Daniel Phelan is a Baltimore circuit court judge instrumental in the creation and maintenance of the initial investigation into the Barksdale organisation.


Season 1

Judge Phelan is a friend of Detective McNulty's who presided over the D'Angelo Barksdale murder trial, watching the jury gave a not guilty verdict when a witness changed her statement. After he learned the witness was paid off (and possibly intimidated), and that D'Angelo was part of a much larger drug dealing operation, Phelan insisted that Police Deputy Commissioner Ervin Burrell set up a detail to investigate. When Phelan speaks to the press about the murder of another witness from the trial, McNulty felt that Phelan had gone behind his back and their relationship was soured for a time.

Over the course of the investigation, he was always willing to sign court documents authorizing wiretaps. When Phelan realized his actions had cost him political capital, his passion for the case waned. Assistant States Attorney Rhonda Pearlman used Phelan's obvious attraction to her to keep him interested on the case.

Season 2

Phelan presided over the trial of Marquis "Bird" Hilton for the murder of Gant, during which he was amused by Omar Little's testimony, and pleased to give Bird a strict sentence.

Season 3

Phelan reconciled with McNulty when the judge authorized a wiretap on Russell "Stringer" Bell's cell phone. Notably Phelan authorized wiretaps on brand new burner cell phones that will later be sold to members of the Barksdale organization. It's mentioned that this is a legal maneuver without precedence, but Phelan authorizes it anyway with the comment "Let the court of appeals sort it out".

Season 5



Season 1
"The Target" "The Detail" "The Buys" "Old Cases" "The Pager"
The Wire" "One Arrest" "Lessons" "Game Day" "The Cost"
"The Hunt" "Cleaning Up" "Sentencing"
Season 2
"Ebb Tide" "Collateral Damage" "Hot Shots" "Hard Cases" "Undertow"
"All Prologue" * "Backwash" "Duck and Cover" "Stray Rounds" "Storm Warnings"
"Bad Dreams" "Port in a Storm"
Season 3
"Time after Time" "All Due Respect" "Dead Soldiers" "Amsterdam" "Straight and True"
"Homecoming" "Back Burners" "Moral Midgetry" "Slapstick" "Reformation"
"Middle Ground" "Mission Accomplished"
Season 5
"More with Less" "Unconfirmed Reports" "Not for Attribution" "Transitions" "React Quotes"
"The Dickensian Aspect" "Took" "Clarifications" "Late Editions" "-30-"

*Uncredited appearance.


  • Gerety had a previous starring role on Homicide: Life on the Street.
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