The Wire—Season 2

wire season 2 dvd cover review episode guide
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10

Still one of the best shows on TV

Not as strong as the first season

wire season 2 title card episode guide

Listen in again!

Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) has been bumped down to harbor patrol for his behavior on the wire.  When he pulls the body of a woman out of the harbor, he discovers it tie to the discovery of dead women in a carrier transport by a dock officer named Beadie Russell (Amy Ryan).  Meanwhile, Major Valchek (Al Brown) has tasked his son-in-law “Prez” Pryzbylewski (Jim True-Frost) to bring down the head of the dockworker’s union Frank Sobotka (Chris Bauer) who has his own illegal dealings with a mysterious man named the Greek (Bill Raymond).  Frank’s son Ziggy (James Ransone) and Frank’s nephew Nick (Pablo Schreiber) have their own plans for money that could lead them into trouble.  As the events at the docks ramp up, Stringer Bell (Idris Elba) and Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris) deal with their own setbacks, and changes at the towers.

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Welcome to the harbor, McNulty

The Wire—Season 2 aired from June 1, 2003 to August 24, 2003 on HBO.  The series continued critical acclaim and is often listed as one of the best shows of all time.

The first season of The Wire showed the strength of The Wire.  Though the second season builds on these strength, it is often cited as one of the weaker seasons of the run.  Despite the criticism, The Wire—Season 2 is still worlds above most TV series.

The plots for each season of The Wire are so twisting and winding.  It highly benefits from a second watching to get the characters and the storyline down.  There are points in the story that could be skipped (like the irritating Ziggy storyline could be toned down), and there are parts I wish they expanded (like more Stringer and more Beadie).  It isn’t perfect, but it is really good.  While the season is rather independent of the first season, you can’t really skip around in this series…plus, once you start you won’t be able to stop.

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One of the best scenes of the season! (and series)

The cast continues to be its greatness.  Almost everyone is solid.  As mentioned, I think James Ransone’s Ziggy is quite annoying and a little unbelievable in his attitude.  The cast is a little more shattered this season with the teams taking longer to form.  The additions of all new characters at the docks kind of hurt the overall story (in a bigger sense) and it didn’t always make sense when they went back to Stringer and his crew since the characters were focusing on another case.  Despite this, the series still works.

Visually, The Wire changes up the location of the first season and that is kind of a good thing.  The docks of Baltimore look so radically different than the projects and it is good to see another aspect of the city (though once again, it doesn’t paint Baltimore in a good light).  It still captures that grittiness that makes the series great.

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One of the worst characters…

The Wire—Season 2 might not have the punch of the first season, but it still presents a great series filled with great characters and stories.  You have the wide range of the irritating Ziggy hanging out with a duck (and doing the worst blind acting since Ben Affleck in Daredevil) to the scene stealing Omar in court sparring with the jerky drug lawyer.  The show never got the glory of some of HBO’s other shows due to huge popularity of The Sorpanos, but it thankfully has been recognized (largely after it aired) as one of the great shows…you might not love Season 2, but you still respect it.

The Wire—Season 2 Complete Episode Guide:

wire season 2 episode 1 ebb tide dead russian prostitutes

“Ebb Tide”

2.1       Ebb Tide Airdate:  06/01/03

Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) finds himself teamed with a new partner named Claude Diggins (Jeffrey Fugitt) on harbor patrol…but things at the docks could be hiding secrets too.  Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski (Jim True-Frost) tries to get back to working drug cases but faces off against his father-in-law Major Valchek (Al Brown).  Frank Sobotka (Chris Bauer) deals with problems at the docks including his son Ziggy (James Ransone) and makes deals with the mysterious Greek (Bill Raymond).  Bunk Moreland (Wendell Pierce) and Lieutenant Cedric Daniels (Lance Reddick) prepare for the trial but learns that the evidence is missing…along with Omar Little (Michael K. Williams).  Kima Greggs (Sonja Sohn) adjust to desk life and is criticized by Thomas “Herc” Haulk (Domenick Lombardozzi) for not doing what she wants.  Bodie Broadus (J.D. Williams) and Shamrock (Richard Burton) make a delivery to Philadelphia but discovers the drugs are missing…but Stringer Bell (Idris Elba) has questions for Bodie.  The discovery of a body in the water leads McNulty to push the case on Colonel Rawls (John Doman).  When the Russians don’t pick up a carrier from the docks, a dock officer named Beadie Russell (Amy Ryan) makes a shocking discovery.

