The Wire

Season 1 Episode 5

The Pager

4
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jun 30, 2002 on HBO
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
227 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
"..a little slow, a little late." - Avon Barksdale

When Avon becomes more and more suspicious, he orders Wee-Bey to change phone lines in his apartment. He also promotes Stinkum to manage a new territory and he gets word that one of Omar's crew members has been "got". Stringer Bell warns D'Angelo that a snitch may be in his camp and D'Angelo should tighten up his crew by withholding their pay. While talking with Orlando, D'Angelo learns of Stinkum's promotion. The detectives get their affadavit approved for a cloned pager but they are puzzled when the numbers they receive are not regular Baltimore phone numbers. The detectives are then more stunned when seemingly inept Detective "Prez" figures out the code and has to show them how it works. McNulty and Greggs get a lead on Omar's van and shadow it to a cemetery where there, Omar makes an offer. McNulty prepares his house for his kids' weekend visit only when he goes to pick the kids up no one's home. Bunk gets the file on an old murder case that could be connected to D'Angelo. Herc and Carver catch up with Bodie and attempt to interrogate him only it backfires when Bodie rebukes them. When Wallace and Poot alert D'Angelo that they've found Brandon, D'Angelo pages Stringer, who in turn orders Brandon's execution.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Wow, the complexity of the storylines in this series is awe-inspiring. I think I'm finally getting over the fact that this is not The Shield and no longer waiting for a visceral impact- this is a totally different approach, and I'm starting to like it.moreless

    9.2
    Several events happen in this episode that look like they will have implications for the future: Avon promotes Stinkum to open up a new territory- that's sure to hurt Dee's feelings, since he should have been next in line. Speaking of Dee, Stringer Bell warns him that he suspects a snitch may be in his crew. He suggests a sneaky strategy to expose the snitch- hold back his crew's pay until they are hard up for money; the one who doesn't ask him for money is probably the guilty one. The cops get their cloned pager operation underway, but they are stymied because Barksdale's crew is using a sophisticated code. Shockingly, the supposedly scatterbrained Prez cracks the code, and the intel starts to pour in. We find out more about McNulty's strained relationship with his ex-wife as he and Kima stake out Omar's van, hoping to get intel about Barksdale from him. They unexpectedly get a tip from him that may link Avon to the murder of the man who testified against Dee in the pilot episode. Bunk gets a break in his murder investigation when the shell casing he found at the old murder scene matches up with two other unsolved killings. And Barksdale exacts revenge on Omar's crew for ripping off his stash. This episode represents a masterful piece of storytelling, and moves the narrative along at a crisp pace without sacrificing believeability or dramatic tone. Nothing else on television is like this series; it's going to be interesting to see whether they can keep up this level of excellence. Great stuff!moreless
  • Brutally human.

    9.5
    Brutally human.



    This one was simply eloquent.

    After the wire hits the town, no one can pinpoint what the numbers really mean. Yet the code should not (and is not) complex. An unlikely source provided the answer, and it was rather welcome to see him get into this case in a meaningful manner.



    The dead girl is finally chased up – after more than a year in waiting. And it seemingly cracks the case wide open. It will be fascinating to see how the police take this angle forward, given that the furniture-making Phoenix pointed out that the wire is still not enough to nail this case to the wall.



    D plays quite the conscientious young man in this episode. Although he orders a "hit", it is for family, and he looks very, very aware of what he is helping. He never really seems to fit the "character" of a cold blooded killer – primarily because he is a fuzzy warm teddy bear inside ... with claws. A brilliant character to add to the rest.



    McNulty's torrid time on the home front is in wonderful contrast with his rising professional one. The IKEA beds were a genius touch, and the emptiness of his children's rooms spoke volumes about him. This thing really does need to be resolved with a talking to with his still angry wife (who is justified, since he did cheat on her). But is it fair to drag the kids into it as well?



    The hospital scene epitomised how terrifying the life of a gangster really is. Despite being at the top of the heap, Avon Barksdale still says: "... never be slow. Never be late. It's life ... and it scares me".



    But who are we kidding? The real star of this episode was Omar – our gay black Robin Hood oozing class like a Belgian waffle dripping with maple syrup on a summer morning. He whistles while he robs drug dealers with his shot gun, does not snitch or judge too quickly. He remained calm when approached by the cops, and did not flinch when he first heard about his friend being shot dead. How will he react when his finds that the love of his life was also taken down by the Barksdales?moreless
  • 105

    7.5
    Another solid installment of The Wire. Since this show has started, we got some well-done scenes and some good moments, but I just don't get why everyone loves this show as much as they do. I mean I understand The Wire is building up for something big, maybe a huge payoff, but that doesn't mean every episode deserves an outstanding rating.



    Some takeaway scenes on tonight's episode is the detective group finally doing something. With the newbie decoding the pager number to the confrontation between Omar & Mccnulty. I guess that was something to write home about, all things considered.



    I'm guessing the next episode will be the actual climax of the season, where they put the wire, it only makes sense, especially after they've tapped the phones and pagers. Overall, good, but not superb by any standard.moreless
Wendell Pierce

Wendell Pierce

Det. William "Bunk" Moreland

Wood Harris

Wood Harris

Avon Barksdale

John Doman

John Doman

Maj. William A. Rawls

Lance Reddick

Lance Reddick

Lt. Cedric Daniels

Andre Royo

Andre Royo

Bubbles

Idris Elba

Idris Elba

Russell "Stringer" Bell

Michael Kevin Darnall

Michael Kevin Darnall

Brandon Wright

Guest Star

Curtis Montez

Curtis Montez

Sterling

Guest Star

Lance Williams

Lance Williams

John Bailey

Guest Star

Shamyl Brown

Shamyl Brown

Donette

Recurring Role

Clayton LeBouef

Clayton LeBouef

Wendell "Orlando" Blocker

Recurring Role

Leo Fitzpatrick

Leo Fitzpatrick

Johnny

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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