Mission Accomplished (The Wire)

Mission Accomplished (The Wire)
"Mission Accomplished"
The Wire episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 12
Directed by Ernest Dickerson
Teleplay by David Simon
Story by David Simon
Ed Burns
Original air date December 19, 2004 (2004-12-19)
Guest stars
Season 3 episodes
September 19, 2004 – December 19, 2004
  1. "Time After Time"
  2. "All Due Respect"
  3. "Dead Soldiers"
  4. "Hamsterdam"
  5. "Straight and True"
  6. "Homecoming"
  7. "Back Burners"
  8. "Moral Midgetry"
  9. "Slapstick"
  10. "Reformation"
  11. "Middle Ground"
  12. "Mission Accomplished"
List of The Wire episodes

"Mission Accomplished" is the twelfth and final episode of the third season of the HBO original series, The Wire. The episode was written by David Simon from a story by David Simon & Ed Burns and was directed by Ernest Dickerson. It originally aired on December 19, 2004.



Title reference

The title refers to McNulty completing his goal of breaking the Barksdale organization. It also refers to the success of Cutty's attempts at personal reform by starting a new life as a boxing trainer.

The title is also a reference to President George W. Bush announcing the supposed end of the War in Iraq. In the audio commentary for this episode, David Simon confirmed that the season had been a symbolization of that war.


...we fight on that lie. - Slim Charles

Slim Charles uses this phrase to convince Avon Barksdale of the need to see their war with Marlo Stanfield through to the finish now that it is underway, even though the pretense for the war (the death of Stringer Bell at the hands of the Stanfield organization) is false.


Solomon Burke's cover of Van Morrison's "Fast Train" plays over the episode's closing montage. David Simon credits co-executive producer Joe Chappelle with choosing the song.[1]


Guest stars

  1. Glynn Turman as Mayor Clarence Royce
  2. Amy Ryan as Beatrice "Beadie" Russell
  3. Chad L. Coleman as Dennis "Cutty" Wise
  4. Jamie Hector as Marlo Stanfield
  5. Leo Fitzpatrick as Johnny
  6. Michael Hyatt as Brianna Barksdale
  7. Michael Potts as Brother Mouzone
  8. Anwan Glover as Slim Charles
  9. Christopher Mann as Councilman Anthony Gray
  10. Cleo Reginald Pizana as Chief of Staff Coleman Parker
  11. Frederick Strother as State Delegate Odell Watkins
  12. Maria Broom as Marla Daniels
  13. Shamyl Brown as Donette
  14. Brandy Burre as Theresa D'Agostino
  15. Richard Burton as Shaun "Shamrock" McGinty
  16. Dravon James as Grace Sampson
  17. Michael Willis as Andy Krawczyk
  18. Justin Burley as Justin
  19. Brandon Fobbs as Fruit
  20. DeAndre McCullough as Lamar
  21. Felicia Pearson as Snoop
  22. Ernest Waddell as Dante
  23. Brian Anthony Wilson as Detective Vernon Holley
  24. Gbenga Akkinagbe as Chris Partlow
  25. Mia Arnice Chambers as Squeak
  26. Norris Davis as Vinson
  27. Melvin Jackson, Jr. as Bernard
  28. Melvin T. Russell as Jamal
  29. William Zielinski as Gene - public health academic
  30. Edward Green as Spider
  31. Michael Kostroff as Maurice Levy
  32. Jay Landsman as Lieutenant Dennis Mello
  33. Marty Lodge as Banisky - Baltimore Sun reporter
  34. Ryan Sands as Lloyd "Truck" Garrick
  35. Gregory L. Williams as Detective Michael Crutchfield
  36. Megan Anderson as Jen Carcetti
  37. Tray Chaney as Malik "Poot" Carr
  38. Richard DeAngelis as Colonel Raymond Foerster
  39. Derren M. Fuentes as QRT Leader Torret
  40. Tony D. Head as Major Bobby Reed
  41. Reid Sasser as Unknown

Uncredited appearances




Tommy Carcetti discusses Major Howard "Bunny" Colvin's Hamsterdam project with his campaign manager Theresa D'Agostino. Colvin had set up free zones away from residential areas where the drug trade was allowed to continue unchallenged. Carcetti wonders if Colvin's initiative is a step in the right direction. D'Agostino wants Carcetti to consider how his knowledge can help them win in the upcoming mayoral race. Carcetti believes that Royce is holding off on shutting down the Hamsterdam zones so that he can first concoct a story claiming that it was part of an enforcement strategy.

