"Misgivings" is the tenth episode of the fourth season of The Wire. It is the forty-seventh episode of the series overall. It premiered on November 19, 2006. The episode was written by Ed Burns and directed by Ernest Dickerson.
The title refers to the feelings held by various characters in the episode. Marlo's misgiving about Little Kevin led to his murder. Bodie worries about the appropriateness of his new boss's actions. Doubts spread about Randy's character lead to bullying at school. Miss Sheperdson has misgivings about the appropriateness of the special class while many teachers feel the same way about her insistence upon teaching test questions. Marimow and Bubbles doubt Herc's integrity. Burrell worries about his job security while Daniels doubts the effectiveness of his new strategy. Wilson and Carcetti worry about trusting Davis.
- "World goin' one way, people another."
- ―Malik "Poot" Carr
State Senator Davis meets with Burrell and tries to reassure him that he is safe from Rawls's plans to unseat him now that Carcetti has won the election. Davis believes that Burrell’s race is his trump card but urges him to impress the mayor with police work. Burrell is at a loss for how to act on this suggestion.
Davis later meets with Carcetti and Norman Wilson. He brings up Burrell's precarious position and Wilson reveals that they hope that his supporters will be swayed if they attract a better candidate. Davis speculates that they will need assistance getting the pay raise they need approved and offers to provide this for a future favour. Wilson sees through Davis’ intentions and recognises a further con but is uncertain what his plan is.
Davis next convenes a meeting between City Council President Nerese Campbell and Ervin Burrell. Davis and Burrell attempt to convince her that Cedric Daniels is an unsuitable candidate for commissioner. Davis asks Campbell to withhold the full pay rise the mayor is requesting so that Burrell will have time to impress him and defame Daniels. Davis asks Campbell to provide half of what the mayor has asked and then immediately leaves the room to call Carcetti’s staff and advise that he has the salary bump the he asked for.
Donut cruises the Western District in a stolen car until he is spotted by Officer Walker. Donut tries to drive off and hits several cars as he veers around the streets. He manages to escape when Walker collides with another vehicle. Walker later tracks Donut down to his customary hangout and finds him with Kenard. Donut initially feigns ignorance but once he is cornered he attempts to run. Walker’s retribution for his earlier embarrassment is swift and brutal; he catches Donut and breaks several of his fingers.
Donut tells Namond, Michael and Kenard about his injury as they work on their corner. Sergeant Carver makes an efficient raid on the corner and arrests Namond when he finds narcotics. Namond is unable to contact his mother because she is out of town and Carver explains that he will have to spend the night in juvenile booking. Namond is terrified at this prospect and Carver begins to show some sympathy. Carver allows Namond to sleep on a bench in the office.
Lieutenant Mello hosts the roll call briefing. He asks for progress on a recent spate of church burglaries. Officer McNulty suggests that he liaise with Officer Baker as they are involving two separate burglaries. Mello introduces the idea of making arrests for quality of life violations so the arrest statistics will improve and tells his men that the order comes straight from the commissioner. Officers such as McNulty and Santangelo are against the idea of arresting people for open container violations along with Mello who claims they need to do so anyway.
Officer Colicchio takes to the new orders with relish outside of a local bar with other officers. Officer McNulty appears ready for back up but refuses to participate in the ticketing process. McNulty sarcastically notices Officer Baker's "first class police work" in ticketing a car. When Baker explains he is following orders, McNulty states that as patrolmen, they are entitled to the "one true dictatorship" in America choosing how to spend their shift. He then shows the paperwork suggesting to Baker that his time would be better spent on the church burglaries. He explains a pattern that he has noticed in the incident reports and Baker agrees to follow up on the lead with him. As they are talking, a riot is brewing that Baker fears is getting out of hand that McNulty claims will lead to what the department wants.
After roll call Carver tells Namond he must find somewhere else to stay. He begs Carver to call his teacher, Mr. Colvin. Colvin suggests sending Namond to juvenile booking but with some encouragement he agrees to call his wife to check if Namond can stay with them. At the Colvin household Namond is polite and charming. Namond catches Colvin’s nickname and Colvin intimidates him into not mentioning it. Colvin returns Namond to his mother the following day and she rebukes his kindness and berates Namond for being afraid to go to juvenile booking.
At the end of the shift McNulty and Baker bring in a pair of suspects. The desk sergeant initially tells them to send the suspects in line with all the other detainees until hearing that they are responsible for the church burglaries. The sergeant is then relieved that some "real criminals" are actually left in Baltimore as the police station is filled with people arrested for minor infractions. McNulty later goes to dinner with Bunk and their sons. Elena McNulty arrives to pick up the boys and is impressed to find that they have done their homework and more so when she sees McNulty turn down a drink. She expresses regret at their marriage ending now that McNulty is finally growing up.
Mello takes his concerns about the new strategy to Cedric Daniels reluctant to execute the arrest hikes ordered to them by Commissioner Burrell. After hearing that neighborhood people are being locked up in what appears to be an unnecessary arrest hike to serve Burrell, Daniels agrees that it more of the same from command. Daniels goes straight to Mayor Carcetti and presents the information as indicative of Commissioner Burrell’s new initiative to influence arrest statistics. Carcetti is outraged as this is the opposite of his hopes for the police department. He questions Daniels reasons for bypassing Deputy Commissioner Rawls and Daniels explains that it is a test of Carcetti’s commitment to change in the police department. He explains that if Rawls had already told Carcetti about Burrell’s actions and Carcetti had not acted then he would know that Carcetti was not committed. Daniels however believes Rawls has not reported it to Carcetti and is either content with Burrell's strategy or waiting for Carcetti to fire him due to insubordination. Carcetti reminds Daniels that he already has his word and then thanks him for going outside the chain of command. Daniels warns him that he will not make a habit of it.
