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The Best Episodes of The Wire

Every episode of The Wire ranked from best to worst. Let's dive into the Best Episodes of The Wire!

Told from the points of view of both the Baltimore homicide and narcotics detectives and their targets, the series captures a universe in which the national war on drugs has become a permanent, self-sustaining bureaucracy, and distinctions between good and evil are routinely obliterated.


Top Episode Highlight

The best episode of "The Wire" is "Middle Ground", rated 9.6/10 from 7039 user votes. It was directed by Joe Chappelle and written by George Pelecanos. "Middle Ground" aired on 12/12/2004 and is rated 0.0 point(s) higher than the second highest rated, "-30-".

  • Middle Ground
    9.6/10 7,039 votes

    #1 - Middle Ground

    Season 3 Episode 11 - Aired 2004-12-12

    "We don't need to dream no more." -- Stringer Bell The wire begins to yield information about the Barksdale organization, though finding links to the top proves elusive. Stringer and Avon reflect on how far they've come, with each harboring plans for the future. Tipped by Burrell, Carcetti sees Amsterdam for himself and weighs the benefits against the political reality.

    Director: Joe Chappelle

    Writer: George Pelecanos

  • -30-
    9.6/10 6,777 votes

    #2 - -30-

    Season 5 Episode 10 - Aired 2008-03-09

    "...the life of kings." - H.L. Mencken A damaging report by Pearlman and Daniels gets a reaction from Carcetti, while Haynes finds little support for his concerns about a reporters work from the bosses. Meanwhile, McNulty wants to put a homeless case to an end, Dukie searches for an old mentor and a fallen officer is given a wake.

    Director: Clark Johnson

    Writer: Ed Burns, David Simon

  • Final Grades
    9.5/10 6,037 votes

    #3 - Final Grades

    Season 4 Episode 13 - Aired 2006-12-10

    "If animal trapped call 410-844-6286" - Baltimore, traditional Burrell tries to help Daniels. Bubbles' big plan backfires and leaves him in big trouble. Colvin tries to find a solution for Namond while Omar makes new plans. McNulty tries to pay back his debt.

    Director: Ernest R. Dickerson

    Writer: David Simon

  • Mission Accomplished
    9.3/10 5,218 votes

    #4 - Mission Accomplished

    Season 3 Episode 12 - Aired 2004-12-19

    "...we fight on the lie." -- Slim Charles In the Season Three finale, a reticent Avon readies his troops for a war against Marlo. Meanwhile, as the detail works towards the top rungs of the Barksdale organization, McNulty reassesses his pursuit of Stringer Bell and the path he's chosen for himself. While Royce continues to grapple with Amsterdam, Burrell offers a deal to minimize the fallout.

    Director: Ernest R. Dickerson

    Writer: David Simon

  • That's Got His Own
    9.3/10 4,807 votes

    #5 - That's Got His Own

    Season 4 Episode 12 - Aired 2006-12-03

    "That all there is to it?" - Bubbles While searching for the missing bodies, Freamon goes around the chain of command after being rebuked by Landsman. Carcetti finds that his promises of raises could be undermined by the school debt, forcing him to consider groveling before the Governor for money to pay it off. Colvin tries to keep his experimental class funded. Bubbles considers taking extreme measures to get rid of the man who continues to steal from him. Prez is concerned about Dukie's academic promotion. Omar orchestrates another big sting while Namond and Cutty get a first-hand taste of the "new" Michael. Carver's promise to look out for Randy ends up looking empty.

    Director: Joe Chappelle

    Writer: George Pelecanos

  • Late Editions
    9.3/10 4,706 votes

    #6 - Late Editions

    Season 5 Episode 9 - Aired 2008-03-02

    "Deserve got nuthin' to do with it." - Snoop A promising lead makes Freamon's hard work worthwhile, although McNulty doesn't feel like a celebration. Michael is suspicious about his latest assignment;.Haynes gets fresh eyes to help with fact-checking. Namond's debating skills make Colvin proud. Davis points a finger at Levy and the courts. And Bubbles recounts a recent temptation overcome.

    Director: Joe Chappelle

    Writer: David Simon, George Pelecanos

  • The Cost
    9.2/10 6,277 votes

    #7 - The Cost

    Season 1 Episode 10 - Aired 2002-08-11

    "And then he dropped the bracelets..." - Greggs. With Wallace in custody, McNulty and Daniels try to figure out what to do with him in the months before he testifies. Sydnor and Carver track down one of Barksdale's stash houses, and Prez shows off his 'gift for the paper trail.' McNulty's estranged wife Elena takes desperate measures after learning that he had their kids follow Stringer Bell.

