"All Prologue" is the sixth episode of the second season of The Wire. It premiered on July 6, 2003. The episode was written by David Simon and directed by Steve Shill.

Guest Starring rolesEdit

Despite being credited, John Doman and Deirdre Lovejoy do not appear in this episode.

Episode recapEdit

Gant trialEdit

Omar Little solves a crossword clue for the bailiff as he awaits his appearance in court. When he is called, he answers honestly about his profession as ASA Ilene Nathan questions him. Omar is quick to identify Marquis "Bird" Hilton, stating that they served prison time together. Bird's attorney Maurice Levy objects to the reference to Bird's previous convictions and it is stricken from the record. Omar identifies Bird's weapon and insults Bird, saying he was too stupid to dispose of it. Bird flies into a rage and has to be restrained as Judge Phelan calls for order. As they observe the trial, Stringer Bell tells Jimmy McNulty that word on the street is that Omar was nowhere near the crime scene; McNulty reminds Stringer that the word on the street is not worth anything in a court of law.

Levy cross-examines Omar and asks if his testimony is part of a deal with the police. Levy reads Omar's arrest record, including a charge for attempted murder. Omar explains away the charge, saying that he shot a drug dealer like Mike Mike in the "hind parts", drawing an amused reaction from the jury. Levy is incredulous about Omar's career and characterises him as a violent criminal. Levy asserts that Omar would have killed Gant himself if he needed to, describing Omar as a parasite living off of the drug culture. Omar jumps upon this comment and compares himself to Levy – both live off of the drug trade, Omar through his shotgun and Levy through his briefcase. The courtroom reacts in shock; Nathan and Judge Phelan are both thrilled with Omar's performance under cross-examination.

When the jury returns a guilty verdict, Judge Phelan shows little mercy for Bird and quickly moves through pre-sentencing claiming that Bird will serve life without parole unless evidence is presented proving Bird is Jesus Christ come back to earth. After the trial, Nathan gives Omar her card and offers him a "get out of jail free" pass on any charge up to aggravated assault. On his way out of the courthouse, Bird threatens Omar's life.

Sobotka detailEdit

Lieutenant Cedric Daniels reviews the information that his detail has gathered so far. Lester Freamon reports that Frank Sobotka lives within his means, while the union books show a decline in membership and difficulty meeting their debts. Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski and Freamon describe a paper trail through campaign finance records linking the union to $70,000 dollars in contributions. Thomas "Herc" Hauk reports that they have had success making street level hand-to-hands but have established no ties so far between drug dealers and the union. Beadie Russell suggests that the union is making extra money by facilitating smuggling in and out of the port. Daniels introduces Russell and Bunk Moreland and explains their co-operation with the detail over their Jane Doe homicides. Daniels reassigns Kima Greggs and Prez to focus on the vice trade, and Freamon to work with Russell and Bunk looking at container movements. Herc asks Russell out on a date and she declines. Ellis Carver mocks Herc.

Greggs meets with Shardene Innes to ask for help tracking down Eastern European girls working in the vice trade. Shardene is now living with Freamon and attending nursing school. Later Greggs discusses her strip club assignment with Cheryl. Cheryl is jealous and angry that Greggs has returned to detective work, and insists on accompanying Greggs. Prez is also roped into visiting the clubs and seems uncomfortable, refusing to look directly at any of the strippers. Shardene's friend is only too willing to help, because her earnings are threatened by the imported girls. She tells the detectives that there is a madam who organizes the girls and that their pay is low, so they undercut local dancers. The girls are kept in a motel and driven back and forth to work and they are carefully guarded and prevented from becoming close with their customers. After visiting the club, Greggs takes Cheryl to the port and explains how the girls died.

Russell shows Bunk and Daniels how to use computers to track container movements. She warns them that it will require long hours of surveillance. The tedium of the surveillance work sends Bunk to the bar early. Bunk drinks with McNulty and tells him that he thinks Colonel William Rawls expects him to clear the cases or he will force him out of the unit. McNulty tears up the photo of the dead girl he has been carrying since he found her body, telling Bunk he is done pretending to be a detective and that he is going to make another go of things with Elena.

The next day, Russell and Freamon report their findings to Daniels while Bunk struggles through a terrible hangover. They have linked all of the missing containers to Thomas "Horseface" Pakusa. Daniels is still reluctant to fold the Jane Doe murders into his investigation despite the link through Horseface.


McNulty visits his wife's real estate business and amuses her by undressing the store mannequin while she talks to clients. He asks her to come to dinner with him; despite her initial reluctance, he talks her into it. While working on the marine unit McNulty continues to be troubled by the dead girl he pulled from the harbour.

At their dinner Elena parries McNulty's attempts to rekindle their relationship by propositioning him for sex. He accepts her offer, and they tenderly make love. The next morning, as McNulty relaxes and reads the paper, Elena asks him to leave before their sons see him and think the family is back together.

