Open main menu

"Alliances" is the fifth episode of the fourth season of the HBO original series The Wire. Written by Ed Burns with a story by David Simon & Ed Burns, and directed by David Platt, it originally aired on October 8, 2006.

The Wire episode
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 5
Directed byDavid Platt
Story byDavid Simon
Ed Burns
Teleplay byEd Burns
Original air dateOctober 8, 2006 (2006-10-08)
Running time58 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
Next →
"Margin of Error"
List of The Wire episodes


Dukie, Randy, Namond, Michael, Donut and Kenard discuss Lex's disappearance. Namond, Donut, and Kenard agree that Partlow is turning his victims into zombies. When a man walks up the alley toward them, the boys flee, having scared themselves with their own speculation. At school, Prez offers prize draws to the top four students who exhibit good behavior, while the most disruptive students get detention. Prez penalizes Michael when he refuses to attempt his work. Namond is annoyed when Donnelly confiscates a knife he had concealed. Prez tries to get the boys to return to their work. When he finds that Namond has not begun the tasks he set, he gives him detention. Namond responds angrily and swears at Prez, who sends him to the office.

Colvin believes the students in Parenti's in-school program can be split into two broad groups: the better-behaved "stoop kids" and the disruptive, street-acclimated "corner kids." Colvin believes that by separating the two, both groups could do better. The eighth grade head teacher, Mrs. Grace Sampson, agrees with Colvin's assessment. Dr. David Parenti, Colvin's academic colleague, points out that this idea is similar to tracking of students. Sampson confirms that tracking has a negative image because it suggests lowered expectations of certain groups of children. Sampson believes that the key is coming up with a program to benefit the corner kids. After the meeting they encounter Namond in the halls and he swears at Parenti. Sampson subdues him with a word and hurries him along to the office for punishment.

The next day Prez meets with Michael in his lunch break and appeals to him to talk to him if he is unable to make detention. Prez gives Dukie some of his lunch and a hall pass and change to get something to drink. When Dukie leaves the room, Prez checks with Crystal Judkins about Dukie because he is not wearing the new clothes he gave him. She tells Prez that his family steals his possessions and sells them for drug money.

Colvin meets with Principal Claudell Withers to discuss his planned initiative. Withers offers them his support, but is quickly drawn away to meet with parents whose children are bringing an argument between their families into the school. Donnelly urges Colvin to protect Withers, as any fallout from their initiative will reflect poorly on him. Donnelly suggests that Colvin and Parenti begin with ten children.

After school Randy talks to Dukie about his fears of Partlow coming for him. He confesses to Dukie his role in Lex's murder. Dukie tries to convince Randy that Partlow is simply murdering his victims in the vacant rowhouses. Dukie backs up his claim by telling Randy that he saw one killing from his bedroom window. Dukie takes Michael and Randy to one of the vacant buildings Partlow has used. He shows them a body interred there and Randy is forced to face up to Partlow's victims being truly dead.


Major Stan Valchek visits Tommy Carcetti at his campaign offices. He gives Carcetti the news of Detective Norris being reassigned from the murdered witness case and replaced with homicide rookie Kima Greggs. After Valchek leaves he discusses how to use the information with Norman Wilson and Theresa D'Agostino. Wilson suggests giving the story to Councilman Anthony Gray to allow him to press the mayor over the witness case and draw off more of his votes.

Mayor Clarence Royce shaves off his beard, hoping that a return to the image he wore when first elected will improve his polling. Royce's Chief of Staff Coleman Parker is impressed with the change of image.

Meanwhile, Carcetti campaigns hard, giving out fliers in the early morning. Wilson reports that Gray has accepted their offer for a meeting. Wilson takes the meeting with Gray. Gray sees through their motives for giving him the information but decides to use it regardless, knowing that it will help him as well. Wilson tells Gray that at this point he cannot hope to win and should consider reconciling with Carcetti and gearing up for another position.

Royce has a strategy meeting but is interrupted by Parker, who has noticed the media reporting on the witness story. Royce angrily confronts Commissioner Ervin Burrell about this new problem from his department. Royce lists Burrell's problems and berates him for his overzealous efforts to slow the witness case, finally ordering him out of the office. With Burrell gone, Royce questions his deputy commissioner, William Rawls. Rawls claims that he is loyal to Burrell but knew he was making a mistake. He tells Royce that he could handle the pressure of Burrell's position. Royce then asks Rawls to make this incident go away, claiming he won't forget what Rawls has done.

Watkins confronts Royce over the mayor's use of multiple campaign tickets. Watkins shows Royce one ticket endorsing Eunetta Perkins, and another endorsing Marla Daniels. Watkins also chides Royce for his decision making regarding the witness killing. After Royce stands firm, Watkins says he will sit out the election and storms out of the office. Royce declines to chase after Watkins, despite Parker's pleas to do so.

Rawls discovers that Watkins has broken from the mayor. He finds Carcetti canvassing a neighborhood and tells him. Carcetti and Wilson immediately go to Watkins' office, where Carcetti pitches for Watkins' support. Carcetti says that he doesn't have anything to offer Watkins that Royce can't offer, but notes that if he wins, he would depend on Watkins for organizational help, implying that Royce could just ignore Watkins if re-elected. Carcetti also tells Watkins that the polls are closer than Royce admits.

Western DistrictEdit

Lieutenant Charlie Marimow meets with Assistant State's Attorney Rhonda Pearlman and Western district commander Major Cedric Daniels to discuss executing a series of warrants in the Western district. Daniels obligingly provides Marimow with the extra manpower he will require. Pearlman warns Marimow that he is wasting his wiretap on low-level targets that she will refuse to litigate against. Marimow tells Pearlman that is her problem but she refuses to accept responsibility for his mistakes.

