|"Time After Time"
|The Wire episode
|Original air date
|September 19, 2004
"Time After Time" is the first episode of the third season of the HBO original series The Wire . The episode was written by David Simon from a story by David Simon & Ed Burns and was directed by Ed Bianchi. It originally aired on September 19, 2004.
Detectives Jimmy McNulty and Leander Sydnor monitor drug lieutenant Melvin "Cheese" Wagstaff. At the Major Case Unit, Lester Freamon, Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski and new member Caroline Massey monitor a wiretap. Sydnor observes that Cheese does not use a phone, instead conducting his business face-to-face and receiving phone messages through his subordinate. After being relieved by Freamon and Kima Greggs, McNulty is told by ASA Rhonda Pearlman and Lieutenant Cedric Daniels that they are considering the abandonment of the wire. McNulty, believing the wire will eventually reach Proposition Joe and Stringer Bell, heatedly asserts that Bell is their target and that all other objectives are secondary. Daniels insists they need a break in the case to justify continued use of the wiretaps.
McNulty, Greggs and Freamon observe a dealer named Drac, who is far less discreet on the phone than Cheese's crew. Freamon states that Drac is supplied by Lavelle Mann, one of Joe's soldiers; Sydnor has been developing a connection with Mann through undercover work for some time. They plan to arrest Mann in the hope that Drac, Joe's nephew, will be promoted and give them more information on the organization through his careless talk on the wire. Daniels takes the plan to Acting Commissioner Ervin Burrell, who is reluctant to fund more wiretaps. Burrell later reports to Daniels that Mayor Clarence Royce is now holding up the proposal to promote Daniels to the position of Major because Daniels' wife Marla is set to challenge one of the mayor's allies in an upcoming election. Burrell tells Daniels that the mayor will not make him a commander until he knows where Marla stands politically.
McNulty goes to an Orioles game with his old partner Bunk Moreland. He meets his estranged wife Elena to take his children for the second half. Despite it being his day off, Bunk is forced to leave the game early when he is called to work a murder scene. The following day, Daniels marshals his men for the hand-to-hand on Mann. Once out in the field, Greggs and McNulty make a clean arrest and Sydnor maintains his cover. Drac immediately starts talking about a possible promotion on the wire. Unfortunately for the detail, the promotion goes to Cheese instead. After McNulty and Daniels argue over the future of the case, Freamon chastises McNulty for his confrontational attitude and self-absorption. At midnight, Prez finds McNulty reviewing old files from the Barksdale investigation. As Massey leaves, McNulty explains his research to her as a way to avoid making the same mistakes again.
In the Western District, Sergeant Ellis Carver marshals his new squad and plans a sting on a corner drug dealing operation. He and Thomas "Herc" Hauk eventually chase down a runner named Tyrell. Elsewhere, Major Howard "Bunny" Colvin greets two new officers to his district, Aaron Castor and Brian Baker. When Carver and Herc bring Tyrell in with no evidence for a drug charge, Colvin criticizes their use of resources. Later, as he prepares to patrol the Western, he is disappointed to see that Carver's squad has brought in more street dealers on loitering charges with no leads into their distributors. Colvin further sees the urban decay blighting the neighborhood thanks to rampant crime. He is even more disgusted when a young drug dealer, Justin, approaches him despite his being in uniform.
Bodie Broadus, Poot Carr and Puddin reminisce about the Barksdale towers, which are being demolished. Bell chairs a meeting to discuss the Barksdales' new direction now that their main territory is lost; Bodie suggests that they take new territory by force. Bell instead suggests that they supply other dealers with their product rather than battle over territory, urging his subordinates to think like businessmen. Meanwhile, in prison, Wee-Bey Brice talks to former Barksdale soldier Dennis "Cutty" Wise, who is about to be paroled. Avon Barksdale asks Cutty for help securing new territory and gives him a number to call when he is released. Once outside, Cutty arranges a meeting with Shamrock and is given directions to a package of narcotics. Cutty observes one of Marlo Stanfield's crews and strikes a deal with the leader, Fruit, to work the package for a share of the profit. When Cutty returns later that night, Fruit tells him his stash was confiscated by police and drives him away with a gun.
Bubbles and Johnny lose control of their cart, which crashes into the car of Marlo's driver. He takes their trousers as punishment. After buying new pants, they are unable to afford drugs for the both of them. Elsewhere, Royce delivers a speech at the demolition ceremony for the towers. Councilman Tommy Carcetti grills Burrell and Deputy Commissioner William Rawls about increased violent crime in East Baltimore during a review meeting. Over lunch, Burrell declines an offer by Carcetti to help him if Royce shorts him on funding. He meets with Royce and his chief of staff, Coleman Parker, who speculates Carcetti is preparing to run for mayor. Royce dismisses Carcetti's chances of winning in a majority-black city, but Parker is concerned he could use rising crime figures to his advantage. Royce and Parker pressure Burrell to have the Baltimore Police reduce violent crime citywide by 5% in each district and keep murders under 275 for the year.
At the next ComStat meeting, Burrell tells his men to cut the felony rate by Royce's figures. Colonel Raymond Foerster, now in charge of the CID, is dismayed at the directive. Colvin realizes how the commanders have been encouraged to water down their figures and questions how they could "juke the stats" with murder victims. Burrell threatens to replace commanders who fail to deliver the figures he wants. Later, Daniels attends a meeting at his home with State Delegate Odell Watkins and Marla's other political contacts. Once they have left, Marla thanks him and he returns to sleep at the office.
Aidan Gillen, Robert Wisdom, Seth Gilliam, Domenick Lombardozzi, Jim True-Frost, Corey Parker Robinson, J. D. Williams, and Michael K. Williams are all new additions to the opening credits this season. Aidan Gillen is new to the series while the other actors have all previously appeared as guest stars. Robert Wisdom first appeared as Howard "Bunny" Colvin in a guest starring role in the second season episode "Stray Rounds". Corey Parker Robinson had a recurring role as Leander Sydnor in the first season but did not appear in the second season. Jim True-Frost (Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski), Seth Gilliam (Ellis Carver), Domenick Lombardozzi (Thomas "Herc" Hauk), J. D. Williams and Michael K. Williams all had significant recurring roles in the first two seasons. Although credited, Michael K. Williams does not appear in this episode.
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