“And then he dropped the bracelets” -- Greggs
Teleplay by David Simon
Story by David Simon & Ed Burns
Directed by Brad Anderson
Teleplay by David Simon
Story by David Simon & Ed Burns
Directed by Brad Anderson
Wendell Pierce (Det. William "Bunk" Moreland), Deirdre Lovejoy (Asst. States Attorney Rhonda Pearlman), Wood Harris (Avon Barksdale), John Doman (Maj. William A. Rawls), Lance Reddick (Lt. Cedric Daniels), Andre Royo (Bubbles), Idris Elba (Russell "Stringer" Bell), Frankie Faison (Deputy Comm. Ervin H. Burrell), Larry Gilliard Jr. (D'Angelo Barksdale), Dominic West (Det. James "Jimmy" McNulty) and Sonja Sohn (Det. Shakima "Kima" Greggs)
Edward T. Norris (Det. Ed Norris), Clarke Peters (Det. Lester Freamon), Jim True-Frost (Det. Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski), Hassan Johnson (Roland "Wee-Bey" Brice), Corey Parker Robinson (Det. Leander Sydnor), Michael Salconi (Det. Michael Santangelo), Michael Kenneth Williams (Omar Little), Clayton LeBouef (Wendell "Orlando" Blocker), Richard DeAngelis (Maj. Ray Foerster), Domenick Lombardozzi (Off. Thomas R. "Herc" Hauk), Seth Gilliam (Det. Ellis Carver), Robert F. Colesberry (Det. Ray Cole), Melanie Nicholls-King (Cheryl), Delaney Williams (Sgt. Jay Landsman), Peter Gerety (Judge Daniel Phelan), Callie Thorne (Elena McNulty), Michael Kostroff (Maurice "Maury" Levy), Robert F. Chew (Joseph "Proposition Joe" Stewart), Wendy Grantham (Shardene Innes), Shamyl Brown (Donette), Isiah Whitlock Jr (State Senator R. Clayton "Clay" Davis), Michael B. Jordan (Wallace), Neko Parham (State Police Undercover), Steve Earle (Walon), Bobby Brown (II) (Off. Bobby Brown), Aaron Michael Lacey (Maryland State Trooper), SiSi Kache (Mother), Kosha Engler (Kima's Friend), Christopher J. Clanton (Savino), Barry Bradford (Stash-House Man), Micaiah Jones (Wintell "Little Man" Royce), Christopher Glenn Wilson (DEA Agent) and Jeorge Watson (Marvin Browning)
After being clean for three days, Bubbles gets strong advice from former addict Walon and a promise of extra help from Detective Greggs. When Omar’s murder attempt on Barksdale fails, Stringer lays down the new law to Barksdale – no phone use, no more money runs, a new pager number and anyone that needs Barksdale talks to Stringer first. They also send word to Omar that a truce will be offered.
Read about the price we pay, getting in the game and taking the bus to New York beyond the link...
An alert and clean looking Bubbles is sat on a bench in the park just watching the world and marvelling in its sights, sounds and details. He’s sat at something of a cross roads, both physically and in his addiction and you can see him contemplate as the opening note of “Way Down in the Hole” builds.
Cue the credits…
In Orlando’s Wee-Bey, Avon and Stringer are talking about Omar’s attempt on Avon. Avon now feels that Stringer’s suggestion of a truce with later retaliation is a good move, they then move on to talking about the Detail’s actions following Avon after the basketball game. Stringer lays down the law for Avon, setting him out of the loop and thus removing him from any direct contact. As Stringer says “We’ve gotta build a wall around you.”
In Phelan’s office patience is clearly running thin everywhere. Phelan is losing his patience as other associates are beginning to treat him like a social leper, this detail and set of wiretaps is fast losing support everywhere. After the meeting Ronnie explains why Phelan is being so short with McNulty, he’s been left off the election fliers for his judgeship election.
Back at Dee’s his girlfriend , is talking about the future while Dee contemplates what his life has become before leaving her.
