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October 6, 2015

The Wire: Unconfirmed Reports

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jan 13th 2008 10:01PM

Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) and Officer Bobby Brown (Bobby Brown) examine a dead woman on The Wire.
(S05E02) "This ain't Aruba, bitch." - Bunk

No... it's not. Of course, Bunk was referring to the Natalee Holloway case from a few years back. The case (which added considerable fuel to the frenzy that surrounds "missing white woman syndrome" in the news outlets) was addressed because of what it implies. The question? What's it take to get noticed? What's it take to get proper news coverage and police investigation? As we've learned, 22 dead black males just don't make the cut. As Bunk and Lester reasoned, you need breasts, white skin, and a cheerleader's outfit for good measure. That or be a tourist.

McNulty put it best. "The game is rigged." It always has been though. A game suggests that there's an end in sight. Carver realized the futility in the war on drugs way back in the first episode of The Wire. Jimmy is finally catching on though. He's pissed that Major Crimes got dropped. He's pissed that he's back riding the rotation in homicide. And he's pissed that Marlo is getting a free pass. As a result? Jimmy is back to his full-fledged old self, going home with other woman and leaving Beadie to wonder why the other half of her bed is empty. That and the drinking. At day. At night. Whenever.

Now I realize that many people are appalled that he's doing this to Beadie. Bunk included. Don't even think about telling me you didn't see it coming though. Sober McNulty is not the real McNulty. Sober McNulty wouldn't be ballsy enough to completely compromise a crime scene and stage it so that the potential for a serial killer looms. Bunk walked out on Jimmy's latest mess, and despite the fact that McNulty will almost surely get nailed to the cross for this, it's still disturbingly brilliant. It hearkens right back to Bunk's comment. This ain't Aruba. It's Baltimore and what's it going to take to get noticed in Baltimore? To get media attention? To get Burrell and Carcetti fired up? Looks like Jimmy aims to find out.

Elsewhere, a majority of this episode focused on Bubbles. He's been clean for 15 months, attends regular NA meetings with Walon, and even helps out with dishes at a soup kitchen that he frequents. Did you see the way he scrubbed that pot though? The man is hurting. He's stifling his emotions as some sort of penance for his involvement with Sherrod's death. Walon sees it and told Bubs he needs to clear his mind and talk about it. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening. Bubbles is headed back down an all too familiar path and I fear that he may not be in for a happy ending by the series finale.

I mentioned Lester earlier and you may be wondering why he was even out drinking with Bunk and McNulty. Isn't he tied up with the Clay Davis case? (Clay, incidentally, had a stellar scene where he tried to plead his case with Burrell. Man... he sounded like a guy who knew he was guilty and had it coming. Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.) Anyway, back to Lester. Now I know he tried to tell Sydnor that this case will be a huge career boost, but I got the impression that he only said that to pacify Sydnor. The grunt work is done. All that can really be done now is wait on the court hearings to begin. Which left Lester plenty of time to stay on Marlo. It's funny if you think about it. This whole series, Lester has had a pretty easy time doing whatever he pleases. I loved how he was reading a magazine called "Miniatures." It's all in the details.

He saw what he wanted to though. Chris and Marlo met in the same alley twice within 24 hours. They know the heat is off and are getting sloppy. I had a feeling that he and Jimmy were going to try and bring it the case to Fitzhugh though. The second that Tommy pissed off that US Attorney, I was waiting for the FBI connection and we got it here. As Fitzhugh put it, Lester and Tommy couldn't get Fisheries and Wildlife to help out on the Marlo case. So for the time being, it really does look like the case is going cold. Hence Jimmy's new experiment. He's got some time on his hands now.

On to The Baltimore Sun. Scott Templeton has quickly become an unlikable person to me. He's passive aggressive, brown nosing, has this fake timid quality, and now come to find out -- he's a big fat liar. You can argue that it's lazy for David Simon to throw in a Stephen Glass angle simply because a newspaper was introduced into the story. Honestly, I don't see how you couldn't address it. I mean... this has to happen more than we think. Fortunately, we got a great scene where Gus grilled Scott for details and we got to see him scramble for answers. A little boy in a wheelchair trying to buy scalped tickets? It's too perfect for the Oriole's Opening Day piece that Scott was writing. It was too good to be true. However, he made the mistake of giving Gus enough to go on and actually look up past stories. I can't wait for the moment when Gus finally nails Scott in a lie. You know it'll happen.

Then there's Whitting. How is this guy a newspaper editor? He's so misinformed and ignorant and Gus sees thorough it all. He wants a Pulitzer worthy Dickensian (Hey! Like this show!) account of the way school children in Baltimore are shorted. The catch? Not too many details. Leave it brief, vague, and easy to read. Don't want readers to get bogged down in, you know, research. I like the way this is going though. We know that Scott is a snake now and Whitting assigned this "earth-shattering" exposé to him. It'll be his undoing. Scott wants the Pulitzer just as bad and I see a lot of fake quotes and imaginary school children in his future. Gus is going to have a field day when he puts the pieces together.

More thoughts and questions...