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“Collateral Damage”

2.2       Collateral Damage Airdate:  06/08/03

The discovery of the bodies leaves Russell with the problem of what to do about it…but the case attracts McNulty’s interest.  The Union’s purchase of a stained-glass window puts Sobotka at war with Valchek which leads him to asking Deputy Commissioner Burrell (Frankie Faison) for a special investigation into the docks.  Ziggy gets the lead on drugs from White Mike (Brook Yeaton) but learns his reputation could cost him.  Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris) deals with prison and is charged by Brianna (Michael Hyatt) to get D’Angelo (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) in a better mental place in prison while Wee-Bey Brice (Hassan Johnson) realized he is targeted.  Bunk and Lester Freamon (Clarke Peters) find themselves saddled with fourteen Jane Does due to McNulty.  Prez finds himself charged with finding dirt on Valchek with a new surveillance team.  The Greek and his men find out what happened to the girls.

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“Hot Shots”

2.3       Hot Shots Airdate:  06/15/03

Bunk and Lester try to question the crew of the ship who brought in the container with the dead girls but finds no one will speak.  Omar sets out to reclaim his turf.  Valchek learns that his surveillance van has disappeared as Sobotka has it sent around the world.  McNulty learns that his wife (Calllie Thorne) is planning an official separation as Nick Sobotka (Pablo Schreiber) worries that he isn’t making enough money at the docks.  Stringer goes to D’Angelo’s girlfriend Donette (Shamyl Brown) and tries to “remind” her that she needs to keep D’Angelo happy.  With Buck, Lester, and Russell on the trail of how the girls ended up dead, Jimmy sets out to put a name to his girl.  Slow work at the docks has Frank struggling to keep men.  Valchek vows to get his detail by facing off against Burrell.  D’Angelo learns that prison and drugs don’t always mix.

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“Hard Cases”

2.4       Hard Cases Airdate:  06/22/03

Nick reveals his money problems to his uncle Frank and Frank learns that Ziggy was part of the camera deal.  Burrell comes to Daniels with a deal he might not be able to refuse.  The officers at the prison question how the bad drugs got into the prison, and Avon tries to convince D’Angelo to take advantage of it.  McNulty is pressured to bring in Omar and turns to Bubbles (Andre Royo) and Johnny (Leo Fitzpatrick) for help in finding him.  Kima continues to struggle with getting off of the streets, but Daniels comes to Kima with an offer.

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2.5       Undertow Airdate:  06/22/03

Ziggy’s money problems are catching up to him and his dealers demand payment.  Daniels decide to give Ellis Carver (Seth Gilliam) a second chance despite his betrayal.  Bubbles gets a contact for Omar to McNulty and criticizes McNulty for taking his help for granted.  Daniels gathers his team and plans their detail to bring down Sobotka.  Bunk starts serving subpoenas at the docks over the deaths of the girls and worries Frank.  Russell goes to her former boyfriend Maui (Lance Irwin) to try to get him to be an informant.  Herc goes undercover as a buyer for the detail.  Ziggy and Nick set out to get the chemicals for the Greek after they learn their potential use…but Nick tries to convince Frank the danger of not doing the Greek’s work.

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“All Prologue”

2.6       All Prologue Airdate:  07/06/03

Omar gets his day in court and has a few words for Maurice Levy (Michael Kostroff).  Nick tries to get Ziggy’s “problem” fixed by the Greek’s men and works to get the chemicals.  Daniels looks at Sobotka’s records and finds that everything appears legitimate on the outside.  Greggs goes to Shardene Innes (Wendy Grantham) for trying to find where the girls were being sent and goes to a club for information.  Stringer hires a man to carry out business for him…and a hit that cannot be traced back to him.  Russell and Freamon go through the container records and finds Thomas “Horseface” Pakusa (Charley Scalies) could know more about what is going on at the docks.  Brianna (Michael Hyatt) tries to convince D’Angelo to try to get out of prison early, but D’Angelo vows to fight his own way.