In the basement McNulty and Cool Lester Freamon are talking to Carver and Sydnor about the pattern of calls that have revealed where the main stash house calls are coming from. The calls indicate that the re-up comes from the same place, near the Mondo Mart. As such, Carver and Sydnor are going to be pulling twelve hour shifts watching the re-up payphone – Herc is away for the week. Kima comes in and McNulty talks to her about Wallace, he intends to go talk to Wallace himself.
Out on the streets Orlando meets up with some dealers to make a connect despite Avon’s warning that he should not do anything that could bring the attention of the police down on him. After he hands over the money they give him a bag and then laugh.
McNulty arrives in Wallace’s place and has a look around, while back in the park Bubbles is talking with Walon about his situation. They’re talking about Bubble’s situation, his life and what to do next. Walon explains how he has ‘the bug’ and lays down a few truths for Bubbles. The key part of his talk is that Bubbles should forgive himself, love himself and come to meetings because he can’t do it alone.
Back outside Wallace’s McNulty is explaining to some uniforms about Wallace, they are to wait for Wallace and then snap him up. McNulty hands them some food and beer to pass the time with before he gets a call from Kima and heads off.
Dee is waiting out on the street outside Orlando’s for Shardene who arrives in a yellow cab and refuses to talk with him before heading inside. Dee is less than impressed with this.
Kima and McNulty meet up with Omar who tells them about the amnesty offering from Avon. Kima suggests he should take the truce but Omar isn’t keen because the Barksdale’s want to meet face to face for a parley. Omar then shows them the wound he suffered from the end of the previous episode and asks if they can help him out because otherwise he’ll probably get ambushed by Avon’s men in or around the hospital.
We find out what was in the bag handed to Orlando next, he’s located in a white room with the dealer from the car looking at him. As the man leaves we get a view from another camera, a black and white long shot from the security camera in the interview room. Orlando has managed to get himself landed exactly where Avon feared he would; the entire ‘connect’ was a sting operation. Outside the officer talks to his superior about the names Orlando gave (Barksdale) and then lets Orlando know he’s going to be cooling his heels in the Eager Street city jail for a while.
Carver is undertaking surveillance on the payphone and Sydnor takes over, Sydnor is less than impressed with Carver’s hygene habits. The following day Santangelo spots Little Man making a phone call to a pager for the re-up. Sydnor just has to wait and see who’s on the payphone when the call comes back.
In homicide McNulty is rudely awoken from his drunken stupor by Bunk and a second detective. He’s been waiting outside the interview room where Wallace is now asleep. Wallace has spilled his guts over the entire Brandon slaying, he’s given up everyone involved, even Stringer. He’s going to have to testify and until then McNulty needs to figure out what to do with the boy.
Santangelo calls the basement to let them know that Little Man is picking up the phone, on the other end Sydnor already has an eyeball for the caller. Prez and Freamon monitor the call and tell Sydnor to follow the caller. Orlando arrives in the City Jail but he’s spotted by an inmate when being processed. He phones out to let someone know of this development. Sydnor meanwhile has managed to follow the caller all the way to the main stash house, a secure building protected by a lot of security cameras and floodlights, clearly a permanent structure.
Wallace is now talking to Daniels and McNulty about slinging drugs, I’d just like to take a moment here to praise Lance Reddick’s range, he’s normally so intense and p***ed off in many first season scenes but here he appears genuine and compassionate. McNulty is asking Wallace about any shootings, specifically a girl out in Eastside and Brandon’s murder. Wallace refuses to put Dee in the frame but puts up all of the rest. This is huge news for the Detail; they’ve got everyone important except for Avon nailed on either the murder charges or conspiracy ones. Dee is the only person who might manage to wriggle his way out as he just called Brandon’s location in. McNulty heads out for a phone call and Daniels attempts to see if it’s possible to get witness protection for Wallace. Ronnie doesn’t think it’s possible and suggests that Wallace should be sent down to the shore. McNulty’s phone call turns out to be less than pleasant and he exclaims how he’s going to need a lawyer.
