The Wire: One Arrest
Season One, Episode Seven
Directed By: Joe Chapelle
Written By: Rafael Alvarez, from a story by David Simon and Ed Burns
Read out “The Wire” Project here. Read about the previous episode here, or click here to see the total coverage. Assume spoilers for the episode.
Earlier in The Wire, we learned how the drug war is very similar to a chess match, in the way certain pieces can be correlated to the different positions in the drug business. In “One Arrest,” we return to that metaphor, but now instead we see strategy. As a fan of chess (though hardly a master), you learn quickly that there are no small decisions. Every move you do, no matter how small, is serving a grand strategy. If a move looks so simple and so easy, the better—your opponent will read it as nothing, and then be astonished later when the secret is revealed.
“One Arrest” is all about this the application of this strategy—we see a series of small plot developments, all in order to serve a larger purpose. The episode is written by Rafael Alvarez, the first time either the creator David Simon or his writing partner Ed Burns have not been at the forefront (they do take the story credit however). However, you wouldn’t notice any change unless you read the credits. Mr. Alvarez, who wrote crime for the Baltimore Sun for twenty years and then wrote for Mr. Simon on Homicide: Life on the Streets, is obviously right up the alley with these guys, and as Sidney Lumet would say, works because everyone is making the same show.