Quotes from the Opening Credits of HBO’s The Wire

HBO’s “The Wire” is one of the most critically acclaimed television shows of all time. This page includes a list of every single quote from the opening credits of one of histories greatest shows.

Actors from The Wire staring tensely into distance from front seat of a car.

Each episode of HBO’s The Wire kicks off with a cryptic yet meaningful message, displayed across the screen after the credits. They may not be funny like The Office, but they stick with you all the same.

Reflect back on the show’s brilliance with every single quote from the opening sequence of The Wire, one of the best shows to binge, listed in order of airdate.


Season 1 Opening Credit Quotes

Blue and white caricature drawing of Barksdale and Bell from The Wire.
Image Credit: binarygodcom on Deviant Art.

The Target (S1E1)

“…when it’s not your turn.”

– McNulty


The Detail (S1E2)

“You cannot lose if you do not play.”

– Marla Daniels


The Buys (S1E3)

“The king stay the king.”

– D’Angelo


Old Cases (S1E4)

“It’s a thin line ‘tween heaven and here”

– Bubbles


The Pager (S1E5)

“…a little slow, a little late.”

– Avon Barksdale


The Wire (S1E6)

“…and all the pieces matter.”

– Freamon


One Arrest (S1E7)

A man must have a code.”

– Bunk


Lessons (S1E8)

Come at the king, you best not miss.”

– Omar


Game Day (S1E9)

Maybe we won.”

– Herc


The Cost (S1E10)

And then he dropped the bracelets…”

– Greggs


The Hunt (S1E11)

Dope on the damn table.”

– Daniels


Cleaning Up (S1E12)

This is me, yo, right here.”

– Wallace


Sentencing (S1E13)

“All in the game…”

– Traditional West Baltimore


Season 2 Opening Credit Quotes


Ebb Tide (S2E1)

“Ain’t never gonna be what it was.”

– Little Big Roy


Collateral Damage (S2E2)

“They can chew you up, but they gotta spit you out.”

– McNulty


Hot Shots (S2E3)

“What they need is a union.”

– Russell


Hard Cases (S2E4)

“If I hear music, I’m gonna dance.”

– Greggs


Undertow (S2E5)

“They used to make steel there, no?”

– Vondas


All Prologue (S2E6)

“It don’t matter that some fool say he different…”

– D’Angelo


Backwash (S2E7)

“Don’t worry kid. You’re still on the clock.”

– Horseface


Duck and Cover (S2E8)

“How come they don’t fly away?”

– Ziggy


Stray Rounds (S2E9)

“The world is a smaller place now.”

– The Greek


Storm Warnings (S2E10)

“It pays to go with the union card every time.”

– Ziggy


Bad Dreams (S2E11)

“I need to get clean.”

– Sobotka


Port in a Storm (S2E12)

“Business. Always business.”

– The Greek


Season 3 Opening Credit Quotes


Time After Time (S3E1)

“Don’t matter how many times you get burnt, you just keep doin’ the same.”

– Bodie


All Due Respect (S3E2)

“There’s never been a paper bag.”

– Colvin


Dead Soldiers (S3E3)

The Gods will not save you.”

– Burrell


Amsterdam (S3E4)

“Why you gotta go and fuck with the program?”

– Fruit


Straight and True (S3E5)

“I had such fucking hopes for us.”

– McNulty


Homecoming (S3E6)

“Just a gangster, I suppose.”

– Avon Barksdale


Back Burners (S3E7)

“Conscience do cost.”

– Butchie


Moral Midgetry (S3E8)

“Crawl, walk, and then run.”

– Clay Davis


Slapstick (S3E9)

“…while you’re waiting for moments that never come.”

– Freamon


Reformation (S3E10)

“Call it a crisis of leadership.”

– Proposition Joe


Middle Ground (S3E11)

“We ain’t gotta dream no more, man.”

– Stringer Bell


Mission Accomplished (S3E12)

“We fight on that lie.”

– Slim Charles


Season 4 Opening Credit Quotes



Boys of Summer (S4E1)

“Lambs to the slaughter here.”

– Marcia Donnelly


Soft Eyes (S4E2)

“I still wake up white in a city that ain’t.”

– Carcetti


Home Rooms (S4E3)

“I love the first day, man. Everybody all friendly an’ shit”

– Namond Brice


Refugees (S4E4)

“No one wins. One side just loses more slowly.”

– Prez


Alliances (S4E5)

“If you with us, you with us.”

– Chris Partlow


Margin of Error (S4E6)

“Don’t try this shit at home.”

– Norman Wilson


Unto Others (S4E7)

“Aw yeah. That golden rule.”

– Bunk


Corner Boys (S4E8)

“We got our thing, but it’s just part of the big thing.”

– Zenobia


Know Your Place (S4E9)

“Might as well dump ’em, get another.”

– Proposition Joe


Misgivings (S4E10)

“World goin’ one way, people another.”

– Poot


A New Day (S4E11)

“You play in dirt, you get dirty”

– McNulty


That’s Got His Own (S4E12)

“That all there is to it?”

– Bubbles


Final Grades – S4E13

“If animal trapped call 410-844-6286”

– Baltimore, traditional


Season 5 Opening Credit Quotes

Yellow and black illustration of cast of The Wire against urban background.
Image Credit: DYIDDO on Deviant Art.


More with Less (S5E1)

“The bigger the lie, the more they believe.”

– Bunk


Unconfirmed Reports (S5E2)

“This ain’t Aruba, bitch.”

– Bunk


Not for Attribution (S5E3)

“They’re dead where it doesn’t count.”

– Fletcher


Transitions (S5E4)

“Buyer’s market out there.”

– Templeton


React Quotes (S5E5)

“Just ’cause they’re in the street doesn’t mean that they lack opinions.”

– Haynes


The Dickensian Aspect (S5E6)

“If you have a problem with this, I understand completely.”

– Freamon


Took (S5E7)

“They don’t teach it in law school.”

– Pearlman


Clarifications (S5E8)

“A lie ain’t a side of the story, it’s just a lie.”

– Terry Hanning


Late Editions (S5E9)

“Deserve got nuthin’ to do with it.”

– Snoop


–30– (S5E10)

“The Life of Kings”

– H. L. Mencken



Every Opening Credit Quote from The Wire in Three Minutes (Video)

This video by Matthew Coffaro includes the video clip of every moment from The Wire where these quotes are spoken or written. It is truly magical to watch if you are a fan of the show. Like some of the best dying quotes, these can hit close to home.




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