Idris Elba as Stringer Bell

Episodes 37

7.8

The Target

1x1
June 2, 2002

"... when it's not your turn." - McNulty.

Baltimore homicide detective Jimmy McNulty gets into hot water and winds up assigned to a detail of narcotics outcasts charged with investigating drug lord Avon Barksdale and his powerful operation in Franklin Terrace. Meanwhile, Avon's nephew D'Angelo is fresh off beating a murder rap, but he finds himself demoted upon his return to the gang.

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8.1

The Detail

1x2
June 9, 2002

"You cannot lose if you do not play." - Marla Daniels.

McNulty feels the heat when a witness who testified against D'Angelo is found murdered. Meanwhile, Greggs is given the lay of the land regarding Avon Barksdale's key players, and Herc, Carver and Prez find big-time trouble at the towers.

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8.4

The Buys

1x3
June 16, 2002

"The king stay the king." - D'Angelo.

The early-morning 'field interviews' by Herc, Carver and Prez result in a minor riot, a boy losing an eye and some bad publicity for the department. On the other side of the law, D'Angelo teaches Wallace and Bodie how to play the game (chess) and later impresses Bell with his 'take' from the low-rises.

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8.4

Old Cases

1x4
June 23, 2002

"It's a thin line 'tween heaven and here." - Bubbles.

Greggs and McNulty try to get Hardcase to turn informant as arraignment begins for those caught in the raid. Barksdale places a bounty on the head of rival gang leader Omar. Meanwhile, McNulty takes Bubbles on a cultural field trip, and Herc and Carver try to track down Bodie.

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8.4

The Pager

1x5
June 30, 2002

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

McNulty's detail finally gets 'clone' pagers to track Barksdale and his gang, but nobody can crack the codes used by the callers. Meanwhile, Bell instructs D'Angelo on how to school his lookouts while simultaneously flushing out a possible snitch. Later, Carver and Herc find Bodie, but their interrogation doesn't turn up results.

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8.2

The Wire

1x6
July 7, 2002

"..and all the pieces matter." - Freamon.

When Rawls looks to make a premature arrest for three murders that are linked to D'Angelo and Avon Barksdale, McNulty and Greggs must argue for a delay in order to preserve the valuable wiretap gains they have made. Meanwhile, Wallace and D'Angelo struggle with their consciences after Avon pays them blood money.

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8.6

One Arrest

1x7
July 21, 2002

"A man must have a code." - Bunk.

Tipped off by the wire, Greggs, Herc, Carver and Freamon make a bust, but the incident makes Avon and Stringer suspicious, leading them to close shop in the Pit. Meanwhile, Bunk and McNulty look for another witness in the Gant slaying and hunt a suspect known as 'Mr. Bird.'

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8.9

Lessons

1x8
July 28, 2002

"Come at the king, you best not miss." - Omar.

An unlikely source gives McNulty the tag of a car driven by Stringer Bell. Meanwhile, Greggs and Carver bust a congressional aide carrying dirty cash, but are forced to let him go. Omar earns his 'loose cannon' moniker.

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8.7

Game Day

1x9
August 4, 2002

"Maybe we won." - Herc.

Barksdale plays an expensive game of one-upmanship with an east-side rival. Meanwhile, Herc and Carver take some cash off of Wee-Bey's hands, and Omar resurfaces with a bang.

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8.9

The Cost

1x10
August 11, 2002

"And then he dropped the bracelets..." - Greggs.

With Wallace in custody, McNulty and Daniels try to figure out what to do with him in the months before he testifies. Sydnor and Carver track down one of Barksdale's stash houses, and Prez shows off his 'gift for the paper trail.' McNulty's estranged wife Elena takes desperate measures after learning that he had their kids follow Stringer Bell.

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8.9

The Hunt

1x11
August 18, 2002

"Dope on the damn table." - Daniels.

The police turn up the heat on tracking down Savino, Wee-Bey and Little Man. Burrell orders Daniels to hit drug dealers for results that will impress the press. Barksdale sees his ranks thinning after the hit on Orlando. Bubbles tries to stay sober while scoping out the projects for McNulty; and Freamon determines there's a rat in the detail.

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9.1

Cleaning Up

1x12
September 1, 2002

"This is me, yo, right here." - Wallace.

The low-rise pay phones are out of service, so McNulty and Daniels try to keep pace by tapping Barksdale's office. Bodie gets new responsibilities from Stringer; Freamon gives Shardene a 'new look'; and D'Angelo goes to NYC on an errand for his uncle. With the detail's future hanging in the balance, Daniels faces off against Burrell and his political allies.

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9.1

Sentencing

1x13
September 8, 2002

"all in the game..." - Traditional West Baltimore.

Every crew has weak links--including Avon Barksdale's. With the heat turned up in the high-rises, Daniels and McNulty turn to a higher authority in an effort to crack the case wide open. Season finale.

