The Wire

Season 1 Episode 2

The Detail

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jun 09, 2002 on HBO

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

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  • The devil's in The Detail...

    Another episode, another layer painted on all the characters. I love the way all the characters are portrayed - the criminals have good sides, the police have their flaws. That's real life, a muddy grey instead of white hats & black hats.

    The humour is great in this episode too - from Prez with his unfortunate habit of shooting things (until he steps completely out of line), to Kima being wonderful, to Crutchfield's desk.

    Something tells me this detail isn't going to be as quick & easy as Daniels is hoping. I wonder why I get that impression?!
  • Starts moving forward hang on

    The second episode picks up and takes flight. I was unsure if the show could pull it off but again the show throws you into a variety of characters encompassing the entire drug game including the law enforcement side of the house.

    The characters are further developed and allowed to captivate our minds a little more. There is definitely enough plot and story to keep you involved and guessing at times. I do not regret giving this show a second chance just wish I had when it first debuted!

    Well worth a watch!
  • The main characters are introduced and developed, while the plot still shapes at its own pace. Another introductory episode.

    All seems to be set for the upcoming investigation into the Barksdale organization. Lieutenant Daniels receives his detail and a small HQ to operate at. Lester Freamon, Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski, Leander Sydnor, Michael Santangelo and the Polk/Mahon duo all join on board. Of course, there's also Jimmy McNulty and Kima Greggs.

    The episode begins with McNulty and Bunk discussing the murder of witness William Gant. Jimmy is convinced the Barksdale organization had him killed for testifying, but Bunk doesn't quite buy the story. Our favorite Irish cop once again visits judge Phelan and asks him to call Daniels in order to talk him into having McNulty work the murder case, as well as keeping it quiet. He agrees and promises not to call the media. Jimmy McNulty strikes the viewer, again, as an insubordinate, stubborn, but still willing to do actual police work that matters.

    Bunk and McNulty take a ride down to the low-rise projects and have a chat with D'Angelo Barksdale, questioning him about the Gant murder. When he tries to leave hastily, they take him in for questioning. The scene of his interrogation is easily one of the best, if not the best, in this episode. All the lies the two detectives fed D'Angelo in order to have him write a letter to the witness' "family" were harsh and this shows how ruthless the police can be in order to have it their way. Awesome. In the end, D'Angelo's lawyer Maurice Levy takes him away and scolds him for being naïve and playing along with the cops' methods. Avon Barksdale later also criticizes D'Angelo for it.

    Near the end of the episode, McNulty discovers the Gant murder story on the front page of the Baltimore Sun. At the police station, major Rawls is enraged because of it and blames Jimmy, which means he's once again in deep trouble for not following the chain of command.

    He's not the only cop who gets into trouble this time. Pryzbylewski, who joined the detail, accidentally discharges his duty weapon into a wall at the HQ, which makes Daniels wonder if he's competent. He asks around and finds out he has history of such actions and tries to get him off the detail, but he only manages to get an additional "good man" from Lt. Cantrell – detective Leanor Sydnor.

    Later on, Herc, Carver and Prez go down to the towers in order to intimidate the people there. They're not satisfied with the way the investigation starts and they want a more hands-on approach. It ends in a disaster, with Prez blinding a young man in a fit of rage, as well as some useless and brutal searchings. Shots are later fired at the officers and their car is destroyed. A few hours later, in the morning, Daniels comes down and yells at all three of them, warning them that IID will be investigating them, especially Prez. The three officers are portrayed as hot-headed, naïve and still fairly inexperienced, which is a nice contrast with Daniels, who knows the job way better, but still cares about his detail members. The scene where he instructs Prez what kind of a lie to tell IID is brilliant.

    The investigation itself also kicks off, slowly. Kima Greggs summons her long-time informant Bubbles, whose friend Johnny was beaten badly by the Barksdale muscle last episode. Using his trademark hat trick, he helps Kima obtain photos and some names of Barksdale street dealers and muscle. McNulty later meets him as well and is impressed.

    It's amazing that without any real progress in the plot, the show still manages to keep the viewer interested all the time with intense scenes, as well as showing us different characters in different situations, which develop them more.
  • The introduction continues.

    Some people take a few episodes to decide whether or not The Wire is for them. I have to admit that I was one of them. However watching this episode back again I realise how pivotal it was. The character development continues and we learn more about how the story will unfold.