    Director: Brad Anderson

    Writer: David Simon

  • Cleaning Up
    9.1/10 5,889 votes

    #8 - Cleaning Up

    Season 1 Episode 12 - Aired 2002-09-01

    "This is me, yo, right here." - Wallace. The low-rise pay phones are out of service, so McNulty and Daniels try to keep pace by tapping Barksdale's office. Bodie gets new responsibilities from Stringer; Freamon gives Shardene a 'new look'; and D'Angelo goes to NYC on an errand for his uncle. With the detail's future hanging in the balance, Daniels faces off against Burrell and his political allies.

    Director: Clement Virgo

    Writer: George Pelecanos

  • Bad Dreams
    9.1/10 5,435 votes

    #9 - Bad Dreams

    Season 2 Episode 11 - Aired 2003-08-17

    'I need to get clean' -- Sobotka With the clock ticking, the Detail makes a desperate move, and Daniels reams out Landsman for dropping the ball. Nick's deceit is in the open as Sobotka is overwhelmed by bad news. The Greeks ease out of an encounter with the Detail, and Omar's suspicions are validated. The Detail hopes to find Vondas's boss, and Nick hopes to repair relations with the Greeks.

    Director: Ernest R. Dickerson

    Writer: George Pelecanos

  • Sentencing
    9.0/10 5,732 votes

    #10 - Sentencing

    Season 1 Episode 13 - Aired 2002-09-08

    "all in the game..." - Traditional West Baltimore. Every crew has weak links--including Avon Barksdale's. With the heat turned up in the high-rises, Daniels and McNulty turn to a higher authority in an effort to crack the case wide open. Season finale.

    Director: Tim Van Patten

    Writer: Ed Burns, David Simon

  • Storm Warnings
    9.0/10 4,926 votes

    #11 - Storm Warnings

    Season 2 Episode 10 - Aired 2003-08-10

    'It pays to go with the union card every time.' -- Ziggy The Detail uses satellite technology to its advantage. Bodie is unhappy that Proposition Joe's people are slinging on his turf, but business flows--until a new face arrives. Stringer Bell looks to an unlikely solution to the problem. Valcheck visits the FBI in an attempt to get real results on the docks. Ziggy's deal with Double-G goes bad in a big way.

    Director: Rob Bailey

    Writer: Ed Burns, David Simon

  • Port in a Storm
    9.0/10 5,074 votes

    #12 - Port in a Storm

    Season 2 Episode 12 - Aired 2003-08-24

    'Business. Always business.' -- The Greek The Detail has a setback, while Russell and Bunk revisit Philly to look for evidence. Brother Mouzone talks with Stringer Bell about their agreement, leaving Bell to contend with a dissatisfied Avon Barksdale. Bubbles and Johnny pull another caper and McNulty and Greggs return to the Westside, where they discover new connections.

    Director: Robert F. Colesberry

    Writer: David Simon

  • Moral Midgetry
    8.9/10 4,478 votes

    #13 - Moral Midgetry

    Season 3 Episode 8 - Aired 2004-11-14

    "Crawl, walk, and then run." -- Clay Davis With Amsterdam running full-tilt, Carver and Truck discover there really is no honor among thieves. Prez impresses the detail with what he's found out from Bodie's cell phone, information that sends McNulty and Greggs on a road trip. Colvin sees the benefits of his plan working but has overlooked the human toll, until the Deacon points out the deficiencies.

    Director: Agnieszka Holland

    Writer: Richard Price

  • A New Day
    8.9/10 4,162 votes

    #14 - A New Day

    Season 4 Episode 11 - Aired 2006-11-26

    "You play in dirt, you get dirty." - McNulty Randy has trouble with his friends at school, while Carcetti faces a huge dilemma. Meanwhile, Omar visits Proposition Joe, while Freamon reveals a secret.

    Director: Brad Anderson

    Writer: Ed Burns

  • Clarifications
    8.9/10 4,201 votes

    #15 - Clarifications

    Season 5 Episode 8 - Aired 2008-02-24

    "A lie ain't a side of a story. It's just a lie." - Terry Hanning A shift in the police department sends Carver to a new location. Meanwhile, Carcetti is forced to put his political future in jeopardy, Haynes digs deeper into Templeton's work, and an important case has a breakthrough by Sydnor, while Fletcher continues working with Bubbles.

    Director: Anthony Hemingway

    Writer: Dennis Lehane, David Simon

  • The Hunt
    8.8/10 5,406 votes

    #16 - The Hunt

    Season 1 Episode 11 - Aired 2002-08-18

    "Dope on the damn table." - Daniels. The police turn up the heat on tracking down Savino, Wee-Bey and Little Man. Burrell orders Daniels to hit drug dealers for results that will impress the press. Barksdale sees his ranks thinning after the hit on Orlando. Bubbles tries to stay sober while scoping out the projects for McNulty; and Freamon determines there's a rat in the detail.