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8.4

Ebb Tide

2x1
June 1, 2003

"Ain't never gonna be what it was." -- Little Big Roy

Det. Jimmy McNulty--exiled to police-boat duty--makes a shocking discovery in the Baltimore harbor. Bodie drives to Philly to make a connection for the Barksdale crew and Stringer Bell takes the train to New York to feel out the crew's reticent suppliers.

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June 8, 2003

"They can chew you up, but they gotta spit you out." -- McNulty

Major Valchek gets back at Sobotka for the church gift fiasco, and a feud begins. Valchek ups the ante by asking Deputy Commissioner Burrell for a detail to go after Sobotka. Avon Barksdale continues to run his empire from a prison cell--counseling his nephew D'Angelo and going after a guard who is harassing the organization's convicted hit-man Wee-Bey.

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8.2

Hot Shots

2x3
June 15, 2003

"What they need is a union." -- Russell

Bunk and Freamon chase their crime scene, a container ship, to Philly. Lt. Cedric Daniels--disgusted with his exile to the evidence control unit--makes it known that he's leaving. On orders from Barksdale, Bell finds a way to set up the correctional officer who's been harassing Wee-Bey. McNulty pursues the identity of the Jane Doe found floating in the harbor.

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8.5

Hard Cases

2x4
June 22, 2003

"If I hear the music, I'm gonna dance." -- Greggs

Sobotka reprimands his nephew Nick for stealing the cameras and orders him to bring the cargo back--too late. McNulty is on a self-assigned moral mission to identify his floater, but his old partner, Bunk, says they have a more pressing matter at hand: to find Omar so he can testify against a Barksdale trigger man in one of last year's murders.

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8.2

Undertow

2x5
June 29, 2003

"They used to make steel there, no?" -- Spiros Vondas

Ziggy loses his prized Camaro to drug dealers. Unable to dump the homicide investigation on other agencies, Rawls measures Bunk for the blame, if the cases go unsolved. Homicide detectives hand out grand jury summonses to stevedores involved in the homicide case, and port cop Beadie Russell talks to an old boyfriend to find out how cargo disappears from the docks.

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8.6

All Prologue

2x6
July 6, 2003

"It don't matter that some fool say he different..." -- D'Angelo

Trying to let go of police work and return to his marriage, McNulty gives up on identifying his Jane Doe. In their investigation of Sobotka, the detectives discover a pattern in the computer and explain the connection to Daniels, but he still won't take the murders. Sobotka tries to play the political game on behalf of his union.

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8.3

Backwash

2x7
July 13, 2003

"Don't worry, kid. You're still on the clock." -- Horseface

Russell tells Sobotka the investigation is over, but, in fact, a port computer is cloned, and when a container goes missing, the detectives follow. Simultaneously, Greggs and Prez tap into a circuit of Russian prostitutes. With two sets of evidence, the detail goes to Pearlman. Neither crime merits wiretap--but a drug connect could give the case legs.

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8.0

Duck and Cover

2x8
July 27, 2003

"How come they don't fly away?" -- Ziggy

McNulty is back to his old self, on a drunken binge. Urged by fellow stevedores to fight Maui, Ziggy is again humiliated. Worried about McNulty, Bunk tries to get Daniels and Rawls to take him on. After some labor, the wiretap is up--just in time to catch another disappearing can. Sobotka meets with The Greek and Vondas, and they decide to change up.

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8.5

Stray Rounds

2x9
August 3, 2003

"The world is a smaller place now." -- The Greek

Bodie's effort to improve sales ends disastrously, forcing Bell to rethink his strategy. Ziggy pulls Johnny Fifty into a new caper that should make the Greeks pay off big. McNulty, undercover and outnumbered in the brothel, awaits 'rescue.' Daniels and Pearlman stay cool as Valcheck fumes over the change of targets--and Burrell pulls the rug out from under him.

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8.7

Storm Warnings

2x10
August 10, 2003

"It pays to go with the union card every time." -- Ziggy

The Detail uses satellite technology to its advantage. Bodie is unhappy that Proposition Joe's people are slinging on his turf, but business flows--until a new face arrives. Stringer Bell looks to an unlikely solution to the problem. Valcheck visits the FBI in an attempt to get real results on the docks. Ziggy's deal with Double-G goes bad in a big way.

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9.2

Bad Dreams

2x11
August 17, 2003

"I need to get clean" -- Sobotka

With the clock ticking, the Detail makes a desperate move, and Daniels reams out Landsman for dropping the ball. Nick's deceit is in the open as Sobotka is overwhelmed by bad news. The Greeks ease out of an encounter with the Detail, and Omar's suspicions are validated. The Detail hopes to find Vondas's boss, and Nick hopes to repair relations with the Greeks.

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8.9

Port in a Storm

2x12
August 24, 2003

"Business. Always business." -- The Greek

The Detail has a setback, while Russell and Bunk revisit Philly to look for evidence. Brother Mouzone talks with Stringer Bell about their agreement, leaving Bell to contend with a dissatisfied Avon Barksdale. Bubbles and Johnny pull another caper and McNulty and Greggs return to the Westside, where they discover new connections.

