Disclaimer: There may be spoilers included in the summaries.
Episode 1 "The Target": A maintenance man named William Gant (played by Larry Hull) testifies against D'Angelo Barksdale (played by Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) in a homicide. D'Angelo is demoted from running a west side Franklin Terrance tower to sitting in a low riser. Detective James "Jimmy" McNulty (played by Dominic West) makes enemies with officers and his boss, a narcotics supervisor, Lieutenant Cedric Daniels (played by Lance Reddick) for talking to Judge Daniel Phelan (played by Peter Gerety) about Detective Frank Barlow's (played by Michael Stone Forrest) case against Russell "Stringer" Bell (played by Idris Elba) and D'Angelo Barksdale (played by Lawrence Gilliard Jr.). Stringer tells his partner Avon Barksdale (played by Wood Harris) that he recognizes McNulty in the courtroom as the cop who tried to arrest someone else from their crew.
Episode 2 "The Detail": Lieutenant Daniels realizes he's stuck with a scatter-brained new person on his team, Major Stanislaus Valchek (played by Al Brown)'s son-in-law Detective Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski (played by Jim True-Frost) who shot up his own car to get out of the casualty department. Clearly nothing has changed with his shooting considering in less than a day he manages to accidentally shoot the wall of the team's rundown investigation office. Detective Shakima "Kima" Greggs (played by Sonja Sohn) sets up shop to spy on drug dealers with Officer Ellis Carver (played by Seth Gilliam) and Detective Thomas "Herc" Hauk (played by Domenick Lombardozzic). Reginald "Bubbles" Cousins (played by Andre Royo) offers to help old friend Kima, after finishing his three months in jail, to avenge the brutal beating of his friend Johnny Weeks (played by Leo Fitzpatrick) by Barksdale's and Stringer's street crew. The red hat trick is implemented.
Episode 3 "The Buys": D'Angelo suggests new ways to run the low rise with his workers Preston "Bodie" Broadus (played by J.D. Williams), Wallace (played by Michael B. Jordan) and Malik "Poot" Carr (played by Tray Chaney). Prez is put on administrative leave after blinding a 14-year-old boy Kevin Johnston (played by Jimmie Jelani Manners) for leaning on a police car and mouthing off. Detectives are forced to do early arrests, but McNulty refuses to participate. Omar Little (played by Michael K. Williams) introduces himself.
Episode 4 "Old Cases": Preston "Bodie" Broadus (played by J.D. Williams) is beaten and arrested for assaulting a cop during a drug arrest. After escaping, Bodie finds out why D'Angelo served eight months for an arrest of one of Avon's girls. The detectives find out Detective Lester Freamon (played by Clarke Peters) isn't a slacker police officer after all, especially when he comes back with D'Angelo's pager number and a photo of Avon. McNulty has a drink with Freamon to find out why he was stuck working at a pawn shop for 13 years and four months. Kima appeases her girlfriend Cheryl (played by Melanie Nicholls-King) by taking classes to go beyond her career in the police force.
Episode 5 "The Pager": Stringer orders D'Angelo to stop paying boys in the courtyard for drug dealing until the snitch is found. Kima and McNulty spy on Omar, but Omar decides to introduce himself to the cops instead of running. Wallace reports Omar's boyfriend Brandon Wright (played by Michael Kevin Darnall) to Stringer as one of the guys who robbed Avon's crew. Sergeant Jay Landsman (played by Delaney Williams) talks to Deputy Commissioner for Operations William "Major" A. Rawls (played by John Doman) about why McNulty can't help himself with nosing into cases. Prez breaks pay phone code system.
Episode 6 "The Wire": Brandon is found beat up with one eye missing after being hung outside of a window onto a car. Wallace takes Brandon's death harder than the rest. D'Angelo ponders on future with Shardene (played by Wendy Grantham). Prez and Freamon finally have a voice to match Stringer's name on pay phone wires. Daniels demands that Detective Augustus Polk (played by Nat Benchley) either get sober or turn himself in after slacking off on police work. Sterling (played by Curtis Montez) and Cassandra (actress name unknown) are caught stealing from D'Angelo.
