The Wire Season 4 Episode 12 Recap: Unraveling the Intricacies Season Four In Episode 12

The perfect climax deserves an even better warm-up and the twelfth episode in season 4 of The Wire titled  “That’s Got His Own” delivers exactly that. Through the mastery and genius of  Joe Chapelle who was in charge of direction, the crew at The Wire delivered an episode that has become synonymous with perfection in the television sphere,

Imagine standing at the crossroads of Baltimore’s bustling streets, with the chessboard of the city laid out before you. Here, in Episode 12, the players make their final moves. We’ve got young Namond, whose journey treads the fine line between innocence and the harsh truths of street life. His story is a poignant reminder of the fragile balance between right and wrong, and the choices that define us.

Then there’s Randy, a kid whose life is a rollercoaster ride through the ups and downs of urban survival. His story in this episode is like watching a tightrope walker, where every step could be his last. Randy’s tale is one of resilience and struggle, a mirror to the city’s soul.

In the halls of power, Mayor Carcetti is like a juggler, trying to keep all his balls in the air while the spotlight’s on him. His political maneuvering in this episode is a dance on a razor’s edge, as he grapples with the weight of his office and the complexities of running a city that’s always one step away from chaos.

Let’s not forget Marlo, the dark prince of Baltimore’s drug scene. In Episode 12, Marlo’s ascent is both chilling and awe-inspiring. He moves through the city’s underworld like a shadow, leaving a trail of power and fear in his wake.

The season has been a rollercoaster and if you were following through from the very first episode then you know we are set for a top-tier pre-finale. On our The Wire Striped podcast, we have been keeping a keen eye on the season and we have discussed every episode including a tribute to the iconic Lance Reddick. If you have missed any of this, this is your cue to tune into The Wire Stripped podcast but first let us talk about episode 12.

Exploring the Major Events of Episode 12 in The Wire Season Four

Crucial Plot Developments and Character Arcs

Episode 12 of The Wire’s fourth season is a whirlwind of pivotal moments and character transformations, each contributing to the rich tapestry of the show’s narrative.

The Vacant Houses Case: Lester Freamon and Bunk’s Pursuit

One of the episode’s most gripping plotlines involves Lester Freamon and Bunk’s relentless pursuit of the case of the vacant houses. Their dogged investigation into the string of murders linked to these desolate spaces is akin to peeling back the layers of a dark, hidden world within Baltimore. Freamon, with his meticulous attention to detail, and Bunk, with his unwavering moral compass, delve into the depths of the city’s underbelly, uncovering truths that are as unsettling as they are necessary. This storyline isn’t just about solving crimes; it’s a deep dive into the heart of the city’s darkness.

Marlo’s Strategic Mastery with the Shipment

On the streets, Marlo Stanfield’s handling of the shipment showcases his rise as a strategic mastermind in the drug trade. His tactics go beyond mere power plays; they’re a chess match where every move is calculated for maximum impact. Marlo’s storyline is a testament to his cunning and ruthlessness, solidifying his position as a formidable figure in Baltimore’s criminal landscape.

Character Dynamics in the Political and Street Arenas

Mayor Carcetti, fresh in his role as the city’s leader, grapples with the weight of his new responsibilities. His journey is a delicate balancing act between political aspirations and the gritty realities of governing a city riddled with deep-seated issues. Watching Carcetti navigate this complex landscape is like observing a tightrope walker, where every step could tilt the balance of power.

In the Major Crimes Unit, Herc’s struggles are emblematic of the broader challenges within the police force. His journey through the season is a reflection of the internal conflicts and ethical dilemmas that plague officers in their line of duty.

Meanwhile, Omar Little, along with Renaldo, continues his crusade against the drug lords of Baltimore. Omar’s maneuvers are a blend of cunning, bravery, and a unique moral code that sets him apart from other players in the game. His actions in this episode are a gripping blend of strategy and street justice, further cementing his legacy as one of Baltimore’s most intriguing characters.