Barksdale tradeEdit

Stringer Bell delivers an envelope of cash to a contact from Washington D.C. He is there to organize a contract killing and insists that it must not be traceable to him.


D'Angelo Barksdale flushes his remaining drugs down his cell toilet. He attends a book group in the prison library and discusses F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. D’Angelo offers a sophisticated analysis of the novel asserting that a person can never escape his past, no matter what fronts he attempts to establish.

Brianna visits D'Angelo and tries to persuade him to use Avon's set-up of CO Tilghman to shave time from his sentence. He refuses, saying that Avon's actions were evil. He reminds his mother that she taught him to stand up for himself. He asks his mother to tell Stringer, Avon and Donette to leave him alone. D'Angelo passes Avon in the corridor and refuses to talk to him.

While working in the prison library, D'Angelo is assaulted and strangled to death with a belt by another inmate. The murderer positions the body so that it appears D’Angelo hanged himself from a door handle, and escapes undetected.

The GreeksEdit

Nick Sobotka meets with Spiros Vondas and his drug lieutenant Eton Ben-Eleazer to discuss the chemicals. Nick asks for help with Ziggy’s problems with Cheese. Vondas offers to kill Cheese and Nick says that he is not looking for a war and that Ziggy is in the wrong. Vondas calls Nick smart and Nick takes the opportunity to ask for muscle to talk to Cheese.

Nick accompanies Sergei "Serge" Malatov to a meeting with Cheese and is dismayed when Serge draws a firearm. Serge reports that he has negotiated with Cheese and that he will talk to Proposition Joe to compensate Ziggy Sobotka for Cheese destroying his car. Serge arranges a meeting with Proposition Joe at his electronic shop. When Serge vouches for Nick, Joe agrees to compensate Ziggy. Proposition Joe makes it clear that Ziggy and Nick would both be dead if not for their association with the Greeks. At the same time, Prop Joe is somewhat understanding of Nick's situation realizing that in many cases problematic family members such as Ziggy occur in almost every family including Joe's.

Nick delivers the chemicals to Eton and Vondas; they offer to pay him with drugs. Nick opts to take half the payment in cash and the rest in drugs. Nick refuses to let Ziggy get involved with the package after the trouble he caused with the last one. Their accomplice Johnny "Fifty" Spamanto is on hand to drive them home.

Union businessEdit

Frank Sobotka chairs a meeting with his union about their political aims. Nat Coxson is skeptical about the usefulness of dredging the pier and their chances of restarting the grain pier. Also in attendance are Horseface, Little Big Roy, Moonshot, Chess and Ott amongst others. Nat urges the checkers to start to contact their legislators. After the meeting Nat tells Frank that he knows he must be getting money from another source and warns him to be careful.

At Delores' bar Frank buys a round and Little Big Roy and Horseface tell stories. Nick arrives to give Ziggy his compensation. Ziggy immediately buys a round for the bar and burns some of the money. Frank leaves the bar, disgusted with Ziggy’s actions. Outside he asks Ziggy how he got the bruises, still visible from the beating Cheese gave him, Ziggy lies and says he fell over. He questions Ziggy about where he is getting money from. He tells Ziggy perhaps he should have gone to community college with his brother. Ziggy reminisces about his childhood.[1][2][3]



Writer Richard Price has a cameo as the prison book group tutor.

First appearancesEdit

  • Eton Ben-Eleazer: Israeli lieutenant in charge of The Greeks drug supply operation.

Title referenceEdit

The episode title refers to D'Angelo's comment that all of a persons life is an unchanging prologue to their current situation. It also underscores the divide between the first and second halves of the season, when consequences of actions come more sharply into focus.


"It don't matter that some fool say he different... - D'Angelo"
- {{{2}}}

D'Angelo makes this comment when discussing F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby and the theme of the individuals inability to escape their past, a sentiment that D'Angelo shares due to his inability to escape the life of a Barksdale. Just as Gatsby is murdered in the book, the same fate befalls D'Angelo in this episode.


Omar's nascent love of Greek mythology has some truth in real life; according to a passage The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood, a non-fiction novel written by David Simon and Ed Burns, children in Baltimore schools pay little attention to most classes and stories (as seen in the fourth season of The Wire), but are often interested by and appreciative of Greek mythology [4].



The episode drew an average of 4.11 million viewers and was the second most watched programme on cable television (after lead-in Sex and The City) for the week ending July 7, 2003.[5]


  1. Episode guide - episode 19 all prologue. HBO (2004). Retrieved on 2006-06-22.
  2. "All Prologue". David Simon, Ed Burns. The Wire. HBO. 2003-07-06. No. 06, season 2.
  3. Alvarez, Rafael (2004). The Wire: Truth Be Told. New York: Pocket Books. 
  4. The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood, p.283
  5. Cable Ratings Fill TBS With 'Congeniality'. Zap2It (2003). Retrieved on 2007-03-10.
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