1.2: Laughter in the Mud

By Peter Honig

“The Detail” ends with a montage that is both haunting and comical, one that unites both of the show’s major worlds, one that both advances specific plot points and makes broader comments about the universe of the show.

The sequence begins right after the Daniels dinner scene that I discussed yesterday and brings the hectic opening days of the investigation to a close. The best way to approach this sequence is to look at each piece of it, one scene at a time.

1.2: Daniels’ Unwinnable Game

By Peter Honig

“Get out of it.”—Marla
“How do I do that?”—Cedric

Throughout the first half of “The Details,” Daniels seems to be pretty pessimistic about the quality of his new group of detectives. When he negotiates with Cantrell for Sydnor, he says “I’ll carry Pryzbylewski for as long as I can.” By the end of the episode, it is clear that, if anything, Daniels was being optimistic. He may not even be able to carry the pistol-whipping Prez for more than a day. If anything, the riot is the easy part for Daniels. Managing the political and ethical considerations will be the real headache for this beleaguered commander.

1.2: Sympathy for Herc

By Peter Honig

“It ain’t right…you think it’s right?” —Herc

Last week, I tweeted the following:

“Herc gets hurt twice in “The Detail.” He steps on a nail and gets hit with a bottle. Both well-deserved. ‪#thewiredetails1.2@D_Lombardozzi

An hour or so later, Domenick Lombardozzi wrote the following response: “U fing jakel!”

I wasn’t sure how to take that. It isn’t always the easiest thing to detect tone in short-form digital communications like texts and tweets, so I just assumed he was joking around. But as those fierce eyes stared out at me from his Twitter avatar, I started to fear that I had angered him, and I have seen what an angry Herc is capable of.

1.2: Details Big and Small

By Peter Honig

“Yeah, I could tell”—Kima

“The Detail” follows the eponymous squad through its infancy stage, and up to its first clumsy steps (as well as its first time falling on its face). All of the foundational elements are there: they get their home, they lock down the full roster of personnel (for better or worse) and they have their first organizational meeting, complete with a division into pairs of partners and a basic investigation strategy. This is all accompanied by the perhaps-too-appropriate sounds of flushing toilets and confused maintenance men.

1.2: Puppies and Parasites

By Peter Honig

“I owe you, okay?”—Cantrell

Daniels is immediately reluctant to head the newly-formed Barksdale Detail, but it’s not until the opening scenes of “The Detail” that he begins to realize the real scope of his predicament. It’s starts off with the detail’s exile to the basement, but then he sees the parade of humps who Burrell gave him for the case. They appear to be a ragged assortment: two lazy drunks hiding behind seniority, a dull wall-shooting reject, and a mute wallflower absorbed in his own strange trinkets. Daniels asks for more manpower, and he gets the department’s waste (“dead wood,” “garbage”). At this point he realizes that he is being dragged down into the quicksand of departmental politics courtesy of a special force known as “suction.”

1.2: Underground Nuggets

By Peter Honig

“Just some sadass down in the basement…”—D’Angelo

While McNulty is busy digging himself deeper into the case by stoking Judge Phelan’s interest in the Barksdales, the other members of the ragtag newly-formed detail move into their new home, and it’s not pretty. With Daniels in the lead, Kima, Carver, Herc and Santangelo follow like a row of ducklings. He opens the door that leads to a basement. We see a low angle shot, looking up a darkened stairway at a group of peons whose relocation to this murky subterranean world should remind Office Space fans of squirrely Milton’s slow stuttering descent into Storage B.

1.2: The Three Versions of William Gant

By Peter Honig

A version of this piece was originally published on Wirefans.com

The opening scene of The Wire‘s second episode, “The Detail,” marks the transition point between two aspects of William Gant’s murder. We have gone from the scene of the murder, where D’Angelo has his guilty epiphany, to the morgue, where McNulty and Bunk discuss the possible causes for and ramifications of the killing. This transition illustrates the two worlds that come together around any murder. They are like the two hemispheres of the brain, each one controlling its own half of the body and its own unique set of cognitive functions—the emotional, intuitive right brain and the rational, logical left.