Marimow briefs his own men along with Daniels's DEU squad and flex squad. Marimow tries to convince his men of the importance of the raids. After the briefing Ellis Carver questions Thomas "Herc" Hauk about the logic of attempting street rips against Marlo Stanfield's people. Carver asks Herc what he is doing for the mayor, advising Herc that he should now take an interest in Royce's continued success because Royce will be unable to advance Herc's career unless he retains his position as mayor. Pearlman discusses her career with Daniels. With Marimow in charge of the major crimes unit and the subpoenas issued against Royce fundraisers, she has lost hope in her work and begins thinking where she can beg Demper to be reassigned.

Marimow's raids are disastrous: stash houses from the wiretap have long since moved and very few arrests are made. Marimow believes that the drug dealers are stupid and claims they must have been tipped about the raids. Marimow diverts the blame from himself onto his sergeant by insisting that he find out more about Marlo. Carver steps in with some information about Marlo: he holds court in the same open area but otherwise moves around. Marimow tells Herc to come up with an investigative plan using this tip. Herc with squad members Officer Kenneth Dozerman and Detective Leander Sydnor set up a concealed surveillance camera at Marlo's meeting place. They hurry away from the location, but their efforts are noticed by a Stanfield soldier.

Sydnor is left to man the surveillance camera overnight. When Herc returns he believes that the camera will build a case for them if they can find someone who can read lips to tell them what Marlo is saying. Sydnor questions the legality of the approach but Herc dismisses his concerns. Herc leaves Sydnor wondering when he will get some relief from manning the surveillance. Herc spends the morning making campaign calls for Royce. His direct approach has some success with the voters.

Stanfield OrganizationEdit

Marlo and Chris discuss how to deal with Omar after his robbery of Marlo at a card game. Marlo wants to go straight after Omar through placing a bounty on him. Chris reminds Marlo of Avon Barksdale's failed efforts to track down Omar and convinces him that a subtle approach will be more likely to succeed and would prevent Omar from targeting them in return.

At their next meeting, Chris reports that Slim Charles approached him to organize a second meeting between Proposition Joe and Marlo. Old Face Andre arrives to talk to Marlo. Marlo tells him that his store is going to be robbed again and instructs him to identify Omar as the culprit when reporting the crime to the police. Andre worries that Omar will seek revenge, but Marlo tells him Omar will not return from being arrested.

Chris later enacts the robbery of the store with Snoop. He shoots a delivery woman who is stocking Andre's shelves, killing her, and pistol-whips Andre. Before leaving the store, Chris reminds Andre to blame Omar. Chris reports in to Marlo that the robbery was a success. Marlo tells him about the surveillance camera and then asks him to take him to the meeting with Proposition Joe.

At the meeting, Joe tells him that he has a network of sources that provide him with information about activity on the street and within the justice system. He shows Marlo warrants for a drug kingpin named Charlie. Joe tells Marlo he might help Charlie but may not as he is outside of the co-op. Marlo asks Joe about the video surveillance and finally agrees to work with the co-op in exchange for information about those investigating him.


Bunk Moreland and Lester Freamon scour Baltimore looking for bodies they can tie to Marlo Stanfield in the hope of finding Lex. They check with the coroner's office, in the sewers and Leakin Park. Freamon recalls coming to the park to look for a body as a cadet and being warned to only take an interest in bodies matching their description or they would need more time. When they return to the office empty-handed, Bunk convinces Freamon to turn his attention back to investigating real murders.

At the office, Detectives Ed Norris, Vernon Holley, Greggs, and Massey watch Gray talk about the witness case on television. Greggs is later called in to meet with Sergeant Jay Landsman. Landsman tells her that Norris is back on the Braddock witness case. Rawls plans to claim that Norris and Greggs were always working the case together. Greggs is dismayed that she is being humiliated a second time. Landsman tells Greggs that she must be more ready to play the political side of the spectrum now that she is in the high-profile Homicide unit. Finally, Landsman insists that Greggs must attend a press conference about the investigation.

Crutchfield and Holley catch the case of the woman murdered in Andre's store. When they interview him he is quick to identify Omar.


Bubbles spots Sherrod working for a drug dealing crew and chastises him for truanting. Sherrod's customer takes exception to Bubbles's interruption and attacks him for his money. Bubbles is humiliated in front of several bystanders. When Sherrod returns to their dwelling in a vacant house that night Bubbles tells him that he can stay for the night only and then must leave unless he attends school the next day.[1][2]


Title referenceEdit

The title refers to the alliance that Marlo enters into with Proposition Joe. It also refers to the alliances formed by Carcetti in the political world: with Rawls, Valchek and Watkins. It also references the breaking of Watkins' alliance with Royce because of the strength of his support for Marla Daniels, and perhaps most obviously, to the offer made by Chris and Snoop to Michael.


If you with us, you with us. - Chris Partlow

Partlow makes this statement when trying to convince Michael Lee to join the Stanfield drug dealing organization. It is counterpointed by Wee-Bey's remarks about the heyday of the Barksdale organization.


Starring castEdit

Although credited, Dominic West, Chad L. Coleman, J. D. Williams and Michael K. Williams do not appear in this episode.

Guest starsEdit

Uncredited appearancesEdit

First appearancesEdit

  • Zenobia Dawson: eighth grade student in Prez's math class who comes from a poor background and is difficult to control.


  1. ^ "Episode guide - episode 42 Alliances". HBO. 2006. Retrieved October 9, 2006.
  2. ^ David Simon, Ed Burns (October 8, 2004). "Alliances". The Wire. Season 4. Episode 05. HBO.

External linksEdit