Highlighting the Episode’s Major Themes

Episode 12 of The Wire’s fourth season, penned by the talented George Pelecanos, not only delivers a compelling narrative but also delves deep into some profound themes that are central to the show’s ethos.

Baltimore’s Homicide Rate: A Grim Reality

One of the overarching themes of this episode is the alarming homicide rate in Baltimore. The episode doesn’t just present these statistics as mere numbers; it humanizes them, showing the real impact on the community. Through the lens of detectives like Lester Freamon and Bunk, we see the relentless efforts to solve these homicides amidst a backdrop of despair and frustration. This theme is a stark reminder of the city’s ongoing battle against violence and the toll it takes on its citizens.

Challenges in the Chain of Command

Another significant theme explored in this episode is the challenges faced by Cedric Daniels in the chain of command. As a character, Daniels is consistently torn between doing what’s right and navigating the complex politics of the police department. His struggle is symbolic of the broader issues within law enforcement agencies, where bureaucracy often impedes justice and efficiency. This aspect of the episode highlights the difficulties in enacting change within rigid systems.

Shaping the Overall Narrative

George Pelecanos’ writing in Episode 12 masterfully ties together the individual story arcs of the season, particularly focusing on characters like Dukie, Prez, and Cutty. Dukie’s story is a poignant portrayal of the struggles faced by the youth in impoverished neighborhoods, while Prez represents the potential for positive influence within the education system. Cutty’s journey, on the other hand, reflects the challenges of reformation and redemption.

These character narratives are woven into the broader themes of the episode, contributing to a powerful commentary on the social and institutional issues in Baltimore. The episode advances the plot and deepens our understanding of these complex characters and their place in the city’s tapestry.

Notable Character Arcs In “That’s Got His Own”

In Season 4, Episode 12 of “The Wire,” titled “That’s Got His Own,” several key characters including William Rawls, Thomas “Herc” Hauk, Sherrod, Howard “Bunny” Colvin, Proposition Joe, Jimmy McNulty, Felicia “Snoop” Pearson, and Kenard play significant roles that contribute to the intricate narrative of the series. Here’s a summary of their roles in this particular episode:

William Rawls: As Deputy Commissioner, Rawls continues his role in overseeing the administrative aspects of the Baltimore Police Department. His actions are typically aligned with maintaining the department’s image and dealing with the political implications of police work.

Thomas ‘Herc’ Hauk: In this episode, Herc faces the consequences of his actions from earlier in the season, particularly his mishandling of the situation with the surveillance camera and his interactions with Marlo Stanfield. His storyline highlights the challenges and pitfalls of police work.

Sherrod: Sherrod’s role in this episode is particularly tragic. As Bubbles’ protégé, he is inadvertently poisoned by Bubbles, who had intended to harm a different individual as retribution for repeated assaults. This event marks a significant and heartbreaking moment in Bubbles’ storyline.

Howard ‘Bunny’ Colvin: Bunny Colvin continues his work with the special class project, focusing on providing alternative education and support to at-risk youth. His efforts to make a difference outside the traditional police role underscore the show’s themes of institutional reform and the challenges therein.

Proposition Joe: Proposition Joe remains a central figure in the Baltimore drug scene. His role in this episode likely involves his ongoing efforts to maintain order and profitability within the drug trade, particularly through the New Day Co-Op.

Jimmy McNulty: McNulty is largely on the periphery in this season, focusing on his life outside the force and maintaining a lower profile than in previous seasons. His role in the episode is more subdued compared to his major involvements in other seasons.

Felicia ‘Snoop’ Pearson: Snoop continues her role as one of Marlo Stanfield’s enforcers. Her actions alongside Chris Partlow are integral to maintaining Marlo’s hold on his territory and reflect the violent and ruthless nature of the drug trade in Baltimore.

Kenard: Kenard, a young street kid, represents the continuing cycle of youth getting involved in the drug trade. His character is a depiction of the harsh realities faced by children in the show’s portrayal of urban Baltimore.

