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

“The Wire” Diaries: Crime is a flat circle

Marcin Wichary, FLICKR

I like to find connections and meaning between life’s daily workings and my own TV watching habits. For example, the newest episode of "The Newsroom" ends with an FBI raid on the office's hard drives. Episode 11 of this season of "The Wire” begins with a police/FBI coordinated raid to find drugs. The staging of both attacks was scarily similar, despite the years that separate the shows.

Another TV-specific item I noticed over the weekend while watching "Sex and the City" reruns, and throughout "The Wire" is the presence of smoking. It's everywhere in 1990s and early 2000s TV, notably epitomized through the always smoking, shadowy antagonist named "The Smoking Man" in my beloved "X-Files." But smoking is hard to find on TV today, and what is portrayed is moderation: Frank and Claire Underwood sharing a cigarette on "House of Cards" demonstrates the limits of smoking on TV. It's just an interesting observation that perhaps represents the change in the public's attitude and governmental/societal/film industry regulations regarding smoking. But, a lot more than smoking happened in Episode Eleven.

Episode 11, “Bad Dreams”

As mentioned before, the Sobotka detail serves warrants to every person involved in the drugs, smuggling, and shipping crate girls. The detail continues to uncover evidence connecting the Greeks to the shipping crate girls, and decides to leave the number two man in the organization, Spiros "Vondas" Vondopoulos (Paul Ben-Victor, “CSI”), on the street.

Omar Little meets with Stringer Bell, who accuses Brother Mouzone of mutilating Omar’s former boyfriend, Brandon. So, after knocking his bodyguard unconscious, Omar just walked in and shot Brother Mouzone in the stomach. This confrontation is epic, and fits Omar’s personality so well, but becomes solemn when Brother Mouzone reveals that Stringer lied to Omar.

The Greeks attempt to offer assistance to get Ziggy Sobotka out of jail if Frank and Nicky Sobotka remain silent, but Frank had agreed to help the investigation. The Greeks conspire ominously as Frank approaches, and I think I know where this is going….

Episode 12, “Port in a Storm”

And season two ends the way it began: the police pulling a dead body out of the bay. But this time, it's Frank Sobotka. If there's one thing in which "The Wire" is grimly proficient, it's staging crime scenes. And that’s how “Port in a Storm” started. Bonus: if you're already missing Chris Bauer, catch him in a gloriously thankless comedic role as a small town cop in Bon Temps, Louisiana on "True Blood." RIP, Frank Sobotka. As misguided as your actions were, your intentions to help your family were pure. Also, RIP "True Blood."

In other news, Brother Mouzone survived his shooting. It’s just like that saying, "Whenever a door closes, a window opens." Of course, I am speaking in terms of the season-long "Wire" plot compared to the series arc, and how the deaths of Frank and life of Brother Mouzone will influence the rest of the series. This is relevant, because…

The Sobotka investigation stalls, and yet again, a few low-level arrests are made. However, the higher-ups in the Greek organization escape Baltimore, despite contributions made by Nicky Sobotka to implicate them. Because there are no happy endings in real life, the drug trade, prostitution ring, and normal police activities resume. And with that, I’m done with Season 2 of “The Wire.”

Last thoughts of the season...

  • Stringer listing everyone Omar helped to put in jail made me laugh.
  • I think there's only been one instance of Stringer standing in public in broad daylight. Every one of his scenes takes place in a shadowy back room of bar, club, or store.
  • This show’s acting, writing, and cinematography continue to amaze me. I think it's time for me to start feeling outraged about "The Wire's" lack of Emmy's!
  • "You're a Sobotka."
  • "F***ed is what I am." True.
  • Russell's gray vest and red flowered button down do not make a great combination. I winced.
  • Animals on "The Wire" never live long.
  • Nicky Sobotka, your grieving and your normcore plaid shirts have not gone unnoticed.
  • Hello, Lance Reddick's back muscles!
  • "Missed it by that much!" - tagline of "The Wire." Looking forward to starting Season Three, after thoroughly enjoying Season Two.

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