Slow train comin’.

This week’s belated Wire thread. Stringer’s toast; don’t you think? I mean, isn’t one of the themes of this show that “the game is the game,” as our favorite Brother Mouzone says? He’s trying to change the game, and it won’t work.

Stringer’s out. Colvin’s obviously out. Cutty’s gotta be out. He’s this season’s man with a conscience. O-U-T.

But if Omar’s out I’m going to be crushed.

Ashley, take it away.

Posted at 8:44 am in Uncategorized |

17 responses to “Slow train comin’.”

  1. ashley said on December 1, 2004 at 3:16 pm

    Don�t worry. Omar ain�t out. Despite Butchie�s best intentions, Omar is about to be real in, real deep. There�s gonna be a showdown with Brother Mouzone. As Omar shot Mouzone, yet showed him respect, Mouzone will not off Omar. They both, however, are going to get to the root of the problem: Stringer telling Butchie that Mouzone whacked Brandon, and Stringer getting in the way of Avon hiring Mouzone to watch the shop. Don�t forget, they also both now know what really goes on in the funeral home.

    I don�t know about anybody else, but I loved the way DeAndre McCullough played the part of Lamar. Simon wouldn�t have cast him in such a big role if he wasn�t straight, and if you�ve read �The Corner�, or watched the miniseries, you can�t help but root for the guy. On top of all that, he�s incredibly believable as Mouzone�s assistant who doesn�t want to go into the gay bar.

    Nance, I can�t believe you didn�t mention the guy in the back of one of the gay bars. Rawls. Yep, that�s right, Deputy Ops Rawls is hanging out in a gay bar, prowlin�. As much as this guy has tried to ruin the careers of Santangelo, McNulty, and Daniels (among others), a guy like McNulty could use this to shake things up a bit. I imagine that nobody downtown has a problem with Griggs being a lesbian, but they probably would have a big problem with the Deputy Ops prowlin� in a gay bar.

    BTW, off topic, I had a revolutionary idea. I read that Dominic West was being considered for the new James Bond. Also, you probably read that many believed that Vin Diesel as XXX is yanking the spotlight from James Bond, and that more young people would prefer to watch a XXX styled character. With that, I ask you: what is the criteria for being James Bond? Well, you have to look good in a tux, you have to be somewhat athletic, and you have to have a British accent. Might I propose an actor for the James Bond character: Idris Elba. He meets all the criteria, and you just know that a black James Bond would fill the theatres. Just a thought.

    I don�t know how out Colvin is, either. You may have noticed in the “coming attractions” the conversations between Burrell and Carcetti. I�m thinking that Burrell and the brass may try and save their collective asses by somehow pinning the whole Hamsterdam operation on the mayor. Think about it: if they can somehow hijack the Sun story and say that Hamsterdam was the mayor�s idea, then they come off somewhat clean, and all they do is burn a mayor or a councilman. That�s not ideal, but it�s a whole lot better than carrying the load themselves. The whole mess will probably depend on who can manipulate the Sun reporters.

    The other people to now know what goes on in the funeral home are Colvin and McNulty, thanks to CI Stringer Bell. I think that when String gave the documents to the runner to take to Levy, he was probably getting rid of all the documents that show the legitimate business dealings of the organization. Now, if the place is raided, all they will find is drug money and drug paperwork.

    Cutty is still holding on. If he can teach boxing to some kids, he can resolve a bunch of loose ends, and hold his head high. Only thing, Avon may use Cutty�s ring as a training camp for new soldiers. Cutty may stay on this season.

    Congrats to Simon and crew. With only two episodes left in this season, you have given us a stone cold whodunit, as opposed to the dunkers that the rest of television forces upon us.

    That being said, there�s only two more episodes! Hopefully, we�ll get another season or two of �the best damned show on television�. The thing I like best about this show is that it truly is a story. Oz seemed to be an exercise for Tom Fontana to see what he could get away with. The Sopranos has evolved into David Chase�s �I bet I can do anything, including totally tangential episodes, and they�ll still watch�. I just can�t do Carnivale. Deadwood, I like, in a perverse sort of way. And pretty much all network stuff is crap.

