The Wire: Season 2 (2003)

SEASON:

Season 2
The Wire

Critics Consensus

An ambitious introduction to a new network of characters allows The Wire to expand its focus on societal ills.

95%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 21

95%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 658

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Episodes

Air date: Jun 1, 2003

The second season of The Wire begins with Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) having been assigned to Baltimore's boat unit, the one place he did not want to be. McNulty finds a young woman's corpse floating in the river, and makes sure his old unit gets the case. Kima (Sonja Sohn) and Cheryl (Melanie Nicholls-King) are trying to have a baby. Prez (Jim True-Frost) meets with his father-in-law, Major Valchek (Al Brown), and tells him he wants to keep working good cases like the Barksdale case, but Valchek has other plans. Valchek is preparing a stained-glass window for his church, St. Casimir, and he's angry when he learns that the IBS dockworkers union, represented by Frank Sobotka (Chris Bauer), has out-donated him for the nave window. Sobotka has his own troubles; his son, Ziggy (James Ransone) is a worthless drunk who can't hold down a job on the docks. His nephew, Nick (Pablo Schreiber), has a stronger work ethic. Sobotka sends Nick to meet with Vondas (aka "The Greek," played by Paul Ben-Victor) to discuss stealing a certain container off the dock for the criminal. Even though Nick foolishly brings Ziggy along on the meet, the deal is made, and Vondas says he'll send his usual driver, Sergei (Chris Ashworth). But the container sits on the dock, out in the open, and when Sergei drives off without it, Sobotka gets antsy and has his crew put it out of sight. But a cop working the docks, Officer Beatrice Russell (Amy Ryan), notices the broken customs seal on the container, and makes a grisly discovery. Meanwhile, Stringer (Idris Elba) sends Bodie (J.D. Williams) to Philly to pick up some product, but finds that Avon's (Wood Harris) nervous supplier has backed out of the deal.

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Air date: Jun 8, 2003

Sobotka (Chris Bauer) goes to see Vondas (Paul Ben-Victor) to express his outrage over the 14 dead prostitutes on his dock. Vondas assures him that they're as upset as he is about the deaths. McNulty (Dominic West) finds out about the girls, and connects them to the murdered girl he dragged out of the water. He goes to Officer Russell (Amy Ryan) for more information, and with the medical examiner (Eric Dellums), determines that the air pipe on the container was intentionally crushed -- the 14 girls were murdered. McNulty then goes far out of his way to make sure that his old homicide unit gets the case, despite Major Rawls' (John Doman) best efforts. Bunk (Wendell Pierce) and Freamon (Clarke Peters) aren't too happy with McNulty when Landsman (Delaney Williams) gives them the case. Valchek (Al Brown) goes to see Sobotka, and threatens to continue harassing him if the union doesn't let the police take the stained glass window in the church nave. Sobotka tells Valchek he should have come and discussed it with them in the first place, and insults the Major. So Valchek offers to support Burrell (Frankie R. Faison) for police commissioner, in exchange for Burrell letting him have a CID unit to investigate Sobotka. Valchek's son-in-law, Prez (Jim True-Frost), ends up heading the unit. Vondas and The Greek (Bill Raymond) begin their own bloody investigation into the murder of the 14 prostitutes. Meanwhile, things aren't going well for Avon's (Wood Harris) crew. Wee-Bey (Hassan Johnson) is being harassed by a guard with a personal beef, and D'Angelo (Larry Gilliard, Jr.) is using drugs and avoiding Avon.

