The Wire: Season 1, Episode 4

Old Cases (23 Jun. 2002)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Thriller
8.5
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Bodie walks out of detention pretending to be a janitor but Patty is recovering in hospital and is pleased that his injuries will result in a medical pension. Avon Barksdale puts a contract... See full summary »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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D'Angelo Barksdale (as Larry Gilliard Jr.)
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Omar Little (as Michael K. Williams)
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Preston 'Bodie' Broadus (as JD Williams)
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Storyline

Bodie walks out of detention pretending to be a janitor but Patty is recovering in hospital and is pleased that his injuries will result in a medical pension. Avon Barksdale puts a contract out on Omar and others who robbed him. He wants to make sure everyone on the street knows he's not to be messed with. Judge Phelan keeps the pressure on and Daniels recommends to the Deputy that they need a wire. McNulty suggests they get a warrant to clone the pagers the drug runners use. Det. Fremon is one step ahead of everyone having already found D'Angelo Barksdale's pager number. Written by garykmcd

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Crime | Drama | Thriller

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23 June 2002 (USA)  »

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Trivia

The book on Lester Freamon's desk during the "thirteen years and four months" conversation with McNulty is "Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Survey" by Alison Gernsheim (1963, Dover Publications). See more »

Quotes

Bubbles: Thin line between heaven and here.
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References Leave It to Beaver (1957) See more »

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All Blues
Written and Performed by Miles Davis
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User Reviews

 
A taste of real police work
13 February 2009 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

The first three episodes were just an appetizer of sorts: this is where the first season of The Wire gets real and serious, with the investigation actually heading somewhere and the characters interacting in a way that's never been seen on television before.

As usual, it starts with a teaser that has nothing to do with the main narrative: in this case, Herc, Carver and the others trying to move a desk through a door, without knowing each one has different ideas as to where the freaking thing is supposed to go. After the credits, the real deal begins: Bodie, one of D'Angelo's henchmen, escapes from protective custody and returns on the streets, while Herc and Carver continue with their brutal arrest method until Herc has a change of heart after meeting Bodie's grandmother. Back at Homicide, McNulty and Bunk take a look at an old case to see if it can be tied to the Barksdale gang, while Avon informs Stringer and the others that there's a substantial reward for anyone capable of killing Omar. Finally, Lester has reason to celebrate after achieving a partial success with the pager operation.

Whereas Episodes 1-3 were meant to establish the premise and set the story in motion, Old Cases is all about character interactions, with a few minor exceptions (Lester getting D'Angelo's pager number being the most obvious). In fact, the conversations between these people fit in seamlessly with the overall plot, and give us some valuable insight as far as psychology is concerned. The biggest example is of course the first appearance of McNulty's ex-wife Elena (Callie Thorne), a brief scene that speaks volumes about the show's troubled protagonist without giving away too much. The tone shifts from oddly touching (Omar talking to his boyfriend) to laugh-out-loud funny (Rawls and Landsman discussing McNulty's "addiction to himself" with as many derogatory terms as one can think of) without making the changes seem contrived or out of place.

In addition, the episode contains the most hilarious scene of police work ever filmed (and the humor is entirely unintentional): McNulty and Bunk observing a crime scene and recreating the murder with an audio description that consists largely of repeated uses of the F-word (the wonders of HBO). They're never going to show that on Law & Order, that's for sure.


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