In the basement Sydnor is talking with Carver and Freamon about the main stash before Freamon walks over to talk with Prez about the properties Avon’s dummy companies own. They can’t see a pattern except for some clusters in the west side of downtown. Freamon praises Prez’s paper trail work and tells him it’s time for a little street work. Prez reminds Freamon that he’s in-office and isn’t allowed his gun until the grand jury for his pistol whipping of the lad back during the tower incident. Freamon tells him he won’t need a gun for his street work.
McNulty’s phone call comes clear in the next scene as we see his wife present with her lawyer. His unwise game of front and follow with Stringer Bell has got back to her and she’s understandably seeking limitations of visitation rights for this. Ronnie is asked to provide a counter point and admits she has nothing; she’s a prosecution lawyer for criminal charges not a civil lawyer. The judge rules that she’s going to lunch and leaves them to sort out their problems together.
Orlando is meeting with a lawyer himself at this time, an impassionate Maurice Levy hands over some backdated forms which transfer the ownership of the club. Orlando is not willing to sign unless he gets a bondsman; Levy suggests that such an action would be unwise before telling him “Now you’re in the game” and leaving him there.
McNulty sits down to talk with Elena, it’s clear that Ronnie was the woman McNulty was cheating with her when their relationship ended. They then move on to talking about McNulty’s ‘front and follow’ and he explains just how safe the kids were. The thing is, logically he’s right, they were perfectly safe (as I observed in the previous episode) but it’s still just not something you do. Elena asks if Ronnie knows about the pictures and asks if they’re still together, he first says no to both and then admits he’s with Ronnie “a little”.
In the basement Wallace is watching Senator Clay Davies make a speech on the TV when Daniels walks in and tells him to get ready. It’s clear that Wallace is suffering from withdrawals and Daniels asks him just how much he’s been using.
Stringer is standing in front of a fountain with Proposition Joe waiting for Omar to turn up. Prop Joe soothes Stringer’s concerns about Omar appearing and then let’s Stringer know he’s not doing this for free when Omar arrives. Prop Joe gives them a short speech and then leaves. Stringer then lays down the terms of the truce, Omar is to stay away from the Barksdale product and money and in turn the Barksdales won’t kill him. Omar asks about how’s he’s supposed to let what happened to Bailey and Brandon just slide. He then goes on to demand that Avon pays him around five or ten thousand, Stringer offers him five without much hesitation. McNulty and Kima were both listening nearby to the conversation on a wire.
Daniels drops off Wallace at his grandmothers while over in Orlando’s Stringer, Wee-Bey and Avon are talking about Omar’s demand when Shardene arrives with drinks, Avon shushes their conversation while she’s present, drinks are handed out and she then leaves. Pausing outside to try and evesdrop before the sound of another door opening disturbs her.
Kima is enjoying a night out with her girlfriends, Kima refuses to drink shots because she has work in the morning and after a little ribbing one of her friends asks her why she decided to become a cop. Kima tells them about how she was feel training and still unsure when a call came out and she ended up separated from her training officer. But she still managed to find and catch the perp. While struggling to hold the guy she looks up and sees Charlie Smook, a legendary Baltimore police officer, who drops his cuffs for her and then walks away.
Outside the main stash house a garbage truck pulls up and two garbage men pick up the trash, Prez and Sydnor. They take the bags back to the basement and after sorting through it all they’ve found a mountain of probable cause, more than enough to get a warrant. But Kima explains why they don’t need to issue one right now, it’s better to follow the deliveries instead of just kicking the door in right now. Observation will allow them to find out even more about Barksdale’s operations. Then the police man from Orlando’s bust arrives, Kima knows him – he’s Troy Wiggins. Tory lays down the line about Orlando tells them why he’s here.
Freamon is enjoying a breakfast with Shardene, she’s explaining how hard it is to identify the people in the room because she needs glasses. She puts on a set of state provided thick rim glasses, Freamon notes that she doesn’t wear them while working and then laughs.
