Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, April 21, 2018

“The Wire” Diaries: New players, same game

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WALT JABSCO, FLICKR

Episode one: “Ebb Tide”

And so begins my coverage of Season Two of “The Wire!” Let’s check in with members of the old Barksdale police detail: Jimmy McNulty is stuck freezing in the marine unit. He takes a bribe from a party boat, then discovers a floating corpse in the harbor.

Detective Ray Cole (Robert F. Colesberry, “Mississippi Burning”) of the homicide unit fails to identify important factors in the body’s discovery, and Major William Rawls pushes the case to Baltimore County.

McNulty investigates the initial location of the body and gets the case reassigned to Baltimore City. Meanwhile, Kima Greggs and Thomas “Herc” Hauk remain in narcotics, bored with their lighter case assignments. On the Barksdale side, Stringer Bell visits Avon Barksdale in prison and they discuss business.

Did you think there were too many characters to keep up with on “The Wire?” Well, too bad. Because season two introduces many, many more in a subplot at the docks. Enter the Sobotkas: Frank (Chris Bauer, “True Blood”), Nick (Pablo Schreiber, “Orange is the New Black), and Ziggy (James Finley Ransone III, “Generation Kill”), prominent stevedores, or dock workers. Nick and Ziggy Sobotka meet with an individual called “The Greek” to discuss a shipping container which needs to be moved.

Officer Beatrice Russell (Amy Ryan, “The Office”) of Port Authority discovers “The Greek’s” shipping container, in which she finds the bodies of 13 dead women. How’s that for a cliffhanger?

Episode two, “Collateral Damage”

Different law enforcement agencies debate who should handle the Jane Does found in the shipping container. McNulty meets with Russell, and eventually has the case moved to the Baltimore homicide unit, Major Rawls’ department. Bunk Moreland and Lester Freamon buy McNulty 14 shots, to “celebrate” the reassignment of the case. McNulty drunkenly visits Rhonda Pearlman, where he tells her that he hopes to get back together with his wife. The Barksdale operation faces danger and discrimination in prison.

Previously unaware of the dead women in the shipping container, Frank Sobotka meets with his smuggler, and later with Major Stan Valchek (Al Brown, “Red Dragon”). Valchek assembles a unit to investigate the port.

Serge Malatov (Chris Ashworth, “Terminator: Salvation”), a dock worker, interrogates Sam (Gerard Ender, “Broadcast News”), a Turkish shipper. “The Greek” (Bill Raymond, “Law and Order”) arrives to finish the interrogation and learns that the crew of the ship carrying the girls were paying to have sex with the girls, and one girl was killed by a crewman. The other girls saw the murder, and the crew killed the other girls. “The Greek” has Sam killed.

Season Two of “The Wire” starts with more action than the first five or six episodes of season one combined, which is compelling me to keep watching. I’m more invested and interested than I was at this point in season one.

I like that “The Wire” didn’t abandon the Barksdale storyline, and that the show will rework the plot into the newly introduced Docks plot and possibly tie it to bureaucratic corruption. Season one showed its excellence, so I have high hopes for season two!

Stray commentary…

The year is 2003. McNulty is “freezing his b*** off” in the marine unit, where he specifically wanted to avoid. But he looks gorgeous in that little hat! And the BPD turtleneck.

*Bunk’s fedora screams swagger. It’s the 2003 version of Pharrell’s hat.

*Chris Bauer alert! And boy, is it jarring to hear him speak without a southern accent after seeing him as Andy Bellefleur on “True Blood” for seven seasons.

*I now automatically associate shipping crates with the season one flashbacks and climax of “Dexter.” So this season will continue to fill me with fear and dread.

*Actually screamed at Pablo Schreiber when he appeared onscreen.

*“Down at the docks” makes me think of “The Next Karate Kid.” And also “Batman Begins.”

*Loving Stringer’s dad sweater game. Actually more like grandpa sweater game. Welcome to season two.

*Still having conflicted emotions about Pablo Schreiber since my primary association with him is “Orange Is The New Black,” where he plays Officer Mendez and is filthy.

*Stringer’s leather jacket. I’m about it. Stringer stepped up his fashion game in the hiatus!

*“Rocky and Bullwinkle” references always make things better.

*When I first saw Beatrice Russell (Amy Ryan), all I heard was Michael Scott’s voice:“Holly Flaaaax!”

*McNulty wants to get fired at this point, right? Everyone knows every bad thing that happens to homicide is McNulty.

*Russell, how dangerous is it for you to drive with headphones on? (On, not in. They’re big, old, black Walkman headphones.

*I’m feeling very strong Clarice Starling vibes from Officer Russell.

*McNulty and Bunk are eating crabs. So Baltimore.

*What could be grosser than a raw egg in a beer? Sounds like Gaston from Beauty and the Beast’s drink of choice.

*Stringer’s gray scarf is a perfect nod to sweater weather.

*I assumed McNulty could hold his liquor better than he did, though. He’s Irish, after all!

*Rhonda Pearlman, mind reader: “But you’re not really Irish, are you?”

*McNulty: “I had 14 shots of Jameson. How’s that for green?” Okay, that is impressive.


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