Episode 7 "One Arrest": Rawls plots to get even with McNulty by using Officer Michael "Sanny" Santangelo (played by Michael Salconi). Bubbles is moved by the speech Walon (played by Steve Earle) gives after going to a rehab meeting with Johnny. Johnny has to go to drug court and rehab meetings to avoid prison time, courtesy of Kima's request. Prez comes face to face with Kevin. Omar talks to cops about Marquis "Bird" Hilton (played by Fredro Starr). Wallace goes into hiding. Wendell "Orlando" Blocker (played by Clayton LeBouef) talks to D'Angelo about a drug connect. Stringer demands Bodie and Poot destroy pay phones.
Episode 8 "Lessons": Sean McNulty (played by Eric G. Ryan) and Michael McNulty (played by Antonio Cordova) play the "front and frisk" game for their father. Roland "Wee-Bey" Brice (played by Hassan Johnson), Anton "Stinkum" Artis (played by Brandon Price) and a third guy break into Omar's home and burn his van. Damien Lavelle "Day-Day" Price (played by Donnell Rawlings) is arrested for civil forfeiture after carrying a garbage bag of $20,000. Daniels reuintes with Day-Day after previous conversation he had with Day-Day at a political fundraiser. Acting Commissioner Ervin H. Burrell (played by Frankie Faison) demands that Daniels release Day-Day and threatens Daniels about his past. Questions arise about the integrity of Day-Day's boss, State Senator R. Clayton "Clay" Davis (played by Isiah Whitlock Jr.). Judge Phelan outranks Burrell on taking down Daniels' phone tap 20 days early. Omar kills Stinkum and shoots Wee-Bey. Shardene wonders what happened to Keisha at party with D'Angelo, Stinkum and Wee-Bey.
Episode 9 "Game Day": Wallace feels guilty about Brandon's death and wants out of the drug game. D'Angelo approves of it, but Bodie is suspicious of what Wallace will do when he's free to go back to school. An east side versus west side basketball game introduces the competition between Avon and Joseph "Proposition Joe" Stewart (played by Robert F. Chew). Carver and Herc search for a face behind the name Avon. One of Orlando's strip club dancers Shardene finds out another dancer Keisha was raped and OD'd. She agrees to help Kima and Freamon find out more about Orlando's and narrow down what Avon looks like. Freamon warns Daniels that Avon is donating $75,000 per month to political campaigns, such as Damien "Day-Day" Price's (played by Donnell Rawlings). Omar makes a deal with Proposition Joe to find Avon.
Episode 10 "The Cost": Orlando gets caught by undercover cops in a drug deal. Kima is hurt during a drug bust case. Buttons tries to get clean after talking with counselor Walon (played by Steve Earle). Wallace gives up information to cops on Avon after being upset over Brandon's death and is sent to live with grandmother.
Episode 11 "The Hunt": Cheryl and Bubbles find out Kima has been shot. Detectives try to find Kima's killers. Wintell "Little Man" Royce (played by Micaiah Jones) and Wee-Bey find out there was a cop -- Kima -- in the back of the car with Orlando. Avon and Stringer react.
Episode 12 "Cleaning Up": State Senator R. Clayton "Clay" Davis (played by Isiah Whitlock Jr.) introduces himself to Daniels to defend the money Price has received, as well as other politicians. Burrell reminds Daniels of his past. Wallace returns to the courtyard. D'Angelo is concerned about Wallace's safety after leaving the game. So is Daniels. Shardene wears wire to help detectives, and Freamon bonds with her. Bodie and Poot are ordered to take care of a snitch.
Episode 13 "Sentencing": Kima wakes up and identifies one of her killers. Brianna Barksdale (played by Michael Hyatt) visits her son in prison. Cheryl gives Kima an ultimatum. FBI offers to pursue political corruption. Daniels talks to Carver about his future on the police force. Avon's, Wee-Bey's and D'Angelo's trials go to court.
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