  • Is Odell Watkins the only one who thinks it's premature for Tommy to be running for governor? I sure as hell do. What's he going to campaign on? Baltimore is arguably in worse shape than when he inherited it from Royce.
  • I'm sure there's a plan for him, but at first impression, what's the point of putting Avon in between Sergei and Marlo? He brokered a deal of sorts to set up the meet (got Brianna a quick 100K), but it did feel a little pointless right? The same outcome could have been achieved by not having Avon reappear at all. It'll be interesting to see if Avon is true to his "I heart the west side" mantra though. I'd be willing to bet that he still holds a pretty big grudge with Marlo and wouldn't be surprised if he tells Prop Joe what Marlo is up to with Vondas and Sergei.
  • I wonder if there's any significance to that county homicide detective (Nancy Porter) that Jimmy ran into at the city morgue? Could the county take on the Marlo case? I doubt it. Even if they did, would the county have the same equipment as the FBI? I mean... a whole alley and attached lot needs to be wired for audio/video and there's no guarantee that they'll keep using that same lot as frequently as Lester has seen.
  • Snoop is hilarious! That whole scene with the "west coast drive-by" was hilarious. OK... gruesome, but c'mon. You laughed too.
  • I'm so glad Michael is starting to question Marlo and Chris. He's always been a good person I think. All it takes to get killed is some hearsay apparently. I wonder if Michael will ever say anything directly to Marlo? Letting that little boy at get away might come back to haunt him though.
  • I loved when Marlo called Sergei "Boris." Remember him in season two when he got called that? "Why always Boris?"

The biggest question on my mind? Marlo knows the cops are off him for the time being and he said he wanted "the cocks*cker." So... how's he going to lure Omar out of retirement? My one thought? Omar's grandmother. Stringer had no problem giving the green light when the grandmother was around. On a Sunday no less. Marlo is far colder than Stringer ever was. You kill his grandmother? That'll bring Mr. Little home.

Do you think Avon is playing Marlo?
Absolutely. Don't forget -- when the cops nailed Avon, he was gearing up to go after Marlo.136 (50.7%)
I think he's being straight. He never liked Prop Joe and hated when String gave him one of the towers.47 (17.5%)
Hard to say right now. He might have some other kind of deal with Sergei that we don't know about yet.85 (31.7%)

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Just FYI Baltimore county and Baltimore City are two separate entities, Baltimore City is not part of Baltimore County, so there is absolutly zero chance of McNulty getting help from them... check it out for yourself


Oh and O'Malley wanted to run after he was in office for two years, but his party made him wait running Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, figuring we would elect her because she is a Kennedy and MD is a mostly "blue" state. Instead Marylanders elected Bob Ehrilch, who made a cameo as a state police officer the first time Carcetti went to the state house.

Everybody in The Wire seems to be based off at least one real person, but please remember that they have all been changed for TV, so don't judge a real person by what their HBO counterpart does.

January 14 2008 at 7:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mr. Matt

In case you missed it... the reference "the game is rigged" comment originally came from Bodie just before he got "got" in season 3. This morrors the "a man must have a code" connection between Bunk & Omar.

And as a Baltimore resident there are some clear connections between Carcetti & O'Malley as well as Nerese & Mayor Sheila Dixon (the former city council president who took over the remainder of O'Malley's term as Mayor)

January 14 2008 at 6:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

After reading up on Martin O' Malley it does sound like Carcetti is very much like him...though O'Malley went on to become governor after quite a few years as mayor, so maybe Carcetti's end won't be similar.

January 14 2008 at 5:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My Girlfriend pointed out that a serial killer would be a wonderful way to force FBI/Federal attention to Baltimore. I wouldn't be surprised if McNulty's thinking he'll be able to reroute cameras and bugs from an ensuing investigation.

January 14 2008 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No, it's not shades of Obama. It's shades of Martin O'Malley - current Maryland governor and former Baltimore mayor. Carcetti is VERY O'Mally-like.

January 14 2008 at 2:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

in an interview i heard a few weeks ago, David Simon talked about personally knowing someone at the Sun who "Glassed" up his stories so it might be even more personal than just a fellow newsman.

Avon is involved in the 'boris' dealings because he runs the prisons. Nothing happens in prison without Avon getting a cut.

Carcetti running for govenor too soon? Shades of (cough) Obama (cough). Not saying, just saying.

January 14 2008 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You seem to imply that it's McNulty's drinking that gives him the courage to tamper with a crime scene. That somehow McNulty sober would not have the "balls". Seems to me that he's simply resentful and selfish, two characteristics that clearly come out when he's drunk. He doesn't care who he hurts by his actions. Other people have to play the same "rigged" game. If he doesn't like it, he should go back to a beat, or try working at the post office.

January 14 2008 at 12:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jonathan Toomey

Sapphire --

That would be Butchie and killing him would def. get Omar back in B'more...

January 14 2008 at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't know if you watch to see what's going to happen next week, but it looks like Marlo's crew is going to go after the blind bartender that Omar is close.

January 14 2008 at 11:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In terms of Sergei, more importantly--he flipped on the Greek in season 2, and now he is able to get word to them or act as a go-between? Shouldn't he be shanked, or in protective custody?

January 14 2008 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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