Mayor Clarence Royce meets with public health academics and his state's attorney Steven Demper. He continues to pursue the idea of continuing the Hamsterdam project under a banner other than drug legalization. His Chief of Staff, Coleman Parker, walks out of the meeting to show his disgust at the mayor for not acting swiftly to disown the project and blame the police department.


Deputy Commissioner William Rawls and Colonel Raymond Foerster quiz detective Bunk Moreland about his latest case. Bunk is investigating the murder of drug kingpin Stringer Bell in a property development site. He reports that his colleagues Crutchfield and Massey are working the crime scene while Detective Ed Norris is traveling to the morgue to watch the postmortems. Detective Vernon Holley interviews the only witness to the shooting - Bell's development consultant Andy Krawczyk. Rawls tells Bunk that Krawczyk is a major campaign contributor to the mayor and the politicians have already been checking up on him. Holley quizzes Krawczyk about his knowledge of Bell's narcotics crimes. Krawczyk states that the gunman he saw appeared to be a large black male with a large weapon. Bunk sees this as a stereotypical witness statement and remarks "BNBG". Holley explains that this means "Big Negro, Big Gun."

Bunk enters the building and asks the crime scene tech to rush the ballistics comparison. Detectives Jimmy McNulty and Kima Greggs from the Major Case Unit watch the photographer at work, despondent because they had just gathered the evidence they needed to arrest Bell. McNulty tells Bunk that he had caught Stringer and admits his disappointment at not being able to let Stringer know. Bunk gives McNulty cell phone chips that he found among Stringer's effects. Bunk tells McNulty that Sergeant Jay Landsman is preparing a warrant for Stringer's address.

Bunk and McNulty collect the warrant and search Stringer's home. McNulty gets a call from Colvin to arrange a meeting. Inside Bell's luxurious and tastefully decorated apartment, McNulty examines the dead man's belongings. Seeing that Bell's book collection includes scholarly works including The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, McNulty expresses shock at how little he knew about his suspect.

Barksdale organization

Avon Barksdale, despondent over Stringer's death, refuses to talk to his lieutenant Shaun "Shamrock" McGinty at their funeral home base of operations. Slim Charles arrives and is met by the angry soldiers of the organization. Bodie Broadus tells Charles that he is ready to go after Marlo Stanfield himself. The assumption that Stanfield is responsible is widely held because of his ongoing turf war with the Barksdale organization. Charles talks to Avon about Stringer's death. Avon tells him that Stringer died for reasons beyond his control and that it had nothing to do with the Stanfield organization. Avon confesses that he has lost interest in the war with Stanfield but Charles tells him that they must continue now that they have started the war, stating that if Marlo's crew killing Stringer is a lie, then "we fight on that lie."

Major case unit

At the Major Case unit headquarters Lester Freamon and Greggs man the wiretaps and note that on the wiretaps Marlo Stanfield is being blamed for Stringer's murder. Freamon anticipates an increase in the intensity of the Barksdale-Stanfield turf war. Greggs reports that McNulty has gone to search Stringer's home with Bunk and that he took Stringer's death as he would the loss of a relative.

McNulty meets with Colvin and learns that he is on permanent leave. Colvin gives McNulty the location of Avon's wartime safe house, the tip he received from Stringer before his death. McNulty delivers the cell phone chips and other things from Stringer's home to his colleagues. Leander Sydnor observes that the cell phone chips explain why Stringer never used the disposable cell phones provided to the rest of the organization. McNulty takes Freamon aside and tells him that Stringer gave up a tip about the Barksdale safehouse. Freamon realizes that the tip was given to Colvin, as this explains Stringers previous calls to the Western. Freamon phones Lieutenant Cedric Daniels who is at a public campaign event for his wife Marla. Marla and Cedric are estranged but he is maintaining the facade of a healthy marriage to support her political dream of becoming a city councilwoman. Sydnor watches Marla on television in the detail office and remarks to Assistant State's Attorney Rhonda Pearlman about the lieutenant's wife becoming a politician. Pearlman is forced to bite her tongue about her own relationship with Daniels. Greggs is also having relationship problems - after her day at work she has a one night stand and ignores a phone call from her partner Cheryl.

