The Worst Episodes of The Wire: When the Plot Hits Rock Bottom

As a die-hard fan of The Wire, I can confidently say that it’s one of the best TV shows ever made. But let’s face it, even the greatest shows have their not-so-great moments. In this listicle, we’re going to take a deep dive into the worst episodes of The Wire. Now, don’t get me wrong, we still love the show, but there are a few episodes that make us cringe and wonder what the writers were thinking. So, grab some popcorn, settle in, and let’s explore the episodes that even the biggest fans of The Wire would rather forget.
The Target

The Target

Season 1 – Episode 1

Air Date: 2002-06-02

“… 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.

More with Less

More with Less

Season 5 – Episode 1

Air Date: 2008-01-06

“The bigger the lie, the more they believe.” – Bunk Moreland. McNulty and the detail continue to stake out Marlo and his crew. Recently promoted Sergeant Carver is met with complaints concerning unpaid overtime. Meanwhile, Haynes deals with cutbacks, but is still able to expose a politician’s connection to a drug dealer; and Joe, Marlo, Fatface Rick meet to divide up the drug trade across Baltimore.

Know Your Place

Know Your Place

Season 4 – Episode 9

Air Date: 2006-11-12

“Might as well dump ’em, get another.” – Proposition Joe Herc and Dozerman search for Little Kevin; Omar gets out of jail; Carcetti has his first meeting with the City Council; Prez and the teachers begin teaching the test; Proposition Joe lets Marlo know Major Crimes is after him; Bubbles looks to Kima and Herc to help him out; Bubbles delivers Little Kevin to Herc; Old Face Andre goes into hiding but Proposition Joe sells him out; Bug’s father gets in Michael’s face; Michael takes his problems to Marlo; Daniels and Valchek gets promoted; Omar and Renaldo monitor Marlo’s activities.

Alliances

Alliances

Season 4 – Episode 5

Air Date: 2006-10-08

“If you with us, you with us.” – Chris Partlow Commissioner Burrell loses Royce’s support; Chris Partlow tries to recruit Michael to become a soldier in Marlo’s unit; Dukie shows Randy and the boys that the missing are really dead; Odell Watkins drops his support for Royce and considers an offer from Councilman Carcetti.

Backwash

Backwash

Season 2 – Episode 7

Air Date: 2003-07-13

“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.

Boys of Summer

Boys of Summer

Season 4 – Episode 1

Air Date: 2006-09-10

“Lambs to the slaughter here.” – Marcia Donnelly Four West Baltimore boys wrestle with what to do with the rest of their summer vacation as the new fall school year approaches. Bodie deals with his corner running slower than usual so he decides to take on a runner. Marlo believes he has finally solved the problem that Stringer could never figure out. Freamon, Greggs, and Sydnor go to Pearlman to see if she will issue City Hall subpoenas. Meanwhile, the mayoral race heats up as Mayor Royce and his primary challenger, Tommy Carcetti each hit campaign trail. Prez begins preparing for his new career in higher education, while McNulty ends up turning down a promotion.

Refugees

Refugees

Season 4 – Episode 4

Air Date: 2006-10-01

“No one wins. One side just loses more slowly.” – Prez Freamon and Greggs move to Homicide, while Herc and Dozerman join Marimow in the lackluster Major Crimes Unit. Cutty gets a “custodial” job at Tilghman School picking up truants, but struggles to make progress while trying to mentor Michael. Bubbles works to get Sherrod back in school as an 8th grader. Burrell finds a way to sabotage the state-witness murder investigation before the election, impacting Greggs. Prez’s struggles as a teacher continue while Bodie finds himself working for a new “company”. Meanwhile, Colvin pitches his pilot program to the middle school and Carcetti meets with a constituency when he knows that they won’t support him regardless of what he says. Randy is faced with a dilemma after being busted for his candy scam and Proposition Joe plays Marlo in a high-stakes heist.

Duck and Cover

Duck and Cover

Season 2 – Episode 8

Air Date: 2003-07-27

“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.

Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage

Season 2 – Episode 2

Air Date: 2003-06-08

“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.

Unconfirmed Reports

Unconfirmed Reports

Season 5 – Episode 2

Air Date: 2008-01-13

“This ain’t Aruba, bitch.” – Bunk Moreland Freamon keeps a look out for Marlo, who is putting together a deal with Avon Barksdale. Davis goes to Burrell for help, but finds that the commissioner’s hands are tied. Whiting puts together a series on broad strokes.

Unto Others

Unto Others

Season 4 – Episode 7

Air Date: 2006-10-29

“Aw yeah. That golden rule.” – The Bunk Omar calls in a favor to the police; Carcetti gets advice from the ex-mayor and then Mayor Royce and his team; Cutty finds out why Spider has been avoiding him and explains to the rest of his boxers that it won’t happen again; Prez makes a break through with his students; Herc loses his camera; Greggs solves the Braddock case with soft eyes; Bubbles gets robbed repeatedly and searches for Sherrod; Namond begins to work a package and finds it hard to get suspended from school; Daniels catches Carcetti’s eye.

Took

Took

Season 5 – Episode 7

Air Date: 2008-02-17

“They don’t teach it in law school.” – Pearlman After cooking up another scheme for the homeless case, McNulty and Lester become popular figures. Davis is set for his day in court by collecting the best legal assistance money can buy. Plus, Michael has brushes with the wrong side of the law, while Gus seeks help for an old story by going outside the Sun.

The Pager

The Pager

Season 1 – Episode 5

Air Date: 2002-06-30

“..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.

Hot Shots

Hot Shots

Season 2 – Episode 3

Air Date: 2003-06-15

“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.

Undertow

Undertow

Season 2 – Episode 5

Air Date: 2003-06-29

“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.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Season 3 – Episode 4

Air Date: 2004-10-10

“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.

The Dickensian Aspect

The Dickensian Aspect

Season 5 – Episode 6

Air Date: 2008-02-10

“If you have a problem with this. I understand completely.” – Freamon Marlo’s crew goes on full alert after Omar’s mysterious disappearance. Meanwhile, Carcetti concentrates on the plight of the homeless, while Bunk has an interview with a witness connected with the row-house case, and Templeton looks to a follow up to his recent front page story.

Time After Time

Time After Time

Season 3 – Episode 1

Air Date: 2004-09-19

“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.

Corner Boys

Corner Boys

Season 4 – Episode 8

Air Date: 2006-11-05

“We got our thing, but it’s just part of the big thing.” – Zenobia Prez wants to teach off curriculum. Carcetti visits the Homicide Department and goes on ride-a-longs for drug busts. Colvin and Dr. Parneti’s class discuss the Corner Boy rules. Bunk convinces Holley to take another look at the Old Face Andre/Omar Little case. Herc and Dozerman begin shaking down Marlo and his crew as they try to have their surveillance camera returned. Chris Partlow and Snoop look to send the New York crew a message. Marlo asks Proposition Joe to look into Herc. Michael’s father comes home, while Namond recruits a lieutenant.

Old Cases

Old Cases

Season 1 – Episode 4

Air Date: 2002-06-23

“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.