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Air date: Jun 15, 2003

Omar (Michael K. Williams) is back in Baltimore, and plotting to rip off another drug dealer. His plans are thwarted by two resourceful young women who get the same idea and act sooner. Omar and his partner team up with the girls. Bunk (Wendell Pierce) and Freamon (Clarke Peters) go to Philly and interview the crew of the ship that brought in the dead women, but the multiethnic crewmembers all claim they don't speak English, so the frustrated cops let the ship go. McNulty (Dominic West) drops by the station to share his thoughts on the case, but Bunk, Freamon, and Russell (Amy Ryan) have already figured out that the women were prostitutes, that one of them was murdered, and that the others were witnesses, so they were suffocated in the shipping container. Avon (Wood Harris) and Stringer (Idris Elba) plot against a drug-dealing prison guard, Tilghman (Antonio D. Charity), who has a beef with their crew. Avon makes D'Angelo (Larry Gilliard Jr.) promise to give up drugs for a few days. Nick (Pablo Schreiber) isn't getting much work, so he and Ziggy (James Ransone) decide to steal a shipment of digital cameras off the docks and sell them to an associate of Vondas (Paul Ben-Victor). Prez (Jim True-Frost) tells Valchek (Al Brown) that the CID unit Burrell (Frankie R. Faison) set up to nail Sobotka (Chris Bauer) is getting nowhere. Valchek checks out the team himself and gets angry. He tells Burrell he wants results, or he'll start talking about how Burrell quashed the Barksdale case. Having heard about Daniels' (Lance Reddick) work from Prez, Valchek tells Burrell he wants Daniels to head the unit, but the lieutenant has recently put in for retirement.

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Air date: Jun 22, 2003

Sobotka (Chris Bauer) finds out about Nick (Pablo Schreiber) and Ziggy (James Ransone)'s thievery on the docks, and gets very angry. Nick decides they won't steal anymore, but his connection promises to make it worth their while if they can deliver certain chemicals. Despite Nick's pleas, Ziggy flashes his cash around, and pisses off a suspicious co-worker. Five inmates are dead and another eight hospitalized after ingesting spiked drugs distributed by Tilghman (Antonio D. Charity). It's all part of Avon's (Wood Harris) plan to shorten his prison term. D'Angelo (Larry Gilliard Jr.) has his suspicions about what Avon's done, and he wants nothing to do with it. Burrell (Frankie R. Faison) offers Daniels (Lance Reddick) a clean slate if he'll postpone his retirement to head the Sobotka detail for Valchek (Al Brown). Daniels agrees to do it if he can choose his own people, and if Burrell will make the detail permanent if they make a case. Rawls (John Doman) has to vet Daniels' list, and he approves everyone except McNulty (Dominic West). The only way McNulty will get off the boat is if "he quits or he drowns," Rawls tells Daniels. Daniels doesn't have too hard a time convincing Greggs (Sonja Sohn) to join the unit, but they agree to break the news to each others' "wives." McNulty gets Bubbles (Andre Royo) to help him track down Omar (Michael K. Williams) so he can testify in a murder trial. McNulty still wants to get back together with Elena (Callie Thorne), but he signs a separation agreement. Bunk (Wendell Pierce), Freamon (Clarke Peters), and Russell (Amy Ryan) start interrogating dock workers. Nobody in the IBS wants to talk, but Sobotka is stunned to learn that the dead girls in the container were murdered.

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Air date: Jun 29, 2003

Ziggy's (James Ransone) skills as a drug dealer come into question again as he screws up, bringing down the wrath of Cheese (rapper Method Man), who supplied him. Cheese takes Ziggy's prized Camaro, and threatens to kill him if he doesn't pay what he's owed, plus interest. Ziggy goes to Nick (Pablo Schreiber) for help. Nick asks Cheese for the car back so Ziggy can sell it and pay him, but Cheese has other plans. Freamon (Clarke Peters) finds out he's been added to Daniels' (Lance Reddick) detail, leaving Bunk (Wendell Pierce) to deal with the 14 murders. Daniels also adds Carver (Seth Gilliam) to the team, reasoning that Carver wouldn't dare betray him again. Carver and Greggs (Sonja Sohn) take photos as Herc (Dominick Lombardozzi) goes undercover to buy drugs from the white boys who sell to the dock workers. Bunk and Russell (Amy Ryan) go back to the docks with grand jury summonses, but Sobotka (Chris Bauer) angrily denies being involved in the girls' deaths, and lets them know that none of his guys will talk. Russell finds an informant, a stevedore who tells her where to look for evidence of the missing container -- the computers. McNulty (Dominic West) takes time out from trying to identify "his" dead girl to bring in Omar (Michael K. Williams), so he can prepare to testify in the Gant murder case. Sobotka tells Vondas (Paul Ben-Victor) that he doesn't want to do business with them anymore, but The Greek (Bill Raymond) won't take no for an answer. Stringer (Idris Elba) gets advice from a professor on how to turn his business around, and gives advice to Avon (Wood Harris) about how to deal with D'Angelo (Larry Gilliard, Jr.)

