The Wire Season 1 Episode 12: Cleaning Up

The Wire Season 1 Episode 12: Cleaning Up. Michael B. Jordan's portrayal of Wallace, the lost boy / runner in the Barksdale drug syndicate, was one of the most affecting performances in the first season. And this episode, Cleaning Up, belongs to this tragic character. The seizure of Barksdale cash and stash by Baltimore police drives Avon and Stringer Bell into damage-control mode, which means silencing anyone who might connect them to drugs and murder. Wallace is one of the two gentlest and most guileless characters in the entire series -- the other is port police officer Beatrice Russell from Season 2 -- and Stringer suspecs him of being weak. Bell orders Bodie and Poot (Wallace's boys from the projects) to put Wallace down. Regular viewers were no doubt startled by the execution, which was committed in the abandoned tenement where Wallace cared for a half-dozen street children. The betrayal (wonderfully filmmed) is upsetting and heartbreaking. BTW, in the final episode of Season 1, Sentencing, D'Angelo Barksdale's ringing indictment of Stringer's bloody deed -- "String, where's Wallace? Stringer! Where's Wallace? Where's Wallace, String?" -- was an amazingly chilling moment ... haunting and splendid.

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