    The Wire is just da bomb, homes!

    Link of the week: What are you going to do the Saturday before Christmas? You gonna be near DC? Why not spend it with the cast of The Wire?

    Don�t forget: no episode this Sunday. Penultimate episode the 12th, final episode of season 3 the 19th.

    4409 chars

  2. ashley said on December 1, 2004 at 3:22 pm

    Looks like the previous hotlink didn’t take. Here you go: The Wire official season finale party.

    171 chars

  3. Nance said on December 1, 2004 at 3:37 pm

    My god, it’s Poot! With a pencil-thin moustache!

    When L.L. was here last summer, we chatted briefly on how much economic development the show brings to Baltimore. With the exception of a few specialty tasks jobbed out to New York, it pretty much employs all locals. I guess Poot needs to earn a living, too.

    Sorry to not mention Rawls. I had to laugh when, a few minutes later, he calls Bunny a brilliant cocksucker. Talk about compartmentalization.

    455 chars

  4. brian stouder said on December 1, 2004 at 5:06 pm

    I suspect that blue-state leftists (amongst others) enjoy this show as a sort of guilt-inducing, right-minded affirmation of all their worst fears (and cherished biases) about how the ‘hood and urban America REALLY operates, as much as the creative craftsmanship and capable story-telling therein;

    much the way red-state rightists once swarmed over Dallas (et al) as a sort of right-minded morality play affirming all their most cynical suspicions about how “the rich” and gated-community-America REALLY lives…or Bonanza (et al) for a morally upright version of stylized American history.

    not that there’s anything intrinsically wrong with that!

    It’s just that as fate would have it, the episode of Nance’s Wire show that I saw was approximately as relentlessly, remorselessly violent as pretty much anything I’ve ever seen..leaving me somewhat mystified at the depth of devotion to that show reflected by some (here and elsewhere)…and we won’t even talk about Deadwood.

    Just as The Wire struck me as Hill Street Blues but with all variations of the word “fuck” in it, plus lots of blood, Deadwood is just Bonanza but with the same additions

    1158 chars

  5. brian stouder said on December 1, 2004 at 5:06 pm

    I suspect that blue-state leftists (amongst others) enjoy this show as a sort of guilt-inducing, right-minded affirmation of all their worst fears (and cherished biases) about how the ‘hood and urban America REALLY operates, as much as the creative craftsmanship and capable story-telling therein;

    much the way red-state rightists once swarmed over Dallas (et al) as a sort of right-minded morality play affirming all their most cynical suspicions about how “the rich” and gated-community-America REALLY lives…or Bonanza (et al) for a morally upright version of stylized American history.

    not that there’s anything intrinsically wrong with that!

    It’s just that as fate would have it, the episode of Nance’s Wire show that I saw was approximately as relentlessly, remorselessly violent as pretty much anything I’ve ever seen..leaving me somewhat mystified at the depth of devotion to that show reflected by some (here and elsewhere)…and we won’t even talk about Deadwood.

    Just as The Wire struck me as Hill Street Blues but with all variations of the word “fuck” in it, plus lots of blood, Deadwood struck me as just a Bonanza retread but with the same additions

    1178 chars

  6. brian stouder said on December 1, 2004 at 5:07 pm

    oops! sorry about the reverb!

    29 chars

  7. Mary O said on December 1, 2004 at 5:46 pm

    Wow — You all pretty much covered the waterfront, though I’d like to add a few remarks, this being my first foray into the thread:

    1. Idris Elba as James Bond gets my very enthusiastic vote!

    2. I loved how Carcetti’s wife was reading Dennis Lehane during their bedtime conversation — just like McNulty rattling off the names of “real po-lice” the week before, and including Ed Burns.

    3. I think Omar will definitely live to see another season, if they have one. The Wire is not afraid to kill off important characters (D’Angelo last season) but I think Omar is just too much of a flashpoint to cast aside. Then again, I could be wrong. I can’t decide whether Cutty lives or dies, though.