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2.7       Backwash Airdate:  07/13/03

Stringer meets with his contact and learns that his man killed D’Angelo.  Daniels tries to deal with Rawls over the wire and if the unsolved murdered women would fall under it.  Herc and Carver have their plans for their stakeout with borrowed surveillance equipment…but it doesn’t go as planned.  Frank learns that the future for the docks could mean less employees and tries to force more ships to come in.  Stringer attends D’Angelo’s funeral and gets an offer from Proposition Joe (Robert F. Chew).  Bunk, Kima, Freamon, and Russell stake out the shipyard, and see a shipment transported out.  An accident at the docks has Nat (Luray Cooper) questioning where the money is coming from.

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“Duck and Cover”

2.8       Duck and Cover Airdate:  07/27/03

Daniels goes to Assistant State’s Attorney Rhonda Pearlman (Deirdre Lovejoy) with their evidence and get permission for their wiretaps with evidence of potential drug deals.  Ziggy goes up against Maui for revenge but finds it doesn’t work out well.  An accident involving his cellphone leads Frank to realize that something might be happening with the police.  McNulty tries to deal with his marriage’s failure but gets a windfall when Bunk sets out to help him.  Herc and Carver try to find a way to pay back the damaged microphone.  Bodie and Poot Carr (Tracy Chaney) find that the sales are slow and that a new gang is encroaching on their territory.

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“Stray Rounds”

2.9       Stray Rounds Airdate:  08/03/03

The battle for the drug turn leads to a gunfight in the streets…and the death of an innocent.  The wiretap has been exposed, and Daniels teams realize they might have to wait it out.  Stringer tells his men that the death will mean a temporary shutdown and that it will cost him money.  The Greek debates restarting trade with the docks after test runs.  McNulty goes undercover to find the prostitution ring.  Ziggy sets up a new deal with George “Double G” Glekas (Teddy Cañez) and goes solo.  The Greek turns over a drug smuggler to the FBI.  Stringer sets to deal with Proposition Joe over the towers, but Avon has different plans with Brother Mouzone (Michael Potts).

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“Storm Warnings”

2.10     Storm Warnings Airdate:  08/10/03

Frank debates running as Valchek makes a jump by going to the FBI to seek his revenge on Frank Sobotka.  Kima and Cheryl (Melanie Nicholls-King) prepare for a baby, and Kima questions how she will handle work with a child.  Bodie goes up against Proposition Joe’s man Melvin “Cheese” Wagstaff (Method Man) but the arrival of Brother Mouzone for Avon could mean a war.  Ziggy thinks up a fool proof way to steal cars with Johnny “Fifty” Spamanto (Jeffrey Pratt Gordon) for George “Double G” Glekas, but things go sideways…leading to action for the Greeks, the docks, and the investigation.

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“Bad Dreams”

2.11     Bad Dreams Airdate:  08/17/03

Ziggy’s killing of Double G has forced the hand of the FBI and the police to bring in the case.  The Greeks go into clean-up mode and the case could be put in jeopardy.  Valchek gets his revenge on Frank by bringing him in, but Nick goes on the run.  Stringer has a plan for Mouzone, and a meeting with Omar could solve both problems.  Bunk, McNulty, Kima, and Russell seek to find out the head of the Greeks, but the Greek seems to be one step ahead.  Frank finds himself locked out by the union, but an offer on the table could mean a clear head.

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“Port in a Storm”

2.12     Port in a Storm Airdate:  08/24/03

Frank has been killed by the Greek, and Nick doesn’t know where to go next.  Stringer learns his plans to put Omar against Mouzone has failed, and Mouzone seems to know more than he’s saying while Omar is wondering what Stringer is up to.  Bubbles and Johnny attempt to rob a truck goes the wrong way, but Kima and McNulty get valuable information from it.  Herc and Carver question their next move and whether they are being left behind.  Proposition Joe meets with Spiros and learns that the drug traffic will need a new direction.  The FBI goes after the union, and Daniels learns how the Greek managed to stay a step ahead of them.

Related Links:

The Wire—Season 1 Review and Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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