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October 6, 2015

The Wire: Took

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Feb 17th 2008 10:01PM

William F. Zorzi and Tom McCarthy
(S05E07) "They don't teach it in law school." - Pearlman

McNulty finally got his wish. After weeks of lies, Carcetti caved to the potential implications of a serial killer running amuck. For a man with aspirations to run for governor of Maryland, that can't happen. So Jimmy's case finally became a true red ball and the floodgates opened. Not even McNulty could have expected the insanity that came along with the department's complete cooperation. As it stands right now, McNulty can have anything or anyone he wants. While he and Lester had been feverishly awaiting this moment, it quickly turned into exactly what they didn't need.

Think about it. They're running one of the biggest scams in the history of the Baltimore Police Department, and now everyone from top to bottom is involved. With that many eyes assisting the investigation of the "case," someone has to notice something. A mistake in one of Jimmy's doctored case files? The discovery of Lester's dummy wires? A fresh report from the medical examiner on one of the dead homeless victims? Or maybe the discovery of Larry in that Virgina community shelter? Surely someone there must have seen those pictures of Larry posted somewhere. As Scott put it, "this case has legs," and legs means national coverage.

So... after placing the call (and sending the picture of Larry) to Templeton using a voice modulator, things happened fast for Jimmy and Lester. The Sun and the B.P.D. rallied their troops to ensure that this thing is covered and policed from all angles and then Phelan signed off on Jimmy's cell phone picture intercept tap. I loved the way that initial scene was set up though. I had to watch it a few times, but here's how it worked: Jimmy called Templeton through the voice modulator I mentioned and it was attached to Marlo's cell phone number. However, the outgoing trace signature was attached to a cell phone that Sydnor had down by the river. So when the call came through, Holley saw Marlo's number on the tap and Lester's re-routing of the number sent the signal to the phone Sydnor had. When the phone company ran the trap and trace, all Sydnor had to do was drop the phone into a magnetic bag, stuff it in his pocket, and walk away. As a result, the cops had to go about grabbing anyone (read: everyone) with a cell phone in that area. Scenes like that are so expertly laid out and I love that about The Wire.

Now I know I ask it every week, but here I go again: if this all plays out perfectly and Lester gets everything he needs to bust Marlo, is he really going to be able to attribute all this knowledge to an informant? I just don't see it happening. It's so much info and some of this has to be inadmissible right? How is he going to justify knowledge of the "clock code" without referencing the intercepted cell phone pictures? Speaking of which, they have a code to crack? Why didn't either Jimmy or Lester call Pryzbylewski? He's the master of cracking that stuff! (Remember season one? All you need to do is "jump the 5.")

OK, moving on to Clay Davis. I called it. He walked and as guilty as he is... it's probably justifiable. Bond's case just didn't have enough to nail him down. With the help of Billy Murphy (a sort of Johnnie Cochran/Jackie Chiles hybrid), Clay put on quite a show. The bottom line? Sure, his basketball charity may take in ten grand and the next day, Clay's personal bank account might show a ten grand deposit. But there's really no way to prove that he didn't take that money and buy what was needed for the charity and then give the rest of it away to needy constituents. Legal? Probably not, but it makes him sound like one hell of a good man and created enough reasonable doubt. How did the jury vote though? Was it unanimously not guilty or was it hung? Looks like the only way to get him now requires bringing out that federal loan falsification charge and Bond definitely doesn't want to do that. How else are you going to get Clay though?

A few "oh shiiiiiiiiiit" moments...

  • Omar shot Savino! At point blank range! Unprovoked! Omar does not kill people like that. He may shoot them in the leg or if need be in self-defense he'll pull the trigger, but Omar is not in the business of just killing people. You can argue that it's based on revenge for Butchie, but Savino didn't have a hand in that. On the flip-side, when Omar killed Stinkum, it was because Stinkum had a role in Brandon's death. For those that have no idea who Savino is, he used to be Barksdale muscle alongside Wee-Bey, Stinkum, and Bird before going to jail. Now he's running a stash house for Marlo. Bottom line? Omar has reached a breaking point. The man is hobbling around on a crutch and still scaring the crap out of people. I love how he's just destroying Marlo's drugs and money.
  • Michael wasn't molested by Bug's father. Well... he might have been. But the case file that Bunk dug up said the results were inconclusive. I'm guessing young Michael was just as talkative with the social worker years ago as he was with Bunk in the interrogation room in this episode. Damn near mute.
  • Gus did catch Scott in a lie! Last week, when he fed him that correction about Scott's seafood allergy lady, it was bogus. But since Scott didn't know that and didn't bother to look into it, he lied and said he did. Gotcha. As Gus points out, it's not that uncommon for a reporter to duck a correction... but it does mean that Scott is open to lying. Gus actually came out and said for the first time, "I don't trust him." While Gus and Rebecca are both on to him, especially with all the embellishments and exaggerations that Scott made during his homeless piece, it'll be interesting to see if either Klebanow or Whiting continue to take Scott's writing as gospel.

I also wanted to talk about Kima. One of my favorite ongoing stories in this show has been how she's slowly transforming into the female version of McNulty. It pretty much came full circle in this episode. In the past, she cheated on Cheryl (with Jimmy's help) and now she's in the same situation he was way back in season one. Elijah is visiting for one night and she has no kiddie furniture. Cue a nice throwback as we watched Kima attempt to assemble something from IKEA with a glass of wine, just as Jimmy did all those years ago with a bottle of Jameson. Just really well done.

