The Wire (2002–2008)
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McNulty uses his children to tail Stringer after a chance encounter in a local market, with one of them getting his license plate. As the detail discuss the implications of the pit phones ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Maj. William A. Rawls (credit only)
Russell 'Stringer' Bell
Dep. Comm. for Operations Ervin H. Burrell (as Frankie R. Faison)
D'Angelo Barksdale (as Larry Gilliard Jr.)
Avon Barksdale
Asst. State's Atty. Rhonda Pearlman (credit only)
Det. William 'Bunk' Moreland
Reginald 'Bubbles' Cousins (credit only)
Judge Daniel Phelan
Det. Ellis Carver
Det. Thomas 'Herc' Hauk


McNulty uses his children to tail Stringer after a chance encounter in a local market, with one of them getting his license plate. As the detail discuss the implications of the pit phones being disconnected, speculating the crew are going to start using phones outside their immediate area of operations, Herc and Carver prepare for the sergeant's exam. Stinkum, Wee-Bey and Savino raid Omar's pad, but he is nowhere to be found. Avon is unhappy when he learns of Orlando's proposal to D'Angelo. Meanwhile, Greggs and Carver arrest a driver picking up a large amount of cash from the towers, but are surprised to learn he is an aide to State Senator Clay Davis. Burrell is furious with this turn of events and confronts Daniels about the direction in which the case is heading, giving him one week to secure a charge on Avon and/or Stringer. Phelan, however, tells Burrell he wants the full thirty days of surveillance assigned by the court. As Wee-Bey and Stinkum attempt to take over new territory... Written by Bertaut

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Crime | Drama | Thriller


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Release Date:

28 July 2002 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:

(Dolby Surround)


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Did You Know?


Although credited, John Doman, Deirdre Lovejoy, and Andre Royo do not appear in this episode. See more »


When Det. Freamon is showing Kima pictures of the strippers, one photo is labeled Department of Motor Vehicles and referred as a "DMV" photo, but Maryland does not have a Department of Motor Vehicles, instead it has a Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). See more »


Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: [about the wiring detail] Lester, are we still cops?
Freamon: Technically, I suppose so.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: OK, I was just checking.
See more »


CK Won
Performed by Cage
Written by Chris Palko
Courtesy of Eastern Conference Records
Published by Bicycle Music
Played when D walks down the stairs to the party
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User Reviews

Front and follow
20 February 2009 | by See all my reviews

With more than half the season over, The Wire's first year gets grittier and more relentless in its depiction of a city struggling to stay alive amidst all the corruption, drugs and murder. The eighth episode also introduces at least one element that will be further analyzed in the following seasons (I'm saying this having recently finished watching Season Three).

The teaser is an unusually light affair, as we get a glimpse of McNulty's personal life when he goes grocery-shopping with his young sons. The playfulness turns into something darker, though, when he spots Stringer Bell in the crowd and asks the boys to play "front and follow" with him. In short, the young ones have to follow Stringer - without getting caught - and get his license plate number, which could be very helpful now that the wiretap has been disabled. The downside is that McNulty briefly loses track of the boys, and there's no way Elena is going to like that.

As far as the rest of the investigation is concerned, things get tense when Burrell threatens to shut down the operation by the end of the week and demands that the unit drop a suspect who was carrying money from a known dope safe-house on the grounds that said suspect works for one Senator Clay Davis. On the other side of the law, Avon learns of unorthodox plans on the part of his associate Orlando, Wallace is still trying to cope with Brandon's murder, and the conflict with Omar gets bloodier.

Lessons is an essential Season One episode because it deals - in part - with the vital subplot of drug dealers (and criminals in general) being involved with officially recognized businessmen or, even worse, politicians. Though he is never seen in the episode, this is also the first time we hear of Senator Davis, who went on to become one of the show's most important - and colorful, judging by certain promos - supporting characters. Whether David Simon and Ed Burns had planned this all along is debatable, given there was no guarantee the show would be renewed for a second season, let alone an additional three, but considering their groundbreaking attention to detail, it's hard to think the subplot was introduced by mistake. It's an early sign of Simon's intention to cover new territory later on, and therefore another confirmation of how different The Wire was, and still is, from other television dramas.

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