Few TV shows have resonated and lingered in the minds of their audiences as fervently as HBO’s The Wire, and few moments embodied the systemic failures of society on the streets of Baltimore more so than the death of Michael B. Jordan’s Wallace at the hands of his own best friends. It’s only one of a litany of moments and stories that populate Jonathan Abrams’ new chronicle of the groundbreaking series, All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire, which reveals insights on almost every aspect of the show that a fan would want to know.
has released excerpts from the book, and the latest one sees Jordan recounting his final day on set, shooting the death scene of 16-year-old drug dealer Wallace. The moment of betrayal, coupled with D’Angelo’s cries of “Where’s Wallace?” cemented the themes and tone of the show during its first season that would permeate the show throughout its five-season run.
In the excerpt, Jordan reveals both the weight the death of Wallace carried and how the end of his time on the show inspired similar emotions to that death:
I kind of knew it was coming. Especially when you get that knock on your trailer door from David Simon. I’ll never forget it. He said ‘I love you. The audience loves you. We’ve got to kill you. We’ve got to kill you off.’ I remember telling my mom not to show up on set that day. My mom gets extremely emotional, and this was kind of too much. I didn’t want her to see it. It was a long time to shoot that shot. We definitely overshot that for sure. I remember them having to duct-tape the windows, so the lights wouldn’t go through, because were were going so late into the night, to the morning. But it was really quiet. The crew knew.
Everybody showed up. Even if they weren’t working, they kind of showed up on set. I knew Andrew Royo did, for sure. He was definitely a mentor of mine on that show. He showed up to help me get into the mindset and really talk me through it. I remember getting the squib under my shirt. They had a tube running down my leg with warm water for when he peed himself, when he got scared and shit. Me and J. D. Williams, who played Bodie, we’re both from Newark, New Jersey, and we both spent a lot of time on that show together, and I learned a lot from him over that show. We was just talking to each other, and then [when we started shooting the scene] it was like I didn’t even know him.
All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire is available now. Revisit our recent feature on the book here.