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.