Bunk and McNulty spend the night drinking together and Bunk notices that McNulty seems to be cutting back his alcohol intake. Bunk speculates that Omar Little was involved in Stringer's murder, on the basis of the shotgun shells found at the scene. He believes that they will match the casings from the double homicide of Tank and Tosha Mitchell, where he also believes Omar was involved. McNulty tells Bunk that it may have been Marlo Stanfield rather than Omar. Bunk worries that the murder rate is spiraling out of control. Bunk urges McNulty to drink more, but instead he takes Bunk home. Cheryl phones McNulty to find out why Kima has not returned home and he covers for her.

Freamon meets with the suspended detective Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski early in the morning at a park. Prez worries over the review board's decision about his mistaken identity shooting of another police officer. He states that the Vanguard (the BPD's association of African American officers) has voted against him with 6 out of 10 black officers believing that Prez is a "asshole racist." Freamon urges Prez to fight the charge joking that 4 out of 10 officers think he is just an "asshole". Prez jokes that he has always been guilty of failing to properly identify himself as a police officer and tells Freamon that he is not meant to be a police. Freamon asks what career he was meant for.

Freamon arrives late for the unit meeting about the Barksdale safe house. Daniels is reluctant to move against the safe house on the basis of an anonymous tip because he feels he does not have probable cause. McNulty becomes impatient and, knowing that Colvin will go along with it now that Stringer is dead, reveals that Stringer was the informant. Daniels orders the unit to continue to monitor the wiretaps but also to prepare a warrant for the safe house. Sydnor and Greggs begin surveillance of the safe house immediately.

On the wiretap the unit record Slim Charles phoning in Stanfield's location. Charles has tracked him to Vinson's rim shop. He orders his soldiers to prepare to strike against Stanfield. This prompts the unit to move against the safe house. Shamrock tells Avon about the opportunity and urges him to take part. Once Shamrock and Avon arrive at the safe house, Daniels confirms there are at least ten suspects inside based on surveillance. He calls for backup before moving in. Instead of the tactical response unit, Daniels is met with Sergeant Ellis Carver's Drug Enforcement Unit squad. Thomas "Herc" Hauk tells Daniels that the tactical unit is too busy cleaning up the free zones to offer assistance.

Daniels orders his men to knock before entry, as he believes a frontal assault will be met with heavy resistance. Inside Gerard reports to Avon that Stanfield is still at the rim shop but his bodyguards have left him with minimal protection. As they talk, the raid begins. Avon orders Perry not to shoot at the police and tells Gerard to let the police in. Perry tries to claim that weapons are all his. McNulty tells Avon that he will serve the rest of his original sentence for the parole violation at the very least. Avon refuses to be afraid of the prison time offering his old adage that he will serve two days, the day he goes in and the day he gets out. McNulty shows Avon the search warrant, carefully pointing out Stringer Bell as the source of the information and remarking that this will give Avon something to think about between those two days.

The arrested criminals are taken to the homicide department to be interviewed. Freamon is greeted by Bunk and shows him Greggs interviewing Shamrock. Poot Carr, Squeak and Bernard are among those arrested on the basis of the wiretaps and Squeak berates Bernard for his stupidity. He remarks that he cannot wait to go to jail. McNulty and Pearlman interview Bodie, who claims entrapment because he was selling in the free zone.


Stringer's killers, Omar Little and Brother Mouzone, arrive at Mouzone's motel room. Mouzone's bodyguard Lamar is there holding Omar's boyfriend Dante hostage. Mouzone turns Dante over to Omar and also gives him his weapon to dispose of, telling him that he trusts him to do it properly in his hometown. Omar assesses Dante's injuries and while Dante apologizes, claiming that he held out as long as he could, Omar expresses disappointment with his lack of fortitude, and suspicion of him.


Stanfield meets with his advisor Vinson at his rim shop. He informs Vinson of Stringer's death and Vinson wonders who could have reached Stringer to murder him. Vinson tells Stanfield that Avon will blame him. Stanfield's soldier Chris Partlow remarks that the notoriety will be good for them. Later, Stanfield soldier Snoop brags (and lies) to lieutenants including Fruit that she was there when Partlow killed Stringer. Marlo, Chris and Vinson eat dinner at the rim shop unaware that the Barksdale organization came close to striking against them. When they leave Slim Charles is forced to acknowledge that he missed his chance.


