income immigrant communities where people may either not have a cell phone or phone service at their residence or may simply want to avoid exorbitant cell phone bills due to large numbers of international calls.

Towards the end of Season 2 Spiros Vondas and the man known only as "The Greek" have a discussion where Vondas reveals that "Spiros Vondas" is not his real name, and where "The Greek" states that "I am not even Greek." Since then the character has only had a minor appearance in Season 5. He is never given a proper name and his ethnicity or nationality is left unanswered. Assuming that he was speaking the truth to Vondas, and there would seem to be no reason to lie in a private conversation with his most trusted lieutenant, The Greek is not in fact Greek. Given the makeup of his gang it would seem likely that he is of some Eastern or Southern European nationality. At one point in seasons two he makes some disparaging remarks about Turks so presumably he is not Turkish. The more credible fan suggestions seem to revolve around him being Armenian (which would explain the hostility to Turks), Albanian (since Albania is close to Greece and Albanian criminals are heavily involved in human trafficking), Cypriot (Which would explain his being identified as "The Greek" and also his hostility to Turks) or Hungarian (which also explains his hostility to Turks).

Early on in season two the detail begins investigating George "Double G" Glekas, an electronics store owner who also sells stolen goods for The Greek's gang. As part of their investigation, McNulty asks his FBI contact, Agent Fitzhugh to run a check on Double G to see if the FBI had ever dealt with him before (Since the Greeks were involved in smuggling McNulty figured the FBI might have investigated them previously). Fitz does a records check which shows that Double G had been question briefly as part of an investigation out of the San Diego field office by an Agent Koutris.

Fitz uses some computerized dialing software to call Koutris who explains that he had questioned Double G about some stolen goods but didn't end up charging him. Once he gets off the phone, Koutris promptly turns around and calls The Greek to explain that the FBI are on to him. Throughout the season we see that the Greek and Koutris are in contact and providing each other with information. Later in the season, the Greeks fold up shop and murder Frank Sobotka before he can testify against them. The detail concludes that there was a leak which tipped the Greeks off about the investigation and Fitz admits to Lt Daniels that the leak came from his end.

As shown in one of the later episodes that season, Fitz figures out the connection between Koutris and The Greek through phone records. Originally he had called Koutris using computerized dialing software which put him through directly to the agent without Fitz ever seeing his number. Later on he's at the detail's warehouse headquarters and wants to contact Koutris. Without the software he simply dials up the San Diego field office and asks to be put through directly. It's then that he's informed that Koutris was transferred out of San Diego a few years before, soon after he investigated Double G. When Fitz asked where Koutris was transferred to he's told that it's the counter-terrorism division in Washington.

An ongoing theme of the season was how the FBI is de-emphasizing investigation of crimes like drug smuggling in favor of counter terrorism work as a result of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Fitz even says that he justified FBI involvement in the detail by (falsely) claiming that Stringer Bell was Muslim. What Fitz concludes, and what the show implies, is that after Koutris began investigating Double G, that the Greek had made a deal with him. In exchange for looking the other way with regard to their drug smuggling, The Greek would use his international connections to give Koutris information about terrorists. This relationship allowed Koutris to transfer to the more prestigious counter terrorism unit in Washington and he continues to pay The Greek back by warning him of any law enforcement investigations.

This plotline is probably meant to somewhat echo the case of Boston area mobster James "Whitey" Bulger. For many years Bulger was an informant for the local FBI office, even as he continued his criminal activity. When Bulger was about to be indicted he went on the lam and it was revealed that the FBI had actively covered up his criminal activity, including murders, and had worked to obstruct efforts of other law enforcement agencies to investigate and charge Bulger. In one case an FBI agent even threatened a reporter who was about to publish an unflattering piece on Bulger.

In season two, Omar testifies in court against Bird for the murder of a witness who had testified against D'angelo Barksdale. During his testimony Omar admits that he makes his living by robbing drug dealers.

However, in the American criminal justice system one cannot be arrested for being a criminal, only for committing crimes. While Omar admits that he robs people (and it can be inferred that he is also involved in narcotics distribution) he doesn't admit to any specific instances of robbery. The only crime he actually admits to is shooting Mike-Mike "in his hind parts", a crime for which he had already been arrested and tried.

While in prison, Avon discovers that one of the guards, who has been giving Wee-Bey a hard time, is dealing drugs to inmates. Stringer then contacts Blind Butchie, who sells the guard the drugs and gets him to give the guard a poisoned package. That causes several inmates to overdose in one night. The prison authorities, desperate to catch who is behind the drugs, agree to offer reduced sentences for information. Avon comes forward and agrees to identify the dealer in exchange for getting his parole hearing moved up and for the prison to recommend his release. In the end he only serves a single year in prison before being released.