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Air date: Jul 6, 2003

Omar (Michael K. Williams) makes a compelling witness against Bird (Sticky Fingaz). The special detail discovers that destitute IBS has paid a lot of money to political action committees. Shardene (Wendy Grantham) helps the cops find strippers from Eastern Europe. Another dancer tells them that those girls are always under heavy guard. On the docks, the cops learn that the container full of dead girls was never entered into the computer system by a checker. Further investigation reveals that the same checker was responsible for several cans that disappeared in the same manner. They decide their best bet is to clone the dock's computers and watch what's going on in real time. Bunk (Wendell Pierce) and Freamon (Clarke Peters) try to convince Daniels (Lance Reddick) to fold the murder investigation into his detail on Sobotka (Chris Bauer), but Daniels is worried that the murders won't get solved. Nick (Pablo Schreiber) goes to Vondas (Paul Ben-Victor) for help with Ziggy's (James Ransone) problems with Cheese (Method Man). Sergei (Chris Ashworth) gets Proposition Joe's (Robert F. Chew) help to lean on the dealer. McNulty (Dominic West) convinces his estranged wife, Elena (Callie Thorne), to go out to dinner with him, and tells her he's planning to retire. D'Angelo (Larry Gilliard, Jr.) makes it clear that he wants to serve his time in peace, and wants nothing further to do with Avon (Wood Harris) and his dirty dealings.

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Air date: Jul 13, 2003

Stringer (Idris Elba) attends D'Angelo's funeral, where he runs into Proposition Joe (Robert F. Chew), who offers him a deal. If Avon (Wood Harris) gives up some of his prime real estate, Prop Joe will give them access to his better product. Stringer visits Avon in prison to present the idea. Avon, distraught over D's death but still unaware of Stringer's involvement, rejects Prop Joe's offer. Daniels' (Lance Reddick) unit goes to work, convincing Sobotka (Chris Bauer) that they've given up on the murder case. Then they tap into the dock computers and watch as one of Horseface's (Charley Scalies) containers "disappears." They then trail the container to a warehouse. While Greggs (Sonja Sohn) is doing surveillance, she sees Prop Joe pull up to the warehouse, thus providing a pivotal link between the prostitution ring, the murdered girls on the docks, and Baltimore's drug trade. With this new information, Daniels tells Major Rawls (John Doman) that he's willing to take on the murders, but only if Rawls agrees to provide him with whatever his unit needs. Meanwhile, Herc (Domenick Lombardozzi) and Carver (Seth Gilliam) borrow a high tech bug for their surveillance work, leaving a large deposit on Carver's credit card. They learn that Nick (Pablo Schreiber) is supplying a local dealer, Frog (Gary "D.Reign" Senkus), with narcotics, but they lose their expensive listening device.

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Air date: Jul 27, 2003

McNulty (Dominic West) has a wild, drunken night and wrecks his car. The cops on the detail show Rhonda Pearlman (Deirdre Lovejoy) the connection between the docks and a warehouse used by local drug dealers, and she approves a wiretap on the warehouse phone and on Sergei's (Chris Ashworth) cell phone. Bunk (Wendell Pierce) and Freamon (Clarke Peters) convince Daniels (Lance Reddick) to go back to Rawls (John Doman) and insist that McNulty be added to the detail. Rawls reluctantly agrees. McNulty gets to work, preparing to pose as a john and use the service that provides the smuggled Eastern European girls. He also takes Russell (Amy Ryan) out for a drink, but it doesn't go much further. Sobotka (Chris Bauer) learns that his cell phone account has been flagged, and is not to be disconnected for nonpayment. He grows more suspicious when he finds out that Russell has been assigned to a city detail. Sobotka has Horseface (Charley Scalies) check through The Greek's (Bill Raymond) current container of contraband and stack it on the docks while sending a clean container to The Greek in case Sergei gets stopped by the police. He arranges a meeting with Vondas (Paul Ben-Victor) and The Greek to tell them of his suspicions. The Greek suggests they lose a few more clean cans to throw off the cops. Meanwhile, the detail, through the tap on Sergei's phone, get Vondas' phone number. Ziggy (James Ransone) gets upset with Nick (Pablo Schreiber) over Nick's refusal to involve him more in the drug business. Meanwhile, Bodie (J.D. Williams) and Poot (Tray Chaney) have to use muscle to hold onto their turf, despite the fact that they have no decent product.