Bodie and Poot discuss the change in the weather and remark that they are getting old. Little Kevin returns after several days absence and explains that he was taken in by the police for questioning about the murder of Lex. His friends urge him to go straight to Marlo Stanfield and explain what happened so there is no doubt about his actions.
Little Kevin does as they suggest and faces hostility from Marlo and Chris Partlow when they learn that instead of organizing a meeting with Lex himself he passed the task on to Randy Wagstaff. Marlo nods to Monk and as Little Kevin is told to leave they bundle him into the back of an SUV. Chris asks Marlo about Randy and he states that Randy is in no position to hurt them. Snoop reminds Marlo that Randy is likely an informant and he suggests that they spread the rumour around. As Kevin is being driven away Slim Charles arrives.
Omar Little and Renaldo observe Marlo as he conducts his operation from the courtyard. Omar recognises Slim Charles from his time with the Barksdale Organization and remarks that the association does not add up.
Michael Lee shows Snoop and Chris his step father when he is buying drugs. Snoop asks Michael why he wants him killed but he declines to explain further. Chris has more insight into the reason and agrees to do as Michael asks.
Slim visits Poot and Bodie and welcomes Poot home. Slim asks how Bodie is getting along with Marlo. Slim tells Bodie that Marlo has had Kevin killed. Omar tails Slim back to his home and the monotony of the task begins to annoy Renaldo.
Bodie and Poot discuss Marlo’s actions. Bodie is angry that Marlo killed Kevin without proof that he was working with the police. Poot draws a parallel with their own murder of Wallace on Stringer Bell’s orders. Bodie argues that Marlo is more ruthless than Stringer and Poot tells Bodie that while the world is getting hotter the people are becoming colder.
At the Lee household Michael tells his mother that Bug’s father will not be returning. Chris and Snoop accost the man on his way home and accuse him of sexually assaulting the boys. Chris beats him to a bloody pulp and for once even Snoop is dismayed, although only because the murder took place outside of the house. Back at home Michael calmly readies himself for sleep. The way Chris took after Bug's father gave viewers a first glimpse into Chris' past, previously he had not placed too much emotional attachment in the murders however his willingness to kill Bug's father and the ferociousness with which he went about it after presuming that he had been sexually assaulting the children gave a potential indication of Chris' upbringing.
Roland Prez" Pryzbylewski mentions the sudden increase in the temperature of his room to his colleague Grace Sampson. Sampson explains that at this time of year the school switches to longer classes for exam preparation and that by increasing the temperature the kids are drowsy and less disruptive.
In the special class Miss Duquette co-ordinates a role playing exercise with Kwame and Darnell Tyson pretending to be at a restaurant. Colvin is called away by Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly and Dr. Parenti. She has bad news – despite the class being especially aimed at socialising disruptive students they still have to follow the education boards missive that they teach to the upcoming test. She also imparts that the school board require a meeting with them.
At the meeting Parenti and Colvin discuss the pupils recent visit to a restaurant with Miss. Sheperdson from the school board. She is insistent that they will teach the test. Parenti is enraged that Sheperdson is undermining the programs efforts when they clearly stated their aims at the outset. Colvin tries to explain the futility of insisting that the children in their class are treated like every other student. Sheperdson is sceptical about excluding these children from standard practices.
The following day Prez is observed by Sheperdson as he teaches test questions. As soon as she leaves the class he returns to his normal lesson plan. Randy Wagstaff faces bullying in the corridors and the cold shoulder from his friend Karim Williams in class. Michael offers to play with him.
Sheperdson observes the special class with Principal Claudell Withers. A fight breaks out between Zenobia Dawson and Chandra as the class performs another roleplaying exercise. Miss Mason is knocked over in the ensuing brawl. Sheperdson is dismayed and this is compounded when Withers admits that this is the first time he has observed the class.
Sheperdson discusses the program with the teachers afterwards. Sheperdson’s cynicism is obvious. Donnelly gives her support and Colvin, Duquette and Parenti are passionate about continuing but Mason is not optimistic about the effects of the program.
Thomas "Herc" Hauk visits Bubbles and tries to enlist his help in retrieving the missing camera. Bubbles is outraged that Herc is asking him for further favours when he failed to deliver on his last promise. Bubbles again asks for help with the drug addict who has been robbing him and Herc offers further promises. Herc provides Bubbles with a phone and some money and instructs him to call as soon as he sees his tormentor.
Herc discusses his problem with Officer Kenneth Dozerman and Detective Leander Sydnor. Sydnor urges Herc to go straight to the lieutenant before the situation gets further out of control. Herc is worried about Lieutenant Marimow’s reaction.
Herc tries to confess to Marimow and is faced with hostility. Bubbles spots his antagonist and attempts to phone during the meeting but Herc ignores his calls. Marimow threatens Herc with an internal investigations division case and Herc is intimidated into withholding the information about the camera.
Bubbles plans revenge for Herc’s continuous promise breaking and calls in a fake drug resupply in progress giving Herc the number plate PR8ZGOD of minister. Herc jumps on the opportunity and organizes a traffic stop. Herc is aggressive towards the minister on the traffic stop and throws him, and his possessions, on the sidewalk as he searches his car.
- Little Kevin: Off-screen murder for suspected involvement with the police.
- Devar Manigault: Beaten to death by Chris.
- McNulty's son mentions wanting to be a rockstar; Dominic West appeared in a film of that name.