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 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.