Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, February 16, 2019

“The Wire” Diaries: All hell breaks loose



The buildup of suspense throughout the majority of the first season of “The Wire” begins to culminate in episodes 10 and 11. “The Wire” so far appears to be the antidote to action-heavy police dramas, where arrests, busts, shootouts and chases occur almost every episode. This pair of episodes bear some resemblance to a more typical procedural due to the intense action occurring in each. However, because it’s “The Wire,” the action is more meaningful, realistic and emotionally hard-hitting. On to the recaps!

Episode 10, “The Cost”

Omar Little and Stringer Bell have a power meeting (what I can only equate to one of the conferences between Winston Churchill, Joesph Stalin and Franklin Delano Roosevelt) and negotiate a truce. Omar, wearing a wire, collects new information for the detail, but then leaves Baltimore for New York.

The detail arrests Wendell “Orlando” Blocker (Clayton LeBouef, “Homicide: Life on the Street”), and decide to use him to make a “buy bust” to catch someone in the Barksdale organization selling drugs. Wallace gives up information about the Barksdale organization, and Lieutenant Cedric Daniels takes Wallace to his grandmother’s house on the shore since they cannot put Wallace into protective custody.

Jimmy McNulty’s wife, Elena (Callie Thorne, “Necessary Roughness”) calls him into court for an emergency hearing in an attempt to restrict his visiting rights with his children, as a result of McNulty making them spy on Stringer Bell.

Kima Greggs goes undercover as Orlando’s date to the buy bust. The operation was a setup, and Orlando is killed and Kima is shot and wounded by Wee-Bey Brice and Wintell “Little Man” Royce (Micaiah Jones, “Gathering Souls”).

Episode 11, “The Hunt”

Both the detail and Barksdale organization grapple with the failure of the bust, while Kima remains in critical condition. Major William Rawls and Seargeant Jay Landsman (Delaney Williams, “Veep”) conduct an investigation of the incident, while members of the detail such as McNulty, Daniels and Carver deal with their grief and frustration. Savino Bratton (Chris Clanton, “TORN”), the Barksdale representative involved in the shooting, is arrested and only charged with three years in prison.

Bubbles attempts to page Kima, but other police bring him in as a suspect involved in her shooting.

Stringer Bell orders Wee-Bey to kill Little Man, and Wee-Bey asks D’Angelo Barksdale to feed his fish while he is in hiding.

The police commissioner organizes a series of raids on known addresses of stash houses collected by the detail to make a Public Relations statement. Drugs, guns and money are discovered at several addresses. During the raid, Ellis Carver and Thomas “Herc” Hauk find a large sum of cash, and keep some for themselves. Daniels and McNulty discuss the possibility of a mole in the detail, keeping the higher-ups in the police department informed of their actions.

Thoughts, Observations, and Judgments:

Carver: “Just f**ing kill me now.” Exactly how I felt after the Bills game yesterday.

*Quick shoutout to how quippy the writing is on this show. So smart, so quick, so effective and still very believable.

*Any use of the term “parlay” makes me think of “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

*McNulty is now getting into legal trouble (in divorce court, mind you) over making his kids spy on Stringer Bell. This should be satisfying to me since I made such a big deal about it last week, but it’s actually a little sad.

*Is the real antagonist of the Baltimore Police Department its continued use of antiquated technology?

I’m sorry, but could Shardene Innes (Chandler from “Friends” voice) *be more obvious about spying on Avon Barksdale and Stringer?

*I wonder if Kima is ever not wearing a hat in the duration of this show.

*Shardene’s adorkable coke bottle glasses: 10.

*Ep. 11, 42:00: Kima isn’t wearing a hat! What is this?

*Omar is literally being “put on a bus” – a TV term for when a character leaves the show. But I have a sneaking suspicion he will be back, shortly…

*Now I feel guilty for the Kima hair questions/comments. Her hair was down for the entire bust operation where she was shot. Keep your hair up, Kima! Please survive, Kima!

*Stringer Bell: Sean John collection t-shirt? -1000.

*McNulty’s breakdown from listening to the wire of the night of Kima’s shooting was devastating.

*What was sadder than McNulty’s breakdown was Bubbles trying to page Kima. Then asking, “What can I do?” after learning she was shot.

*Wee-Bey explaining his fish names (specifically, Jezebel) to D’Angelo was hilarious. I also though D’Angelo was about to get murdered, too, so we shared that fear, D!

*Also Wee-Bey’s explanation for why Jezebel the Fish is hiding – “I dunno, she think she cute.”

*There wasn’t a lot for me to make funny comments about because I was so focused on the drama and emotion of the detail dealing with Kima’s shooting. The show has taken a darker turn and the past two episodes reflected a more soapbox-y attitude. McNulty’s monologue to Rhonda Pearlman about the nature of lawyers, judges and the justice system seemed a little preachy; the Police Commissioner’s order to “put the dope on the table” and the press conference that closed Episode 11 echoed the corruption present in all sides of the show’s conflicts.

McNulty’s monologue and the police press conference were effective and poignant, albeit direct and unable to ignore. I’m looking forward to closing out the first season next week. Thanks for joining me, and hopefully, we’ll see McNulty return to social binge drinking rather than grief-stricken drinking. Cheers!

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