The Detail – Episode 2, Season 1 – The Wire

Bunk and McNulty interrogate D’Angelo with Kima observing.

Teleplay:  David Simon

Story:  David Simon and Edward Burns

Directed by: Clark Johnson

Opening quote:  “You cannot lose if you do not play.”  Marla Daniels

Spoiler Alert:  This is written for those who have viewed The Wire at least once if not multiple times.  If you have not viewed, please enjoy the wonderful experience of the series for the first time with the delight of not knowing what is coming next.  I encourage you to leave this blog and go stream The Wire on Netflix, or better yet, buy from Amazon (affiliate link). The Wire: The Complete First Season

As much as I love The Wire – and I place it in the Holy Trinity of TV Drama series along with The Sopranos and Breaking Bad – it is not without some flaws.  Flaw number one is the frequent lapse of accent by Dominic West (Jimmy McNulty) and, for me, the more troublesome flaw of Det. Roland ‘Prez’ Pryzbylewski’s character.

In ‘The Detail’ Prez pistol-whips a 14 year old during a drunken visit to The Terrace in a shake down gone bad (along with Herc and Carv). When Daniels arrives at the scene, and asks what possible investigation could be going on at two in the morning and why was the kid hit – Prez answers “he pissed me off.”  Later in Season 4, Prez appears as a teacher with a heart of gold.  But the violence of this incident from Season 1 lingered with me and is a transformation the writers didn’t give enough proof to.

In the world of The Wire – the only tool (for most) is a hammer, so every issue is seen as a nail.  The Detail includes some glorious and well-choreographed interaction and dialogue – and highlights the characters that have more in their toolbox than a hammer.  For Bunk and McNulty it is their creative approach to interrogating D’Angelo.  For Kima Greggs, it is her ability to use Bubbles as an informant.  For Daniels it is his ability to dress down Prez, Herc and Carv and then turn around and give them their story for Internal Affairs.

This episode tells us a bit more about Lieutenant Cedric Daniels.  He’s described as a “company man” in episode one who is in line for promotion.  In episode two, we see him skillfully manipulate a colleague in order to snag Sydnor for the task force; we see that he is loyal, in spite of the mess that Prez, Herc and Carv have made, he suggests the story they should give Internal Affairs, and we see him with his wife Marla Daniels.

Sporting the Proper Brim

In episode one, no one knows anything about the Barksdale crew.  In episode two, Bubbles helps Kima identify just about every one except Stringer and Avon.  Bubbles plan (which impresses McNulty) is to hand members of the crew a red hat or “Proper Brim” while Kima is taking photos from the rooftop.  Throughout The Wire there are several humorous moments involving hats.  My personal favorite is in Season 3 when Slim Charles goes on a rant about Omar’s grandma’s Crown and the Sunday truce.

We also learn more about the hoppers at the orange couch.  Wallace, who in episode one, correctly noted that Hamilton wasn’t a president, is now engaged in the discussion on who invented the McNugget.  The series is unfolding that Wallace is smart and has the ability to focus on the good in any situation.  When D’Angelo lays out the likely fate of McNugget inventor, Wallace doesn’t contradict him, but says, “Still had the idea, though.” There is a sweetness about him.  The writing and acting does a great job in building the relationship between Wallace and D’Angelo.

Fabulously, YouTube provided the entire interrogation scene from ‘The Detail’ – and speaking of details, I love McNulty’s line “One asshole chases another into Teddy’s House of Natural…empties a nine…over 20 missing gel caps.”  It’s those little details, like the name of the barbershop that give The Wire so much texture and genuineness.

Bunk and McNulty work D’Angelo

A la Carte

  • I never noticed this before, but there is foreshadowing in this episode on the future romances of Cedric Daniels and Rhonda Pearlman as well as Stringer Bell and Donette.
  • Quotable Bunk: “…crying their little orphan asses to sleep since their Mama died a few years ago.”
  • Ashburton Woods is the name of the apartment complex McNulty lives in.
  • We see Lester Freamon and Sydnor for the first time.
  • “Between the two of them I don’t have a designated driver.” Daniels on Polk and Mahone.

Recaps and reviews – Season 2

The Target – Episode 1, Season 1, The Wire

The Buys – Episode 3, Season 1, The Wire

Old Cases – Episode 4, Season 1, The Wire

The Pager – Episode 5, Season 1, The Wire

The Wire – Episode 6, Season 1, The Wire

One Arrest – Episode 7, Season 1, The Wire

Lessons – Episode 8, Season 1, The Wire

Game Day – Episode 9, Season 1, The Wire

The Cost – Episode 10, Season 1, The Wire

The Hunt – Episode 11, Season 1, The Wire

Cleaning Up – Episode 12, Season 1, The Wire