    4. Regarding the comment about the violence: This was possibly one of the most harsh (I think a few of them have been slightly more outright violent) episodes in my memory of the three seasons. Everybody’s getting killed, set up or dismissed, and it’s done with such cool dispatch that it felt sort of depressing. The scene with Marlo killing the girl — I haven’t seen anything that graphic on this show.

    5. Colvin: What a tragic figure. Do you think he’ll lose both the pension and the Johns Hopkins job because of Hamsterdam?

    1234 chars

  8. Nance said on December 1, 2004 at 5:54 pm

    I think you’re reading a bit too much into it. I really like this show simply because it’s an interesting experiment in TV storytelling — a novel for television. That’s been tried before, but I think Simon et al do it better. I’m always impressed by the subtlety of their characterization, and the refusal to take the easy ways out.

    If you’re looking for a political subtext, I think others are far more apparent — the futility of the war on drugs; the temptation of crime in the absence of viable alternatives for a better life; and, this season, the role of political systems in perpetuating the whole thing.

    It doesn’t hurt that Simon tends to state these things out loud in interviews.

    I agree, the violence can be off-putting, but I’m an American and I barely notice this stuff anymore. Violence is as American as cherry pie, right?

    920 chars

  9. ashley said on December 1, 2004 at 7:08 pm

    Brian: Jeez, man, it ain’t all red-state vs. blue-state. Kind of reminds me of the Yahoo commercial where Ben Stein and Al Franken talked about what the other side used the internet for. Stein said it was so democrats could find trees to hug, and Franken said it was so republicans could find trophy wives and yachts.

    The fact of the matter is that “The Wire” IS about how urban America really operates. Rather than just have writers pontificate about crap, Simon and Burns spent several years in the middle of it. Read “The Corner”. It’s fact, not fiction. The good thing is, Simon doesn’t have to sugar-coat the story for higher ratings. As the companion book says “the truth be told”.

    And comparing “The Wire” to “Hill Street Blues”? Maybe “Hill Street Blues” to “NYPD Blue”, but not “The Wire”. If nothing else, “The Wire” has shown me enough local color to let me believe that I could enjoy living in Bawlmer.

    Nance: My European wife is still shocked by the violence on TV, but many broadcast series are much more gory than “The Wire”. Hell, last night she about lost her cookies during “Iron Chef” when they were fileting live turtles.

    Admittedly, Marlo’s last job was decidely nasty. I did like the effect of the smoke coming out of the girl’s mouth. This was simply to show that Marlo is one cold mofo.

    Typically, “The Wire” doesn’t overdo the gore portion, but they do make it have impact. When Bodie and Poot shot Wallace, they didn’t have to show a lot of blood, but the inhumanity of it made me puke. Literally.

    And it took me several takes before I realized that the guy in the flyer with the mustache was Poot. Then I realized that the mustache wasn’t what threw me; it was the do-rag covering up his receding hairline.

    Mary: Thanks for joining the party! I also liked the Dennis Lahane credit. “The Wire” does this all the time, and it’s hard to catch them all. Ed Burns was the only name I recognized from the list of real po-lice last week, but there could have been more. The one that’s most obvious this season is having Jay Landsman play a character, and having someone else playing a character name Jay Landsman. Landsman, of course, was one of the sergeants in the homicide squad from the book “Homicide: a year on the killing streets”.

    Like I said in last week’s discussion, I think that Simon is setting us up with Cutty, so they could whack him big time. I’m hoping against hope that he’ll make it through this year and the next.

    I hadn’t thought about Colvin losing the Hopkins gig because of Hamsterdam, but that is a very real possibility. Up until Hamsterdam, Bunny was a 30 year man on the force looking for the retirement and either a security job, a PI job, or a gig in the county. The gig at Johns Hopkins was perfect. If he loses that, then he may be sentenced to his own hell, like some king of public service thing.

    And as for both Rawls remark about Bunny and Deadwood being the new Bonanza, well, I was trying to watch my language here ever since I was chastised for quoting Vice President Cheney. ;^) That, and Nancy’s obtuse website censor which told me I couldn’t use the word “i n f o” because of objectionable content.