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Air date: Aug 3, 2003

Bodie (J.D. Williams) and Poot (Tray Chaney) get into a gunfight to protect some turf, and a child is killed by a stray bullet, bringing a tremendous amount of police presence to the area, and angering Stringer (Idris Elba). Stringer tells Bodie to get rid of all the guns his crew used during the shoot-out, but Bodie screws up, bringing more unwanted police attention. Stringer also wants to trade real estate for product with Proposition Joe (Robert F. Chew), and sends Brianna (Michael Wyatt) to make his case with Avon. Meanwhile, the dock detail realizes that they must have tipped their hand, as the smuggling seem to have shut down. Their patience pays off when they intercept a call from Sergei (Chris Ashworth) saying they'll resume operations soon. They're also listening when Sergei tells a drug dealing associate how they dispose of their bodies and Freamon (Clarke Peters) uses that information to look for unsolved murders that could be linked to the group. A friend in the FBI, Agent Koutris (Tom Mardirosian of Oz), tells The Greek (Bill Raymond) that someone (McNulty's FBI contact) called asking about one of his associates, Double G. The Greek repays him by telling him about a shipment of chemicals meant for the Colombians, who have been underpaying for their shipments. Angry at being left out of Nick's (Pablo Schreiber) drug business, Ziggy (James Ransone) makes a deal to sell stolen cars to Double G. McNulty (Dominic West) goes undercover as a British tourist to help bust the brothel that uses smuggled Eastern European girls. Valchek (Al Brown) blows his stack when he learns that Sobotka (Chris Bauer) is now only a minor player in the investigation he started.

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Air date: Aug 10, 2003

The detail hooks up GPS units to the cars of several operatives in the smuggling operation. Using this high-tech equipment, McNulty (Dominic West) discovers two locations -- a run-down diner and the remote Fort Howard Park, where the smugglers seem to congregate. The detail sets up surveillance, hoping to get a glimpse of the boss, who they think is Vondas (Paul Ben-Victor). Valchek (Al Brown) tries to undercut the detail by going straight to the FBI and handing them the case against Sobotka (Chris Bauer). The FBI decides to pursue a RICO case against the union, but also assists the detail's efforts to nab the smugglers. This isn't good enough for Valchek, who chews out Daniels for turning against him, and tries to pull Prez (Jim True-Frost) from the unit. Prez doesn't go quietly. At the towers, Bodie (J.D. Williams) has new product, and business is booming, but then Stringer (Idris Elba) shows up to tell his crew that they're to allow dealers from the East Side, including Cheese (Method Man), access to their turf. The rivalry is held in check by Stringer's orders, until Avon's enforcer from New York, Brother Mouzone (Michael Potts), shows up. Mouzone is not to be messed with, but Proposition Joe knows one guy who might be able to deal with him. Ziggy (James Ransone) loses it completely when he's underpaid for a shipment of stolen cars. He arranges a meeting between Stringer and Omar (Michael K. Williams). The Greek's (Bill Raymond) FBI contact, Agent Koutris (Tom Mardirosian), soon learns about the wiretaps, and shares that information. The Greek orders all operations shut down, and when the cops find this out through an intercepted text message, they race to get their paperwork in order for a raid before all the evidence is cleaned up.

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The Wire: Season 2 Photos

Tv Season Info

A complex crime drama set in Baltimore, Maryland, that follows the thread of a single police investigation, from the perspectives of both law-enforcement officials and the criminals they're pursuing.

News & Interviews for The Wire: Season 2

Critic Reviews for The Wire Season 2

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (11)

Where many shows toss in character actors for flavor, The Wire features nothing but character actors -- humanity has rarely been shown in so many sizes, shapes, colors and varieties of lumpiness.