    Director: Steve Shill

    Writer: Joy Lusco

  • All Prologue
    8.8/10 4,967 votes

    #17 - All Prologue

    Season 2 Episode 6 - Aired 2003-07-06

    'It don't matter that some fool say he different...' -- D'Angelo Trying to let go of police work and return to his marriage, McNulty gives up on identifying his Jane Doe. In their investigation of Sobotka, the detectives discover a pattern in the computer and explain the connection to Daniels, but he still won't take the murders. Sobotka tries to play the political game on behalf of his union.

    Director: Steve Shill

    Writer: David Simon

  • Misgivings
    8.8/10 4,038 votes

    #18 - Misgivings

    Season 4 Episode 10 - Aired 2006-11-19

    "World goin' one way, people another." -Poot Walker catches Donut boosting cars and teaches him a lesson; Commissioner Burrell gets advice from Senator Davis; Little Kevin has a talk with Marlo and regrets it; Herc ignores Bubbles call and regrets it; the Area Superintendent questions the success of Colvin and Parenti's project class; Senator Davis attempts to con Carcetti; Carver arrests Namond but keeps him out of baby booking; Burrell has the police force juke the numbers with street sweeps; Marlo puts the word out that Randy is a snitch; Elena sees McNulty as a grown up; Chris Partlow and Snoop target Bug's father for Michael.

    Director: Ernest R. Dickerson

    Writer: Ed Burns, Eric Overmyer

  • Transitions
    8.8/10 3,935 votes

    #19 - Transitions

    Season 5 Episode 4 - Aired 2008-01-27

    "Buyer's market out there." - Templeton Omar plots his revenge for his former associates murder now that he's returned from exile. Gus stresses the need for a city-court reporter, after missing out on a grand jury probe. Carcetti finds there are strings attached in his desire to get rid of Burrell. While McNulty investigates the deaths of homeless men, Freamon needs the help of an old friend. Also, Marlo looks to the future in his dealings with the Greeks.

    Director: Daniel Attias

    Writer: Ed Burns

  • Game Day
    8.7/10 5,445 votes

    #20 - Game Day

    Season 1 Episode 9 - Aired 2002-08-04

    "Maybe we won." - Herc. Barksdale plays an expensive game of one-upmanship with an east-side rival. Meanwhile, Herc and Carver take some cash off of Wee-Bey's hands, and Omar resurfaces with a bang.

    Director: Milcho Manchevski

    Writer: Shamit Choksey, David H. Melnick

  • Slapstick
    8.7/10 4,161 votes

    #21 - Slapstick

    Season 3 Episode 9 - Aired 2004-11-21

    "...while you're waiting for moments that never come." -- Freamon Responding to an officer's call for help, McNulty and Prez turn down the wrong alley, with unanticipated results. A Barksdale crew violates the unspoken Sunday truce with gunplay, increasing discontent among the New Day Co-op members. Stymied in his effort to open a gym, Cutty is surprised to find help from within Baltimore's power structure.

    Director: Alex Zakrzewski

    Writer: David Simon

  • Reformation
    8.7/10 4,152 votes

    #22 - Reformation

    Season 3 Episode 10 - Aired 2004-11-28

    "Call it a crisis of leadership." -- Proposition Joe Brother Mouzone returns to Baltimore on a mission of revenge and casts a wide net in his search for Omar, who has his own plan. Colvin manages, for now, to put off a 'Sun' reporter inquiring about Amsterdam. Carver learns how much he doesn't know about good policing, while Pearlman and Daniels plead their case for a new kind of wiretap to Judge Phelan.

    Director: Ed Bianchi, Christine Moore

    Writer: Ed Burns

  • Margin of Error
    8.7/10 4,009 votes

    #23 - Margin of Error

    Season 4 Episode 6 - Aired 2006-10-15

    Carcetti responds to a campaign smear. Randy is accused of a serious transgression. Colvin's special class gets its first enlistees.

    Director: Daniel Attias

    Writer: Eric Overmyer

  • Homecoming
    8.6/10 4,127 votes

    #24 - Homecoming

    Season 3 Episode 6 - Aired 2004-10-31

    "Just a gangster, I suppose." -- Avon Barksdale Stringer Bell gets an education in construction management; Bunk uses shoe-leather to catch up with Omar and deliver a searing message; a frustrated Colvin unleashes the troops on the corner boys, ignoring his new edict; Avon sends Cutty and Slim Charles against Marlo; Bubbles refocuses the picture for Greggs.

    Director: Leslie Libman

    Writer: Rafael Alvarez, David Simon

  • Home Rooms
    8.6/10 3,965 votes

    #25 - Home Rooms

    Season 4 Episode 3 - Aired 2006-09-24

    "I love the first day, man. Everybody all friendly an' shit." - Namond Brice Prez is shocked by his students; Royce strikes back against Carcetti; Rawls begins to gut the major case unit from the inside; Colvin embarks on a new career.

    Director: Seith Mann

    Writer: Richard Price