    3226 chars

  10. Nance said on December 1, 2004 at 7:35 pm

    A word about violence: This is entirely a personal preference, but I’ve never been bothered — too much — by violence like that on “The Wire,” which makes its own sort of sense and feels organic to the story. I frequently peek at Scorsese movies through my fingers, but it never offends me.

    Whereas I cannot watch “CSI” because of the leering nature of the violence there. And most times, it’s not even violence we see, but its aftermath. And yet, if they want me to swallow it without complaint, they’re going to have to stop putting Marg Helgenberger is skin-tight jeans and dial down the budget of the lab by, ohhhh, say 80 percent.

    648 chars

  11. jim said on December 1, 2004 at 8:12 pm

    I am new here but am a huge fan of the wire. What is of interest to me now is Stringer. If he is turning snitch against Avon and Marlo to save his chances at going legit he has some unforeseen trouble playing out his plans. It is good for city police to put away the main characters responsible for all of the dead bodies on the corners. However, I have heard many times on the show that the feds are only interested in politcal corruption or terrrorism. So is there going to be conflict between the feds and the city over one individual who could be used to take down a politician with an open file like Senator Davis and Avon/Marlo? Also if Deangelo’s mother Brianna is the snitch and not Strang this further leaves the detail in arms over who to focus on, Stringer and his fed friendly case or Avon/Marlo and his murderous crew. I believe that while a number of characters may killed off at season’s end there will be enough unanswered questions and brewing cauldrons of conflict to fuel another season or two of the best series ever shown on tv. thanks for the ear.

    1079 chars

  12. Mary O said on December 1, 2004 at 8:56 pm

    Thanks for interesting feedback. I agree: This is a novel for television, and it’s the best yet. What I have found most interesting this season is how quickly Colvin’s little Hamsterdam experiment went south.

    I haven’t been in on previous week treads, but as a Blue State Liberal I was pleased to see the issue of legalization brought up in this context. And though not exactly surprised, I should say I was chastened to my Red-State Republican bones (I’m from the Intermountain West originally) when it turned bad so fast. It really put all the issues out there for you to see. And it was so depressing. It’s had me, as a resident of Maryland who lives just north of the D.C. line and who works in D.C. every day, thinking hard about what to do. And I have no answers.

    So yes, it’s just damn good storytelling.

    817 chars

  13. kim said on December 1, 2004 at 8:59 pm

    Anybody else wince at the lame-but-all-too-believeable reporter who has a guided walking tour of Hamsterdam yet, when Bunny pooh-poohs a story at this point, rolls over and plays dead? Puh-leeze. I think Simon has called journalism remarkably ineffectual, and the Sun reporter’s reaction is like a big blinking arrow above the drain around which much journalism circles. You just know Bunny was thinking that between the no-po-lice, the reporters and the politicians, the city doesn’t stand a chance.

    Here’s where I think the story is headed: Carver is going to learn how to be po-lice by reaching into the goodwill he built with the hoppers during the Hamsterdam days. He’ll do it with Cutty, who will live — not long, but long enough to be the tragic hero who helps Carver finally earn the respect he’s craved but not yet deserved.

    Burrell will (finally!) turn to Carcetti, who’ll help him take down the mayor. Or not. Remember, people/voters like the Hamsterdam effect more than they like having shot-up kids on their corners.

    Stringer-Avon — can this end any way but a duel? Or maybe they both go: Brianna takes out Avon for sanctioning her son’s murder, and Stringer gets it from Omar for the botched hit. Never on a Sunday, guys. Which leaves, of course, the heir apparent for the next season: Marlo!

    One last thing: Pearlman’s Basic Instinct maneuver was almost as funny as Rawls’ tousled-hair belly-laughin’ at the gay bar.

    1446 chars

  14. ashley said on December 2, 2004 at 1:44 am

    Pearlman: “an excellent legal mind”. Nice gams, too. Wonder if she was goin’ commando that day.