Sergeant Ellis Carver discusses the effect breaking the story of Hamsterdam will have on the career of Colvin and his men with other officers from the district. As Carver makes his way through Hamsterdam, Johnny Weeks approaches him and asks to borrow money. Carver recognizes Johnny as a drug addict and refuses, and Johnny accepts this graciously. The next morning reporters arrive in force. Commissioner Ervin Burrell learns of the media involvement and tells his colleagues Rawls and Major Bobby Reed. Rawls and Reed remain concerned that Royce will blame the police department for the Hamsterdam debacle.

Soon after the journalists arrive, Carcetti and Anthony Gray begin to give interviews about the project. Gray announces his intentions to run against the mayor. Banisky, the reporter that Colvin put off earlier remarks to a colleague that he could have broken this story a week ago. Detective Hauk and Officers Lloyd "Truck" Garrick and Anthony Colicchio watch the TV news crews videotape Hamsterdam in full swing. In his office, Royce sees the footage and realizes it was a political mistake to try to sustain the Hamsterdam zones.

Burrell arrives at the mayor's office to discuss their course of action. Parker tells Burrell that they plan to blame him for Hamsterdam and then relieve him of his post. Burrell responds by blackmailing the mayor, threatening to go to the press and claim that Hamsterdam was created under pressure from the mayor to keep crime down, and that the mayor thwarted Burrell's attempt to shut Hamsterdam down. Burrell offers an alternative - make him commissioner for a full term and he will blame Colvin as much as possible and take the rest on himself and the police force. After his meeting, Burrell signals to Rawls to begin closing down the free zones. Rawls executes his plan with relish, leading the troops to a sanctioned area with the Ride of the Valkyries playing in the background, referencing Apocalypse Now. Herc is pleased to be able to take action at last, while Carver is less positive.

As night falls, Hamsterdam is emptied of addicts and drug dealers. Rawls tours the area with Parker and promises to have all physical evidence of the "free zone" bulldozed and removed from sight overnight so that the press will have nothing to take videos or photos of. In one of the derelict buildings an officer has discovered the body of Johnny Weeks, dead of an apparent overdose. Rawls orders for Johnny to be moved in a prisoner transport vehicle so there will be no ambulances for the reporters to see.


Dennis "Cutty" Wise meets with his old flame Grace Sampson outside of the school where she works as a teacher. Cutty tells her about the community boxing gym that he has founded. The two reminisce, but Grace rebuffs Cutty's advances. She tells him that she is proud of him before leaving.

Cutty shows a video of Muhammad Ali's first fight against Floyd Patterson to young boxing enthusiasts at his fledgling gym. Justin loses interest and begins to train on a punching bag. Spider calls Patterson soft and Cutty tells them that any boxer who makes it to the end of a round cannot be called soft as a rule.

After the Hamsterdam zones are closed down and Avon is arrested, Cutty finds that many of his young boxers stop attending the gym because there is work for them selling drugs for Marlo Stanfield. Cutty is seen working out his frustrations on a punching bag. Cutty tracks Justin down and finds him at work on a corner selling drugs, eating a bag of potato chips (in violation of his training regimen). Fruit arrives and shares an awkward silence with Cutty, which is noted by Justin. Justin promises to be at the gym at 3:30. Fruit orders his dealers to get back to work.


Colvin's job offer as Deputy Director of Security for Johns Hopkins is withdrawn after Burrell personally phones his employers to tell them about Hamsterdam. Colvin faces further humiliation from Burrell and Rawls. They insist that he take full responsibility for his actions by accepting a demotion to Lieutenant, and thus a smaller pension, in order to protect Colvin's people. Rawls ensures that Colvin accepts by threatening to refuse promotions and find discharge and discipline excuses for any shift supervisors in Colvin's district. Rawls and Burrell relieve Colvin of duty at their next ComStat meeting and make Administrative Lieutenant Dennis Mello the acting commander. The mayor also faces financial difficulties over Hamsterdam - the U.S. Deputy Drug Czar visits to tell him that they are considering cutting almost half a billion dollars in federal funding for Baltimore and will interdict any attempts to support a geographical entity within the United States where drugs are legal. Royce tries to reassure him that the Hamsterdam zones were the result of one rogue police commander, and manages to keep the department's funding.

Royce meets with State Delegate Odell Watkins who urges him to fire Burrell over Hamsterdam. Due to Burrell's threats, Royce refuses to let Burrell go. He tries to appease Watkins by offering support for Marla Daniels's run for a city council seat, knowing that Watkins is mentoring her.

