Backwash (The Wire episode)

Backwash (The Wire episode)

Infobox The Wire episode

caption =
episode_name = Backwash
episode_no = 20
epigraph = "Don't worry kid, you're still on the clock."
- Horseface
teleplay = Rafael Alvarez
story = David Simon and Rafael Alvarez
writer =
director = Thomas J. Wright
guest_star = "see below"
prod_code = 207
airdate = July 13, 2003
season = two|
"Backwash" is the seventh episode of the second season of the HBO original series, "The Wire". The episode was written by Rafael Alvarez from a story by David Simon & Rafael Alvarez and was directed by Thomas J. Wright. It originally aired on July 13, 2003.


Title reference

The title is a literary reference to the concept that D'Angelo discusses in the prison book club in "All Prologue".

One of several definitions for "backwash" is "a condition, usually undesirable, that continues long after the event which caused it".


Horseface makes this statement as recent amputee New Charles is loaded into an ambulance.

Non-fiction elements

The face on the dartboard in Frank's office is that of Robert Irsay, the owner of the former Baltimore Colts, who, in 1984, took the team to Indianapolis. [ [ Profiles: Stealing Life: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker ] ]


Although credited, Paul Ben-Victor, Frankie Faison and Andre Royo do not appear in this episode.

Guest stars

#Seth Gilliam as Detective Ellis Carver
#Domenick Lombardozzi as Detective Thomas "Herc" Hauk
#Jim True-Frost as Detective Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski
#James Ransone as Ziggy Sobotka
#Pablo Schreiber as Nick Sobotka
#Callie Thorne as Elena McNulty
#J.D. Williams as Preston "Boadie" Broadus
#Hassan Johnson as Roland "Wee-Bey" Brice
#Kristin Proctor as Aimee
#Michael Hyatt as Brianna Barksdale
#Robert F. Chew as Proposition Joe
#Maria Broom as Marla Daniels
#Lance Irwin as Maui
#Delaney Williams as Sergeant Jay Landsman
#Shamyl Brown as Donette
#Keith Flippen as Bruce DiBiago
#Gary "D.Reign" as Frog
#Tray Chaney as Malik "Poot" Carr
#Luray Cooper as Nat Coxson
#Charley Scalies as Thomas "Horseface" Pakusa
#Stan Stewart as New CharlesKeith Flippen's name is mis-spelled in the credits as Keith Flippan.

Uncredited appearances

*Richard Burton as Shaun "Shamrock" McGinty
*Richard Pelzman as Little Big Roy
*Kelvin Davis as La La
*Chris Ashworth as Sergei "Serge" Molatov
*Ted Feldman as George "Double G" Glekas
*Jeffrey Pratt Gordon as Johnny "Fifty" Spamanto
*Curtis L. McClarin as florist
*Jacques Derosena as Leech
*Randall Boffman as Bill Anderson - administrator for the port of Baltimore



obotka detail

Bunk Moreland and Beadie Russell meet with Sergeant Jay Landsman to discuss using a computer to monitor dock traffic, he is initially outraged but is more accepting when he learns that lieutenant Cedric Daniels has granted them space in his detail's off site. Before storming out he speculates that Daniels might take the cases.

Colonel William Rawls later calls a meeting with Daniels to try to persuade him to take the Jane Doe homicides but Daniels stands firm. Daniels defends his decision to stay with the police department to his wife and tells her he is playing their game from now on.

Kima Greggs and Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski follow up on the information they got from Shardene Innes' friend and find a whore house. Prez scouts out the area and Kima teases him about it. They get far enough to identify the lift going to the sixth floor.

Thomas "Herc" Hauk and Ellis Carver purchase a remote audio surveillance bug because they feel they need to get information above street level on the drug trade. Carver is dubious of the cost ($1250), but Herc persuades the shopkeeper to let them have it for a trial period in exchange for the store keeping a credit card, hoping to return it as soon as they have a meet on record. They place the bug in a tennis ball, without the necessary paperwork, and have some success monitoring Frog. However, when Nick Sobotka arrives Frog unwittingly picks up the bug and throws it; Carver tries to chase it into the street but it is destroyed in traffic.

Lester Freamon and Beadie continue to study the traffic through the docks using their cloned computer. Freamon watches clean checkers at work just to familiarise himself with how things work. When they pick up Thomas "Horseface" Pakusa working a ship they call in Kima and Prez for help with surveillance. They track the container back to Double G's warehouse and see Sergei "Serge" Molatov meeting with Proposition Joe — Greggs photographs the encounter.

Bunk, Freamon and Russell decide they must convince Daniels to take on the murders because he will allow the kind of investigation they feel that they need to run. Freamon makes an impassioned plea to Daniels who later visits Rawls and tells him he will take on the case if he can expect full support from Rawls. He is less successful at selling the idea to his wife; she tells him the thing she first fell in love with was his ambition.

Dock business

Nick gets further into illegal activity and sets himself up as a supplier to Ziggy Sobotka's dealer contact Frog. He is unknowingly picked up by Carver and Herc.

Ziggy receives a letter from a law firm claiming he has fathered a child with a notoriously promiscuous local woman. He is despondent and drinks at the bar. He is driven further down when he realises that Nick is far more successful than him in the drug trade. Nick realises that the letter should have been hand delivered rather than mailed; he checks the phone number and it phones through to Maui's cell phone. Nick tells Ziggy he has been the victim of a prank. Later, Maui continues to taunt Ziggy with a song ("Love Child" by The Supremes) from the jukebox and the other Stevedores try to convince Ziggy he could take Maui in a fight.

Frank Sobotka visits a seminar on robotic dock technology and is appalled when he realises the automated systems threaten to make stevedores obsolete. He meets with Nat Coxson back at the union offices and appeals to him to let him extend his term as union leader for another year, deferring an agreement to alternate between white and black leaders annually.

Frank meets with his lobbyist, Bruce DiBiago, and is disappointed with his progress. He rants about his family's history and its lack of a financially secure future before delivering a box of cash and insisting that Bruce work harder to get the canal dredged.

A dock worker called New Charles is injured while moving freight. His leg is trapped under a box and severely damaged. The Stevedores rush to his aid and he is taken to hospital, but he ends up losing the limb. Frank and Nat visit his family and Frank delivers an envelope stuffed with cash. When Nat asks Frank where the money comes from, he refuses to answer.

D'Angelo's death

Bodie Broadus buys flowers for D'Angelo Barksdale's funeral and orders an arrangement to look like the high rise towers. Stringer Bell visits Brianna Barksdale's house for D'Angelo's wake and finds her inconsolable. Donette seems more pragmatic about the death. In the prison Avon Barksdale and Wee-Bey Brice discuss D'Angelo's ‘suicide’. Avon musters enough anger at the selfishness of the act to dismiss D'Angelo as weak.

The funeral is well attended and Bodie's flowers garner compliments. After the ceremony, Proposition Joe discusses sharing his supply with Stringer for a share in the Barksdale organization's profits. Stringer presents the idea to Avon, who dismisses it immediately.cite web
year = 2004
title = Episode guide - episode 20 backwash
publisher = HBO
accessdate = 2006-06-22
url =
] cite episode
title = Backwash
episodelink = Backwash (The Wire episode)
series = The Wire
serieslink = The Wire (TV series)
credits = David Simon, Rafael Alvarez
writers =
network = HBO
station =
city =
airdate = 2003-07-13
season = 2
number = 07
] cite book
last = Alvarez
first = Rafael
year = 2004
title = The Wire: Truth Be Told
publisher = Pocket Books
location = New York


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