Oct 21, 2019 | Full Review…
NPR
Top Critic

The Wire doesn't receive the attention of other HBO dramas, but it should. It often surpasses them in the chances it takes and the stories it tells.

Oct 21, 2019 | Full Review…

The new arc doesn't have quite the same emotional resonance, the same undercurrent of tragedy, but it does vividly depict the lives of dockworkers who've been hit hard by the economic slump... It's also funnier than the first series.

Oct 18, 2019 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Just as I imagine lots of you were completely lost at this stage in season one, only to grow to understand and love it as you went, I suspect you're going to have a similar learning curve here.

Apr 23, 2018 | Full Review…

If neat and tidy McMysteries are your bag, there'll be around-the-clock repeats of Law & Order this summer. But if you're looking for new episodes of the best cop show on television, well, we won't say it. Enough is enough, right?

Oct 21, 2019 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Television rarely dares to be this deep or wise, particularly when telling stories about folks who are essentially dispossessed.

Oct 21, 2019 | Full Review…

The show moves methodically from one story line to another, progressing by inches yet holding our interest with its finely drawn characters and a rare ability to illuminate the gray areas of city life.

Oct 18, 2019 | Full Review…

It is fashionable to proclaim "The Wire" as riveting TV, but it seems so determined to bury viewers with details that at times it can be no more involving than working on a tug boat.

Oct 18, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Besides sometimes brutal action and well-turned human drama, there's room for humor in The Wire, too... Anyone who sticks with it will find it hard to go back to CSI or Law & Order reruns.

Oct 18, 2019 | Full Review…

I mean it's not the best. That'd be three. But it's not the worst. That'd be five. And that is still a really good series.

Jun 11, 2018 | Full Review…

In my mind season 2, while not the best of the lot, is certainly the most unique, and as a result it commands your attention.

May 22, 2018 | Full Review…

Season two is a devastating statement about several groups of people failed by this country's institutions.

May 22, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Wire: Season 2

  • Aug 09, 2020
    Even if the expansion of new sectors of Baltimore can look messy , the wire manages to bring us not just realism , social criticism and good performances but a real good lesson of how to create a gripping story
  • Jun 28, 2020
    It is an important part of 'The Wire'' puzzle.
  • Jun 25, 2020
    This is where The Wire begins to expose the intricacy of it's intentions now that it has your full undivided attention. The character pool extends with the introduction of a blue collar workforce, far more contingent to the average viewer than mettlesome cops and robbers. The industry side of the story is perhaps not as engaging as the criminal element consistent throughout the shows entirety, but the way these inner city compartments are tied together is.
  • May 27, 2020
    The first five episodes were a little slow, interesting but nothing very surprising happening, but like the first season, it keeps engrossing you as the season goes on. Season 2 of The Wire brings in new characters giving off a different vibe than its first season and could be a little confusing for some to keep up with the large amount of characters, but it sticks with its critical social and political commentary with this season focusing on the the poor treatment of industry workers. The season also has some great performances from the actors of the old characters and the new.
  • May 03, 2020
    When I first watched the Series 1 E 01 had no idea what this series headed for, no sooner till the 2nd series end, I was blown way by the brilliance of the ambience of the whole series.
  • Feb 17, 2020
    David Simon is a genius and The Wire is his magnum opus. The greatest TV show of all time, no question. Season 2 carries a depth very different from the rest of the show. The most exploratory season.
  • Dec 28, 2019
    It's a change of tune from Season 1, but its slow burn end up magnifying the ending, as you realize that this is the only logical step after a first season focused on the low profile drug dealers.
  • Dec 20, 2019
    This season is a slow burn. A commentary on the death of working class America whilst also setting up for a thrilling Season 3.
  • Aug 02, 2019
    I love love love this season. Ziggy, Frank, Nicky, the Greek, Prop Joe, it all ties together so beautiful I was literally sad that it ended. I've watched this season so many times and will again.
  • Jun 29, 2019
    Probably my favourite season, even though when I watched it first time round I didn't think much of it, expecting a direct follow-on from S1. But then I realised the show isn't just about the drug lords and their territories, but how drugs and political corruption affects ordinary people trying to make a crust on the streets of Baltimore. Absolutely outstanding in every conceivable way!

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