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8.5

Time After Time

3x1
September 19, 2004

"Don't matter how many times you get burnt, you just keep doin' the same." -- Bodie

A wave of urban reform brings down the notorious Franklin Terrace public housing towers, forcing the Barksdale drug crew to find a new home. Stringer Bell uses a new sales strategy as he awaits Avon's return. McNulty and the Detail look to make a case against Stringer with a wiretap on a drug ring run by Proposition Joe.

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8.6

All Due Respect

3x2
September 26, 2004

"There's never been a paper bag." -- Colvin

Omar continues his bold strikes on Barksdale stash houses, now heavily guarded. Under orders from Stringer Bell, Bodie faces a critical test against Marlo, a fierce young dealer with lucrative corners. As the wire on Proposition Joe continues to yield little, McNulty launches his own reinvestigation of last year's prison suicide of D'Angelo Barksdale.

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8.8

Dead Soldiers

3x3
October 3, 2004

"The gods will not save you." -- Burrell

Colvin feels the sting of Burrell and Rawls during a Comstat assessment of his district's felony numbers; a blown wiretap forces Daniels's detail to turn to a new target; Proposition Joe cautions Stringer Bell that the police have been tapping phones. Carcetti continues to curry favor in Mayor Royce's inner circle.

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8.7

Amsterdam

3x4
October 10, 2004

"Why you got to go and fuck with the program?" -- Fruit

West Baltimore residents get surprising straight talk at a community meeting from Major Colvin. Bubbles finds gainful employment; Stringer lunches uptown; and Bunk dangles the promise of immunity to a group of corner boys, in exchange for help. Greggs learns how Marlo takes care of business as Bubbles instructs her on the next big thing: disposable cell phones.

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October 17, 2004

"I had such fuckin' hopes for us." -- McNulty

Frustrated in his grass-roots reform efforts, Colvin arms himself with intelligence from Daniels's detail and personally delivers a message to the next level of corner management. McNulty sees Stringer Bell's legitimate business dealings as a sign that he is now unreachable as a drug target. Bubbles shakes the tree for Johnny one more time.

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8.8

Homecoming

3x6
October 31, 2004

"Just a gangster, I suppose." -- Avon Barksdale

Stringer Bell gets an education in construction management; Bunk uses shoe-leather to catch up with Omar and deliver a searing message; a frustrated Colvin unleashes the troops on the corner boys, ignoring his new edict; Avon sends Cutty and Slim Charles against Marlo; Bubbles refocuses the picture for Greggs.

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8.7

Back Burners

3x7
November 7, 2004

"Conscience do cost." -- Butchie

Herc discovers a blast from the past, which he belatedly reveals to his ex-colleagues. Daniels blows a gasket over the real reason the detail was reassigned from an investigation in Pimlico to the Western District. Stringer Bell learns from Donette that she's told Brianna about McNulty's visit and that Brianna is likely to talk to him.

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9.2

Moral Midgetry

3x8
November 14, 2004

"Crawl, walk, and then run." -- Clay Davis

With Amsterdam running full-tilt, Carver and Truck discover there really is no honor among thieves. Prez impresses the detail with what he's found out from Bodie's cell phone, information that sends McNulty and Greggs on a road trip. Colvin sees the benefits of his plan working but has overlooked the human toll, until the Deacon points out the deficiencies.

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8.9

Slapstick

3x9
November 21, 2004

"...while you're waiting for moments that never come." -- Freamon

Responding to an officer's call for help, McNulty and Prez turn down the wrong alley, with unanticipated results. A Barksdale crew violates the unspoken Sunday truce with gunplay, increasing discontent among the New Day Co-op members. Stymied in his effort to open a gym, Cutty is surprised to find help from within Baltimore's power structure.

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8.9

Reformation

3x10
November 28, 2004

"Call it a crisis of leadership." -- Proposition Joe

Brother Mouzone returns to Baltimore on a mission of revenge and casts a wide net in his search for Omar, who has his own plan. Colvin manages, for now, to put off a 'Sun' reporter inquiring about Amsterdam. Carver learns how much he doesn't know about good policing, while Pearlman and Daniels plead their case for a new kind of wiretap to Judge Phelan.

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9.3

Middle Ground

3x11
December 12, 2004

"We don't need to dream no more." -- Stringer Bell

The wire begins to yield information about the Barksdale organization, though finding links to the top proves elusive. Stringer and Avon reflect on how far they've come, with each harboring plans for the future. Tipped by Burrell, Carcetti sees Amsterdam for himself and weighs the benefits against the political reality.

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December 19, 2004

"...we fight on the lie." -- Slim Charles

In the Season Three finale, a reticent Avon readies his troops for a war against Marlo. Meanwhile, as the detail works towards the top rungs of the Barksdale organization, McNulty reassesses his pursuit of Stringer Bell and the path he's chosen for himself. While Royce continues to grapple with Amsterdam, Burrell offers a deal to minimize the fallout.

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