    Avon Barksdale and his crew are running the drug scene in the West Side. Until now the police department been satisfied with making small time drugs busts and cracking the odd homicide case here and there. The murder acquittal of D'Angelo Barksdale, Avon's nephew, has brought to the attention the power and influence this crew hold over the general public. It is Detective Jimmy McNulty who has brought this attention to the bosses through judge Phelan. This in turn has made Jimmy unpopular however the command must now react by being seen to be doing something about this 'problem.' Deputy Burrell assigns Lt Daniels a team of investigators from narcotics and homicide to crack the case. At this time it is clear that this team assume that the job will be done quickly and Avon will be brought to justice. However things change when a witness to D'Angelo's case was found murdered – presumably by Avon's crew. In this episode the command are keen to keep this information from leaking to the press as they don't want to discourage any future potential witnesses. Baltimore has a lack of funds for witness protection as well!

    Jimmy and Bunk bring in D'Angelo Barksdale for questioning regarding the witness Gant's murder. They manage to manipulate D'Angelo into writing a letter of apology to Gant's 'orphaned' children. This scene shows D'Angelo's softer side. Even though he didn't kill Gant he shows genuine remorse for the situation, probably because the witness is now dead as a result of his trial. Barksdale lawyer Maurice Levy quickly intervenes and stops D'Angelo from finishing his letter ordering him out of the interview room as there is no charge. Kima, Herc and Carver survey the Barksdale crew form the rooftops using Kima's CI (Confidential Informant) Bubbles to highlight them by pretending to sell hats. He places a red hat on the heads on the key players Wee-Bey, Stinkum and Little Man whilst Kima takes pictures from a distance. We see resentment from Herc as he feels Kima is trying to play the boss but Carver just tells him to shut up. Later on Jimmy shows his respect to Bubble's work by giving him $20.

    The main character introduction in this episode is Prez. He makes a terrible first impression by accidently discharging his weapon indoors to Lt Daniels' shock. It is clear that Daniels is not happy with the guys he has been given for this task and during an argument Jimmy tells him this. You asked for men and they send you drunks and f*** ups (rich coming from Jimmy!) Daniels when requesting better men than Prez even comments on Freemon as a cuddly house cat who can't find his gun. Freemon has maybe said 2 words in the whole time but goes on to be a key character.

    Herc, Carver and Prez who are used to doing things the old fashioned way decide to take a drive down to the low rises… at 2am. After trying to impose their authority the place descends into a riot forcing the officers to call in back up. Prez strikes a 14 year old kid in the eye for p***ing him off and the kid eventually loses his eye. This leaves Daniels with a lot of explaing to do but like he says to his wife Marla "I hang them I hang myself" A great episode and the writers manage to cram every single minute with important information. Even the seemingly pointless conversation between Wallace and D'Angelo about McNuggets shows their views on how the main players don't care about the average joe. Like he says - it's all about money.
  • 102

    Things are starting to pick up on this season of critically acclaimed, "The Wire". I've come to realize that I may have been to harsh when I reviewed the first episode of the series, but this episode was just so much better in so many ways.

    Now that all the main characters are established, we've got the cops form a detective group trying to prove that D'Angelo and Avon are guilty. Everyone is split up in groups to help the case in some sort of way. McNulty questions D'Angelo and I must say, the scene in which they were questioning D'Angelo, that's some of the best acting I've seen in a while, and a very intriguing scene.

    This episode was also rather eventful an The Wire's Season 1 motto is to "listen carefully" and you really have to do that to enjoy an episode of "The Wire". When the drunk cops went to the towers in the middle of the night, wow, what a great scene, also a great tie in with the ending with the kid ending up getting blind.

    Everything tied together quite nicely. I guess Daniels did have a reason to worry about the new cop in the group, interested to see how that plays out. A great episode of "The Wire" and this show was a little slow out of the gate, but it definitely pays off.
  • Establishing the detail and its details

    The episode is titled "The Detail", even though the whole show, in every season, is about a detail with the characters we know. But this episode sets up that distinctive team of characters which we will grow to like and know for all the years to come. Most of the things that happen in later episodes and seasons begin here. While the first episode introduced us the characters themselves, the second one tries to bring them slowly together and to set up the structure and mechanics of the detail.

    Of course, at first everything looks really bad. The office is a hidden, dirty storeroom, there's no equipment, the team's additionally hired extra personnel consists of failures and rarely anyone seems to be motivated to actually solve the case. As we learn again here, McNulty functions not only as the central character, but most importantly as the engine that keeps everyone else going, even it is by pissing everyone off (leading to the first time he utters his most symptomatic key phrase: "What the f**k did I do?"). We also see the origin of the bond between McNulty and Kima, a bond which becomes so essential later in the story, mostly because they recognize each other as being "good police."