Episode 12 of Season 4 brings many of these storylines to a head, setting the stage for the culmination of various arcs and further developing the show’s exploration of the social, educational, and criminal landscapes of Baltimore.

FAQ: Insights Into Episode 12 of The Wire Season Four

Q: What were the key decisions made by Carver and Colvin in Episode 12?

In Episode 12, both Carver and Colvin face critical moments that define their roles and impact their characters. Carver, who has evolved throughout the series, makes decisions that reflect his growing understanding and empathy towards the community he polices. His actions show a shift from a by-the-book approach to a more nuanced understanding of the complexities of law enforcement in Baltimore. Colvin, on the other hand, continues to advocate for alternative approaches to dealing with the city’s youth, particularly those caught in the cycle of crime. His decisions underscore his commitment to reform and his belief in second chances, even in the face of systemic challenges.

Q: What are the implications of the wiretap led by Lester Freamon?

Lester Freamon’s wiretap operation is a pivotal element in Episode 12, highlighting the intricate balance between legal boundaries and the pursuit of justice. The wiretap, while yielding crucial information, also raises ethical questions and legal concerns. It represents the lengths to which Freamon and the Major Crimes Unit are willing to go to bring down criminal networks. This storyline emphasizes the moral ambiguities and the high stakes involved in police work in Baltimore.

Q: What outcomes are faced by characters like Randy Wagstaff and Namond Brice in this episode?

Randy Wagstaff and Namond Brice, two of the show’s younger characters, face significant turning points in this episode. Randy’s story takes a particularly tragic turn, highlighting the failures of the system to protect vulnerable youth. His storyline is a poignant commentary on the consequences of informing in a community where trust is fragile. Namond’s outcome, meanwhile, offers a glimmer of hope amidst the bleakness. His story arc represents the possibility of change and the impact that positive influences, like Colvin, can have on a young person’s life.

Conclusion: The Enduring Legacy of “The Wire Season 4 Episode 12”

“The Wire Season 4 Episode 12” serves as a powerful pre-finale to an already intense and thought-provoking season. This episode not only wraps up the intricate narratives of Season 4 but also lays the groundwork for the subsequent developments in the series.

Impact on The Wire’s Season 4 Narrative

This episode is a culmination of the season’s exploration of systemic issues in Baltimore, from the failing school systems to the complexities of the drug trade and law enforcement. It ties together various storylines, offering resolutions to some while leaving others open-ended, thus reflecting the ongoing and cyclical nature of the city’s struggles. The episode skillfully balances the personal stories of its characters with broader societal themes, providing a compelling and realistic portrayal of life in Baltimore.

Lasting Effects on Key Characters


The season pre-finale has a profound impact on characters like Bodie, Bubbles, and the detectives in the Major Crimes Unit. Bodie’s journey through the season reflects the harsh realities of life in the drug trade and the challenging choices he must face. His character development is a poignant representation of the struggle for survival and identity in a world that often seems stacked against you.

Bubbles, another key character, continues his heartbreaking struggle with addiction, offering a human face to the drug epidemic in the city. His storyline in the episode is both moving and enlightening, highlighting the personal toll of the drug crisis.

The detectives in the Major Crimes Unit, including Lester Freamon and Bunk, face their own set of challenges as they navigate the complex landscape of police work in Baltimore. Their dedication to their roles, despite obstacles, underscores the resilience and determination required in their fight for justice.

Setting the Stage for the Next Episode

As the pre-finale of Season 4, Episode 12 not only provides closure to the season’s arcs but also sets the stage for the next chapter. It leaves viewers anticipating how the unresolved issues and evolving dynamics will play out in the lives of these characters and the broader narrative of The Wire.

Season 4 is a masterpiece and that is no mean feat, especially by The Wire’s standards. The question however is could the finale be as good as the rest of the season? Could the finale manage to tie in all the loose ends the season has given us? That’s the exact discussion we had on this edition of The Wire Stripped podcast. We also managed to talk about how well, episode 12 had set us up for the season finale. You do not want to miss this, listen here: