The Codebreakers

Listen again—Freamon 

One of the great pleasures of re-watching Season One of The Wire is tracking the way David Simon and company portray the parallel evolutions of Freamon and Prez, as they go from useless (possibly destructive) humps, to surprising contributors, to the very brains behind the developing case.

What makes this evolution so convincing is the way it unfolds so slowly, in bits and pieces. It starts with foreshadowing. Freamon silently works on his dollhouse miniatures, and Prez does his word-search puzzles. These hints are so subtle that a first-time viewer either doesn’t notice them, or takes them as evidence of femininity (for Freamon), childishness (for Prez) or detachment from the case (for both). They also contain a buried hint of deeper pockets of talent that have yet to be mined.