Kima, McNulty, Ronnie and Daniels are talking about Orlando’s (Wendle-O if you prefer) situation. It’s unlikely he can get any product from Avon, but Ronnie is willing to negotiate his sentence if he gives up information about the club, money laundering and the girls. They’re interrupted by a phone call from the deputy commissioner for Daniels. McNulty notices that the deputy doesn’t miss much.
Kima meets up with Bubbs who’s paged her to talk, she’s not happy but changes her mind when she finds out he’s trying to get clean and might be serious about it. She agrees to help him despite the fact that he’ll be less useful as an informant if he’s clean.
Daniels is now meeting with Foerester and Burrel over Orlando, Daniels wants to protect the wire and keep moving with it. Burrel is less than thrilled and wants a Buy-Bust.
McNulty and Omar are up at the bus depot, Omar is leaving because Stringer agreed to the payout, that’s a clear indication that Stringer has no intention to pay up. Omar knows if he hangs around or attempts to collect that money all he’s going to get is a bullet with his name scratched into it. McNulty gives Omar some cash and tells him to keep in touch for the Gant trial while Omar walks.
Daniels is walking everyone through Orlando’s buy-bust. Kima will be making the deal, her firearm kept under the rear seat. The car will be a live wire, Kima won’t have anything on her. Orlando is to try and work Savino in order to get someone further up the food chain. As mentioned previously in this episode Savino isn’t very important, they want Wee-Bey, Avon or Stringer on this. Everyone gets ready and they head on out.
Bubbs sits out on the bench still, dealing with being clean before getting up and walking away. He passes by the dealers without purchasing.
Orlando arrives with Kima to pick up Savino, Kima continues to give status updates but has some difficulty because Savino turns up the volume on the stereo. No-one has an eyeball on the car and things are looking a little tricky. Savino tells Orlando to pull over in an alley and heads out to get the goods for Orlando. Kima is a little worried because the signs may have been turned about, but believes she’s in Warwick. Everyone moves in closer, police and as it turns out gangsters as well. Two men in hoodies open fire at the car and Kima’s report is cut short by gunshots. Everyone scrambles to try and find her but they have no idea where she is.
The police helicopter manages to locate the car and McNulty arrives on scene. Orlando and Kima are down in the car and not moving. Daniels desperately calls for a medic while Carver freaks out and McNulty applies CPR to Kima. We end with an overhead shot of the scene from the helicopter.
Well, did you see that one coming at the start of this show? Did you expect Kima to get shot in the line of duty? If you sensed it coming during this episode that’s not quite so impressive because the build up of narrative clearly indicates something’s going to happen and there’s so many scenes focusing around Kima that a good understanding of story build should have tipped it to you. But really, The Cost is such an excellent episode in so many ways, we have three episodes left until the first season ends and this one is such a thunderbolt in so many ways, of all the members in the Detail Kima has proven to be the one who’s most consistently capable and she’s the one with a decent relationship in her life.
I can still remember watching this episode for the first time as the final events remain fresh in my mind, it ends with a very charged sequence and a continuous sinking feeling throughout the car sequence. Even before anything happens you get a feeling something bad is coming. I also found it impossible to wait and immediately shot off to watch the next episode in order to find out what happens next. You may also want to do that, I wouldn't blame you if you did.
It's difficult to talk about other events on the whole because the final few seconds of this episode are just that intense. But the other major events are Omar leaving town; which means the 'war' between Avon and him is effectively on ice, the discovery of the main stash house; which is a huge coup for the detail, but it's also got the potential to result in a premature search and seize (just like this buy-bust was premature) if Burrel hears about it (and remember he has someone in the detail reporting to him directly) and Bubbles getting clean.
The Cost is definately the most intense episode of the season so far and it's incredible to think that there's only three episodes left before the first season ends. But that's the truth of the matter, fortunately there's another four seasons after this one to come.