Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Case Study No. 0744: D'Angelo Barksdale and Unnamed Prison Library Worker

The Wire - D'Angelo's Library Surprise
D'Angelo Barksdale learns just how dangerous prison life can be. (Season 2, Episode 6 "All Prologue")
Tags: the wire WireLover d'angelo dee barksdale organization mugs library books prison jail jessup death assault strangle neck suicide demise RIP R.I.P. stringer bell larry gilliard jr. season two
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[scene opens inside the Maryland Correctional Institute's prison library, as D'Angelo Barksdale and another library worker watch as a prisoner returns a book with the cover falling off]
PRISON LIBRARY WORKER: Look at this sorry shit ...
[he picks up the book and shows it to D'Angelo]
PRISON LIBRARY WORKER: Motherfuckers not appreciate nothin' that comes to 'em free.
[D'Angelo takes the book from him]
D'ANGELO: I'll take it in the back. Maybe they got some duct tape, we'll fix it.
[cut to another nearby prisoner pretending to read a book (but he is really watching D'Angelo)]
[cut back to D'Angelo as he puts the damaged book on a cart and pushes it into the backroom, where the prisoner follows him and closes the door behind him]
MUGS: Dee, right?
[D'Angelo quickly looks up, then turns around (with his back to the intruder) while he puts slips into the returned books]
D'ANGELO: Yeah. Yeah, you can't be in here now, man.
MUGS: Yo, man, y'all ... y'all didn't get any final calls this week, yo?
[D'Angelo continues working and does not look at the prisoner]
D'ANGELO: Yeah, we got some.
MUGS: Well, I didn't see any out there ...
D'ANGELO: Alright, man, gimmee a minute. Let me finish up right here real quick, and I'll go and get one for you ...
[with D'Angelo distracted, Mugs sneaks up behind him and begins strangling him with his belt]
D'ANGELO: Uggh ...
[D'Angelo struggles, but Mugs doesn't stop until he's dead, then moves his body next to the door and undoes his pants while tying the belt around his neck and the doorknob (to make it look like D'Angelo "accidentally" killed himself during autoerotic asphyxiation)]
[cut back to the library (where the other library worker is reshelving books) as Mugs is wiping off the doorknob from the other side, then he turns and addresses another prisoner with a smile on his face (as if nothing had happened)]
MUGS: Hey y'all!
PRISONER: [from off camera] What's up?
MUGS: I know you got my motherfuckin' cigs, yo.
[he walks over to the prisoner (who was the same one that returned the damaged book earlier) and puts his hand on his shoulder as they exit the library]
MUGS: You tryin' ta curl me, Joe?
PRISONER: Naw, man ...
MUGS: Got my shit in here?
[they leave, as the camera pans over to the closed door]



"All Prologue" is the sixth episode of the second 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 Steve Shill. It originally aired on July 6, 2003.


D'Angelo Barksdale flushes his remaining drugs down his cell toilet. He attends a book group in the prison library and discusses F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. D'Angelo offers a sophisticated analysis of the novel asserting that a person can never escape his past, no matter what fronts he attempts to establish.

Brianna visits D'Angelo and tries to persuade him to use Avon's set-up of CO Tilghman to shave time from his sentence. He refuses, saying that Avon's actions were evil. He reminds his mother that she taught him to stand up for himself from an incident when he was younger where she forced him to fight twins that were picking on him rather than let him in the house. He then reminds his mother that he learned to take responsibility from that incident and refuses to try to get out of prison given what she taught him and her forcing of him to take the majority of the drug charges for the Barksdale Organization. He then asks her to tell Stringer, Avon and Donette to leave him alone. D'Angelo passes Avon in the corridor and refuses to talk to him.

While working in the prison library, D'Angelo is assaulted and strangled to death with a belt by another inmate named Mugs. Mugs positions the body and hands so that it appears to be suicide.



D'Angelo Barksdale is the nephew of Avon Barksdale and a lieutenant in his drug dealing organization which controls most of the trade in West Baltimore. D'Angelo is played by Larry Gilliard, Jr. and was a starring character in the first two seasons.

During season two, while in prison with Avon and Wee-Bey, D'Angelo turns to snorting heroin. Though he is distant from his uncle, Avon still protects him, and gets him a cushy job in the prison library. Wee-Bey is being harassed by a guard named Dwight Tilghman, who is involved in the prison drug trade. Avon arranges to have his heroin supply laced with rat poison, and advises D'Angelo to stay off the drug for a few days. After several prisoners die, Avon testifies against Tilghman and receives a reduced sentence. D'Angelo refuses to take part in the plan and, disgusted by his uncle's immorality, declares that he wants nothing more to do with his family.

Stringer Bell grows afraid that D'Angelo may inform on the organization, knowing how close he had previously been. He hires a contract killer from DC, who in turn arranges for a prisoner to strangle D'Angelo with a belt in the back room of the library, and fake it as a failed attempt at autoerotic asphyxiation. No investigation is launched, although McNulty becomes convinced that it was a murder when he is belatedly informed about it.

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