The corners are strategic spots throughout the city at various intersections where dealers (sometimes called "slingers") will sell their supply. The corners are exceptional territory for a crime family like the Barksdales or Marlo Standfield because they're visible to people driving by or people walking on the street. In Season 4, Bodie has a prime corner near a convenience store where a lot of people go to buy groceries. In Season 3, Marlo is encroaching gradually on Barksdale territory on the West Side of the city. One of the corners he seizes is a prime spot that used to belong to the Barksdales. Bodie makes the bold move of moving himself and his small crew about halfway up the block & closer to the corner so they can have a better opportunity to sling their supply. Marlo responds by telling them to back off.

During Season 3, Avon is concerned & even obsessed with taking back his old territory, much of which was lost when he went to prison at the end of Season 1. Avon is ready for an all-out war in the streets to take his corners back from Marlo, an idea that Stringer objects to because of the violence involved, the casualties both sides would suffer & the attention such a move would draw from the police.

Stringer has always been more of a businessman than Avon. Stringer is focused on making money by selling product to customers. This tendency becomes more pronounced in later seasons when Avon goes to prison and Stringer becomes sole leader of the Barksdale organization. Stringer also becomes convinced of the desirability of a more businesslike approach after receiving a formal education in economics at a local community college.

For Stringer, anything which brings in more money is good, and anything which costs them money is bad. In season two he explains this to Poot, Bodie, and his other dealers. Stringer sees territory as irrelevant, arguing that the addicts will chase after their higher quality product no matter where they sell it. He also explains that protecting territory requires violence and that that violence attracts police attention, which raises costs for them. Stringer hopes to remake the organization so that it functions more like a legitimate business, where products get sold without violence and without undue attention from the authorities. He proposes to coopt rival dealers into the New Day Co-Op rather than eliminating them through violent action.

Avon is much more of a traditionalist when it comes to operating their organization. He believes that territory is important and that maintaining their reputation for fierceness is an important asset. When he gets out of prison he begins aggressively targeting Marlo Stansfield, an up and coming drug dealer who is muscling in on the Barksdale organization's turf. Avon and Marlo continue to escalate the violence into a full fledged gang war. Stringer, realizing that Avon's beef with Marlo is attracting massive police attention, fears that the organization's profits will suffer, and decides to inform on his friend to the police in order to remove him from command.

Jimmy McNulty resigns and returns to live with Beadie and her kids. He seems to have stopped drinking: when Lester offers him a drink at the bar, he refuses and goes home.

Bunk and Kima are still working in Homicide.

Lester Freamon has retired and is still crafting dollhouse furniture in the company of Shardene, his companion.

Cedric Daniels resigned because the Council President threatened to divulge a case in which he is dirty. He becomes a lawyer (he has a law degree).

Rhonda Pearlman becomes a judge.

Ellis Carver is promoted to Lieutenant.

Herc is still an investigator for the lawyer Maurice Levy.

Roland 'Prez' Pryzbylewski has become a respected teacher at Edward Tilghman Middle School.

Sydnor is still a detective. We can tell from his final scene that he has become like McNulty: he goes around his superiors, to a judge, in order to move a case forward.

Bubbs doesn't do drugs anymore and is psychologically better after the publication of the biographical article in the Sun. He got over Sherrod's death. He now comes outside of the basement to eat with his sister and his niece.

Omar, weakened by a shooting with Marlo's lieutenants, was shot in the head, in a shop by Kenard who was later arrested by Det. Norris.

Proposition Joe has been killed by Chris after being set up by Marlo and his nephew Cheese.

Avon Barksdale is still in jail alongside a part of his crew.

Marlo is no longer at the head of the drug organization in Baltimore. He sold it for ten million dollars to Slim Charles (who killed Cheese) and the rest of the co-op and introduced them to "the Greek", the supplier. He is now a legal businessman with the help of his lawyer Maurice Levy (who made a deal with Pearlman in order to save Marlo from jail).

Chris Partlow was sent to prison at Jessup for life with no parole because of the vacants murders. He becomes friends with Wee-Bay, Avon Barksdale's old lieutenant.

Snoop was killed by Michael because she was going to kill him on Marlo's orders.

Michael becomes like Omar, a lone gunman with a shotgun who robs important drug dealers.

Duquan "Dukie" Weems becomes a drug addict like Bubbs was.

Randy is still in a group home, he seems more muscular and taller having lost his innocence.

Namond has been adopted by Colvin and his wife and he seems to be doing well in school.

Carcetti has become governor of Maryland.

Rawls is promoted to Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.

Valchek is promoted to Commissioner.

City Editor Augustus "Gus" Haynes is demoted to the copy desk because he confronted Klebanow who stands by Templeton.

Mike Fletcher is promoted to City Desk Editor after publishing the article about Bubbs.

Scott Templeton has won a Pulitzer Award (given for achievements in newspaper by the Columbia University) for the articles he wrote (although he made most of them up).

Alma, the journalist, has been reassigned to the Caroll County Bureau, probably because she told her superiors about Scott's empty notebook.

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