Carcetti plans his next move with D'Agostino - difficult questions will face Burrell at the next Public Safety Subcomittee hearing. At the meeting, Carcetti lets Gray ask the most penetrating questions as D'Agostino advised him. Burrell is true to his promise and places the blame firmly with Colvin. Carcetti refuses to accept their excuses and makes a speech about his inability to forgive the way that West Baltimore has been neglected. After Carcetti's speech, Watkins is congratulatory. Gray finally realizes that Carcetti is also planning to run against Royce and feels betrayed.

Daniels reports the success of his case to Burrell, who then refers to him as "Major Daniels". Surprised at the belated promotion, Daniels is told by Burrell that his promotion has been approved due to the mayor's alliance with his wife Marla, and that with the Western District vacancy, he will be named District Commander immediately. Daniels celebrates the promotion with a public meal with Pearlman. Daniels tells Pearlman that now that Marla has obtained the mayor's support, she no longer needs her husband. Later they have sex and laugh together about their good fortune.

McNulty visits the Western District and talks to Colvin. Colvin jokes that his wife, Lolita, has lost weight and got a real estate license so she must be planning to leave him. McNulty thanks Colvin for the information on Avon and tells him that Stringer is dead and Avon has been arrested. He also admits to Colvin that Stringer Bell was named as the informant on the warrant for Avon Barksdale's war room, in order to support the probable cause claim required for the warrant. McNulty assures Colvin that he thinks he is good police.

McNulty visits Beadie Russell and tells her that he would be interested in pursuing a relationship with her. She asks what happened to prompt him to visit her, and he struggles to explain it. Eventually he settles by saying that he has finished something and confesses that he feels that the qualities that make him a good detective also make him wrong for everything else. Beadie invites McNulty in for a drink, but he declines. Instead, McNulty asks to meet her kids.

Daniels follows up on his promise to McNulty that he would have to leave the unit once the Barksdale case was over, although he appears willing to allow McNulty to stay on if McNulty will promise to remain loyal in the future. Daniels is surprised when McNulty accepts the dismissal readily, admitting that he would be better off doing something else. McNulty tells Daniels he plans to return to the Western District because it feels like home.

The season closes with a montage of scenes: Herc and Colicchio arrest young dealers; Gray campaigns for mayor; Carver, Santangelo, and a uniformed and contented McNulty attend a roll call briefing in the Western; the Hamsterdam zones are reduced to a pile of rubble; Carver visits Cutty's gym and finds him training young boxers; Crutchfield cuts Bunk's tie off as he sleeps at his desk; Donette cries over the men she has lost while Tyrell plays with his toys; Omar stands in silent contemplation before throwing his weapons into the Baltimore Harbor near the docks, where union campaign posters for Frank Sobotka can still be seen; drug dealing continues throughout Baltimore; Bodie walks the streets alone; Daniels and Sydnor take down the Barksdale investigation board; Carcetti also begins his campaign for mayor as his family watches him give a speech; McNulty walks his beat in the Western and greets members of the community he polices; Brianna Barksdale attends Avon's trial but walks out when he looks at her; Chris Partlow and Marlo also arrive at the trial, and Avon finally sees and acknowledges his adversary; Pearlman prosecutes Avon along with Barksdale Organization members Shamrock, Poot, Perry, Gerard, Sapper, Herbert De'Rodd "Puddin" Johnson, Arthur Carroll and others, all defended by Maurice Levy.

A coda follows the montage. Bubbles picks through the wreckage of Hamsterdam with his new young protégé. Colvin stands amid the demolished buildings and Bubbles greets him, reminiscing about the brief golden era when drug addicts were able to indulge their habit without being hassled by police or drug dealers. When Colvin asks if Hamsterdam was a good thing, Bubbles hesitates, then tells him he doesn't know but that things seem to have returned to the old routine.[2][3]


Johnny Weeks: Died of a drug overdose in Hamsterdam.

First appearances

  • Eunetta Perkins: 11th district councilwoman who often neglects her duties (it is a running joke that she is never present at council meetings until this episode).
  • This is the first episode where Cedric Daniels is ranked as a Major.


The Futon Critic named it the second best episode of 2004, saying "Every year, The Wire builds up to a boiling point where you think the good guys will win and the bad guys will lose – and damn if every year The Wire doesn't find a new way to show that real life never works quite like that. From the demolition of its pseudo-"Amsterdam" to McNulty's realization of "who the hell have I been chasing," season three once again proved why this series is an American classic."[4]


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