The Wire (2002–2008)
8.1/10
2,345
6 user 4 critic

The Target 

Baltimore Det. Jimmy McNulty finds himself in hot water with his superior Major William Rawls after a drug dealer, D'Angelo Barksdale who is charged with three murders, is acquitted. ... See full summary »

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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D'Angelo Barksdale (as Larry Gilliard Jr.)
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Storyline

Baltimore Det. Jimmy McNulty finds himself in hot water with his superior Major William Rawls after a drug dealer, D'Angelo Barksdale who is charged with three murders, is acquitted. McNulty knows the judge in question and although it's not his case, he's called into chambers to explain what happened. Obviously key witnesses recanted their police statements on the stand but McNulty doesn't underplay Barksdale's role in at least 7 other murders. When the judge's raises his concerns at the senior levels of the police department, they have a new investigation on their hands. Lt. Cedric Daniels is put in charge with Kima Greggs as the lead detective. As for Barksdale, he finds himself demoted to a low-level dealer after his arrest and he obviously has to prove himself yet again. Written by garykmcd

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Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

2 June 2002 (USA)  »

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4:3
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the 26 minute mark Stringer, (Idris Elba) mentions to Avon (Wood Harris) how Detective McNulty questioned two kids by the name of 'Little Kevin' and 'Gerard'. At this point there are no actual characters by this name in the show, however in season 4, there are actually two new characters who are given those names. See more »

Goofs

(at around 19 mins) When the camera pans down to a long-dead corpse, some twitching is evident on the corpse's face. See more »

Quotes

[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.
[...]
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Connections

References Hawaii Five-O (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

The Streets of Baltimore,
written by Tompall Glaser and Harlan Howard
performed by Gram Parsons
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User Reviews

 
the business, violence, corruption, and paperwork in the cops and drug dealers world
26 November 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Wire is excellent for a number of reasons, but right from the start it makes its mark in this aspect: it's real, and so real that it gets down to the nitty gritty of all of the aspects of what it takes for cops to go after drug dealers and for drug dealers to try and evade the same cops and do what they do. This is also site specific in a major way - David Simon worked the Baltimore Sun beat as a reporter for years and knows this world - but I'd say that this could be a scenario set in any number of urban cities like this: Newark, Paterson, Detroit, parts of Chicago and LA, the list goes on. "This is America," is said by a character talking to detective McNulty in one of the first words we hear on the show. This is both small world AND universal; this is just what happens in America where drugs are illegal and people can profit off of them - and kill and commit horrible acts and intimidate and so on to do it.

But what is even better is that it has a cool style without being overly flashy. This is profane stuff but it feels natural; like a Michael Mann story this has the flow of cops who have been working the streets for years, and some are a-holes and some really want to do good work and others just want to punch in and go home. Likewise the drug dealers here do talk big and 'gangsta' and all that, but they're not over-the-top caricatures. And the cinematography and approach to the characters reflects this realistic approach that balances a strong perspective while the direction is no-frills: this is how it's done, how people in court may (or may not) do time, how cops get assigned or try to get in another path to stop the criminals. It shows the dirty work and that's what obviously impressed so many about the show over the years.

This goes all the way down to just showing paperwork and what has to be done with that, and that's here in the first episode of The Wire. We've seen so many cop shows, but this one doesn't shy away from what comes down to bureaucratic problems and resistance and the process of that - cleverly, Simon has this not just with the cops but with the drug dealers; we see McNulty get brought in to his Major's office to get a talking to just as we see a young Barksdale get talked down to by Idris Elba and his upper-echelon crew (including his uncle, who heads the whole drug connection in West Baltimore). In other words, this is great storytelling in the simple, straight-forward parallel sense, showing the two worlds and how each side is their own business that goes through the motions. It helps to strip away too the veneer that cop work is glamorous or that drug dealers are all one-dimensional thugs in some amorphous, Scarface-like existence.

If the first episode doesn't hook you in, I don't know what to do for ya. It's thrilling drama and character-driven in equal measure.


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