The Wire (2002–2008)
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Carcetti maps out a damage-control scenario with the police brass in the wake of a startling revelation from Pearlman and Daniels. Their choice: clean up the mess...or hide the dirt.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Omar Little (credit only)


Carcetti maps out a damage-control scenario with the police brass in the wake of a startling revelation from Pearlman and Daniels. Their choice: clean up the mess...or hide the dirt.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

wiretapping | See All (1) »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


TV-MA | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 March 2008 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


David Simon: appears briefly as a staff member in the Sun's editorial room. See more »


Marla Daniels: The tree that doesn't bend, breaks, Cedric.
Lt. Cedric Daniels: Bend too far, you're already broken.
See more »


References The Absent Minded Professor (1961) See more »


The Broad Majestic Shannon
Performed by The Pogues
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User Reviews

Season 5: It works despite being rushed but is in the shadow of the other seasons in every regard (MAJOR SPOILERS)
30 September 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Your fighter has dazzled for all of the rounds so far and you know that, if he just hangs in there, that he will claim his title, so you can forgive him tiredness, errors and perhaps some basic moves. So, unfortunately, is it with The Wire – it has been so brilliant for so long that a sub-par season is forgivable as long as it is never "poor". Of course "sub-par" for The Wire is better than most other things on television and season 5 functions generally very well. Endless good moments, classic exchanges, strong characters and the narrative arch of understandable pessimism all continue from previous seasons. The problem here is that the entire season is built on a thread that never seems as real or convincing as everything else always has. Colvin's legal zone was not "realistic" but within the context of the show it felt true and right. The serial killer thing does not right true until late in the season (which is partly it moving into a bigger thread and getting past the detail) and it does undermine the show when it is the majority of some episodes (as it is in the middle). It also feels obvious and the way it would fit into the media arch was signposted from the very start. It doesn't help either than the media side is woefully underdeveloped (by Wire standards), with the characters being basic and uninteresting by comparison with those we already know. I was surprised by how one-dimensional the news room was – it was nowhere near as clever as it thought it was or needed to be as a thread.

Not that the returning characters get treated that well either. Omar is important within the Marlo thread but otherwise his revenge mission just feels like it is filling time: his death is the biggest impact he has and that is very well done – a reminder to the viewers that, just cause we have elevated him, he is not even worthy of note outside of his immediate streets. If you have made it this far then you will have heard me be very critical – which is essentially a sin on these pages, however I would stress that I did still enjoy season 5. However it is hard not to feel it is a lower quality product whenever large chunks of it are so convenient and obvious where before it is subtle and intelligent. Not all of course, but when it happens it jars and, as much as I enjoyed the ending I did think that I could have gotten the echo of old characters in the futures of others without it being done quite so clumsily (Sydnor talking to the judge, Michael going Omar right down to the shotgun?). Fortunately much of it is of a high standard and in a way it then pains all the more to have such large portions of it that don't match up. The smaller moments feel true and produce many wonderful moments of comedy (McNulty's "killer" being nailed by a psyche profile), pain (Dukie selling his relationship with Prez for a high), shock (Omar, of course but also Joe's demise). Such moments are everywhere and, even when just "OK", the season is still worth watching.

The cast continue to be excellent regardless of what the Emmys say. West can't convince me of his jump, but his self-awareness is very real as it comes through and the season treats him well – letting him have the final word. Peters does his usual stuff but struggles even more for his step. Pierce is good even if his material is mostly being flabbergasted by what he sees. Lombardozzi, Gilliam, Reddick and Lovejoy all play their parts well but I'm not sure what Sohn did that saw her character pushed up a corner apart from once or twice. Royo is less central but no less engaging than normal, while Williams cements his own legend that he will never escape – even if his material is generally weak in this season. Hector continues to be a menacing figure – so cold and expressionless for the majority, it only means he is genuinely terrifying when shouting about "his name" in latter episodes. And then there is Kostroff, Akinnagbe, Crawford, Wilds, Whitlock etc etc – so many good turns it is impossible to list them all. I liked Johnson in this but the majority of the news room suffer from thin material in their performances. Not sure what all the background cameos were in aid of – maybe they have done it before but here I found Belzer and Simon to be distractions, although I did like the inclusion of the real woman from The Corner, since the show always had mixed "unknown" actors and "real" people to good effect.

As a total product, season 5 is very good – it is just unfortunate that it is preceded by greatness and looks lesser by comparison. The narrative is not as strong and it does feel all rather rushed and cluttered where once it seemed to have all the time it needed to fill each hour with little details, patience development and layering to allow multiple viewings. Still, it is better than anything else I have ever seen and I can forgive it its weaknesses as it does work overall as a season. Fans will have known how it would end, as all seasons end with "business as normal" going ahead but it does close with just an edge of sentiment but not even to cheapen the close and as "The Fall" played for the last time I did feel a certain amount of loss. Season five isn't a triumphant closer but it does well enough to satisfy and not tarnish the overall show in any way and, as a fan that is more than enough for me.

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