    We also get an important perspective on D'Angelo who is everything but a simple-minded gangster, because he has a very strong conscience and a sense of morals, even though he tries to repress them as good as he can. At the same time we realize how persuasive and charismatic his uncle is, without ever falling back on stupid clicheés of the nasty gangster boss who only plays nice but is really cruel and sadistic. Avon isn't like that at all. He is simple-minded to a certain extent, but he isn't stupid. He is an idealist (which, as we will see later, separates him from Stringer).

    There is also the introduction of Pryzblewski, a character which, especially after this episode, we immediately characterize as the stupid hothead, who has no idea what he is doing. The pointless violence he lets himself down to, gives not even a hint to what kind of a man he will become over the years, which is perfect, because that transformation is most astonishing for himself.

    We also get more glimpses of raging Rawls, the flawed relationship of Herc and Carv, a very very short glimpse of Freamon and a surprising look on the marriage of Cedric and Marla Daniels. What we get here is a couple that actually talks. It is not about gender roles or stereotypes, but simply about two people who can talk with each other, who are equals on a communicate level. This may sound strange, but it reflects how rare such a relationship is in modern fiction where partners are most of the time used as additional characteristics of one character instead of being an individual character themselves.

    It must be odd to read about all the things that will happen later on, but "The Detail" does set up so many things, that it's hard not to talk about them, when you know the whole story. The point is, that, even on the first viewing, you can feel that setup. This is the episode that will really get you hooked, because it promises so much. And if one thing is for sure, than that the show certainly delivers.
  • I'm warming to this series, but I still find nothing compelling about it. Great character development in this episode, and the cast becomes even more sprawling. I'm still being patient- maybe all of the careful setup is going to pay off.

    The Detail outlines the special detail assigned to Daniels' impromptu task force. The only problem- these guys are a veritable "F Troop" of miscreants and screw-ups. The witness who testified against DeAngelo in the first episode turns up dead, so Bunk and McNulty bring Dee in for questioning and break him down, browbeating him into writing a letter of apology to the victim's family. The interplay between these two detectives is shaping up to be one of the best things about this show- I hope we'll be seeing lots more of it. Meanwhile, some members of the Detail take it upon themselves to send a message to the residents of the projects, with disastrous results. I'm going to watch a few more episodes before passing final judgement on this series. So far it's ok, but I'm not hooked yet. Time will tell...
  • I suppose a lot of these first episodes will be "character development" - but I really enjoyed it

    Lt. Daniels has ended up with the who's who of incompetence in a police case that nobody really wants. Sweet.

    This episode was more interested in pushing forwards a bit and wider a lot. We got painted a deeper picture of the characters, and got to see the impact of more players – the press, the law and so on.

    We see what a shambles the leadership of the police force really is. They are like bickering tribes of the worst kind.

    And it seems like the "good guys" can be douche bags whilst the "bad guys" show strong symptoms of being deeply human and having consciences. Yes – the system of the police pulls them back into line, and the dealers have others do their dirty work. But this episode underlines that neither side is squeaky clean.

    The red hats scene and chicken nugget conversations were both welcome comedy.

    This is still build up and hard to swallow, given the rave reviews of this show. But it is unfair to expect too much from the second episode ever of a 5 season "masterpiece". I am still in and eager to see what happens next.
  • Dead Witness, rash cops & pushers with guilt

    With the witness who testified against D'Angelo in "The Target" found shot dead, McNulty and Bunk decide to shake him down a little and see if anything falls out. During the interview they pile on the pressure and three things of note happen. First of all D'Angelo shows his lack of experience and cracks under their guilting. He reveals that despite his 'streets'; despite the fact that he killed a man, he's still just a kid and that he's just a pusher and a murderer. But it also reveals how green he is, even though he knows his lawyer is on the way he allows them to cajoule them into writing a letter of apology. The third notable event is when D'Angelo's pager goes off in the middle of the interview. McNulty spots it as unusual, something that becomes more important in later episodes.

    Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski (Jim True-Frost) joins the detail, bringing with him a reputation for incompetence that is quickly shown to be true in an amusing fashion. And later in the episode Prez shows just how rash he is (along with Herc and Carver) when the three of them decide to head over to one of the towers and "bust heads." A situation which rapidly spirals out of control after Prez pistol whips a young lad and sparks a small riot. Lt. Daniels is forced to provide them with a cover story in order to keep himself and his detail out of trouble with IAD. An action that later gives him cause for regret as it turns out Prez blinded the kid in the eye he cold cocked. "The Detail" shows that the PD have their fair share of problems and what happens when police officers let their temper rule reason. It also establishes Bubbles as a reliable CI and shows just how far Avon is willing to go in order to quash anyone who'd dare stand against him by siding with the law.

    Plenty of excellent character development and some action to boot!