And speaking of McNulty, what are your thoughts on his new Robin Hood mantra? He has all this manpower and money at his disposal and no use for it, so I suppose it's better than nothing and it is allowing actual police work to get done. You could see how Bunk was starting to get to McNulty as he was feeling guilty about the whole situation. I loved how it got all the way to Crutchfield and he knew the process without Jimmy saying anything. Then he called Jimmy "boss" as if he were Landsman. Hilarious.

More thoughts...

  • How great was that final scene with Kima as she tried to put Elijah to sleep? Goodnight moon. Goodnight stars. Goodnight Po Po, fiends, hoppers, hustlers, and scammers. Police work -- it's all she knows.
  • Awesome to see Day-Day Price again! He was hilarious on the stand when Bond questioned him.
  • Anyone else think that Tommy's gubernatorial campaign platform of homelessness is a little weak? It's sad to say, but once McNulty's "killer" is gone, I don't think people are going to care as much and that kills any steam Carcetti had.
  • "You got the right Allen wrench?" Hilarious.
  • I think my favorite moment of the episode was when Jimmy mentioned to Lester that Jay wanted him to go to Quantico to get an FBI profile for the killer. Lester's response? "You might learn something about yourself!"
  • Looks like Bubbles has found an outlet for his frustrations in Fletcher. I'm guessing Fletch will eventually get him to open up about Sherrod's death.
  • Richard Belzer! He only had a few lines and no one, other than the bartender, acknowledged him. So, the big question? Was he supposed to be just some guy? Or was he supposed to be Munch? Because if so, that would create a nice little connection with Homicide. Plus it would be about the millionth show that Belzer has portrayed that role on. Also of note? The character of John Munch was based on the real life Jay Landsman, who just so happened to also be in the bar. Landsman plays Lt. Dennis Mello, whom Gus sat done and spoke with. (Not to be confused with Delaney Williams, who plays Jay Landsman on The Wire. Got it?)
  • Not enough Carver this season.

Only three episodes left. Wow. Knowing that, something has to go wrong because I refuse to believe that this mess Jimmy has created can have a happy ending. Either him or Scott are gonna get nailed and from there, it falls apart for whoever's still standing. Jimmy's gonna wish he never came back to the major crimes detail at the end of last season.

Which do you think is more likely?
Klebanow and Whiting both know that Scott is cooking his stories, but are ignoring it because the writing is good and if the truth comes out then Scott will be the one to fall. Not them.71 (30.3%)
Klebanow and Whiting are completely ignorant and only care about winning a Pulitzer, regardless of what it takes to win.163 (69.7%)

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cuttie type

Wow.Only 3 eps left, that's depressing. seems like the whole b-more crew has so many more stories to tell. let's hope david simon does a "wire" movie. the "devil way down in the hole" song on the big screen, already gets me excited!! this is the only show on tv where the reruns are just as good, if not better, than the first time you watch it!

February 21 2008 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

loved the episode. does anyone know what song is playing in the background when omar is on the block during the day? it's 47 minutes into the episode. thanks :)

February 20 2008 at 12:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Since I heard this series was ending, I have been telling myself that I can accept any ending they come up with, except for Omar dying. But I've never seen him so compulsive, taking on such risk. It doesn't look good for him. I get the feeling that McNulty's little project is going to blow up in his face sooner than it succeeds in catching Marlo. And amen to the call for a Bunny Colvin appearance.

February 18 2008 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ben's comment

I too am worried about what kind of omen this is for Omar.

February 18 2008 at 11:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The death of Savino was not unprovoked because Omar made the point of asking Savino if he was going to kill Butchie had he been there and his silence was telling. Therefore, in Omar's mind, he had a reason.

February 18 2008 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"What kind of Scotch are you using?" Priceless.

February 18 2008 at 10:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

richard belzer was playing munch in the bar last night. he mentioned to the bartender, "i used to own a bar." in the last few seasons of homicide munch owned the bar where all of the cops hung out. it was weird seeing clark johnson walk right by him without acknowledging him because he was on homicide too.

and billy murphy, clay davis's lawyer is a well know lawyer in b-more. i grew up seeing him on tv there all the time.

bubles storyline played well last night. i've been bored by his character lately. and i agree, not enough carver! and where's prez, bunny, and namond?

February 18 2008 at 9:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

NPR has a story that it was Munch, and it was his 8th show.


February 18 2008 at 8:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mr. Matt

Next week's episode (available on FiOS On Demand, and others I believe as well) is un-freaking-real. Brace yourselves for some heart-stopping shockers.

February 18 2008 at 1:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mr. Matt's comment

I downloaded it. I wish I never did.

February 19 2008 at 10:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Clay Davis' lawyer is a real lawyer in Baltimore:


Also, I won't be surprised to see Prez show up in the next episode. They have shown just about every previous character and it's Prez's turn.

That last scene was wonderful wasn't it? If that was the last scene of the show I would have been fine with it. The episode was written by Richard Price and he lifted it directly from his novel Clockers.

February 17 2008 at 11:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Borat's comment

Unbelievable. Nice find!

February 19 2008 at 12:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Since I started watching the Wire a little while back I found myself watching Homicide:Life on the Streets. Which is a great show, and yes I caught the Belzer cameo. I swear Munch should be a dam Police Chief by now. Jimmy is way over is head, and I love Bunks angry style cause he is actually doing great police work.

February 17 2008 at 11:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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