    I watched the coming attractions again, and I zeroed in on Avon telling Stringer that if he had a problem with them, that was on him. Hmmmm…. who could Stringer have a problem with? My guess is the combo of Mouzone and Omar. Both of these guys are big-time muscle, but they are also the most intelligent guys on the other side of the line. I’m still betting that they talk through everything, and decide that Stringer is the bigger problem for them, not Avon, and not each other.

    “Remarkably ineffectual”. Yep, that ’bout sums it up. Now to see how they spin it. Bunny is just hoping he can make it to 30, then they’re on their own.

    On Homicide, Brodie was simply a device, not a character. I think they may try to use the Sun reporter the same way. Simply a conduit. The powers that be will spin, manipulate, and twist that story until the truth is so far removed, you’ll have to go back and watch the DVDs to find out what really happened.

    I like what Kim said about Carver, but he still may not get respect. The only guys who are on his side are Burrell (who bribed him with the 3 stripes) and Bunny (who told him he knows nothin about policin’), and at least one of them will be gone in 3 weeks. Although Carver may go for the higher reward, self-respect, kind of like Sydnor did at the end of the first season.

    People like the Hamsterdam effect, but can any of the mayoral candidates use that for their advantage? If anybody says in public that they want to continue Hamsterdam, either they will get spun out by the other candidates, or the Feds will come in on a RICO — but maybe that’s part of the bigger plan.

    I hadn’t thought about Brianna ratting out Avon. The person who did the ratting even knew that Avon’s name was on the papers. I thought that Brianna’s name was on the papers — that was part of the scheme so that Avon didn’t come up on any paper trails.

    How could this have happened? Either Brianna or Avon or Levy had power of attorney for Avon while he was in prison. My guess is that it was never rescinded, and somebody did this recently to try to nail Avon.

    Stringer has no friends. Even Omar has Butchie. Stringer’s time may be winding down.

    2313 chars

  15. Nance said on December 2, 2004 at 4:57 pm

    Most excellent comments, everyone. I agree with Mary O that Hamsterdam is the really interesting thing about this season, and one reason I so admire these writers.

    A friend of mine is a libertarian, and sometimes I suspect he read a magazine about libertarianism, put it down and said, “OK, that’s me.” To him, the answer to the drug war is legalization, end of discussion. There’s no, “and then what?” to consider, because once it’s legalized everyone’s responsible for themselves and it’s not the taxpayer’s problem anymore.

    It would have been easy to make Hamsterdam what Bunny hoped it would be, but when in life does anything ever go that way? Turning it into a sewer of despair was a much braver choice, and a way to show that everything has its price and everyone pays, one way or another.

    I’m also impressed at how women were portrayed this season. Not so much in the main characters, but the little, revelatory bit parts — the woman in the school gym who can shut down the rowdy kids with a few words; Omar’s grandma getting her church crown knocked off and the ruckus that caused; the young women who trade sex for what tiny shred of respect they can get for it. How do these women go from being the bitch-slapped girlfriends to the beloved grandmas? By having children themselves, which only perpetuates the cycle.

    1337 chars

  16. ashley said on December 2, 2004 at 8:49 pm


    Most of the legalization advocates that I have talked to have said “legalization, but with regulation”. Meaning: tax the hell out of it. Kind of like what Canada does with cigarettes and liquor, but to a much higher degree. Supposedly, this would help pay for all of those needle exchanges, condoms, and clinics.

    To a degree, I don’t see how Hamsterdam is much different than the idea of a junkie going to the clinic to get his government-paid dose of methodone. It’s still basically a government-sponsored sanctioning of drug use. It ain’t Zurich’s Needle Park, but it’s close.

    We can’t legislate morality, but we can segregate drug users. At least Bunny had it right by putting Hamsterdam in unpopulated areas. The alternative helps no one.

    Remember when Kima asked Bubbles if there was anyone on the West Side he didn’t know? He said “Citizens”. Those that live around the Corners know how to differentiate between taxpayers, and those who are in the game. You think that the Mayor would have hesitated to fire everybody unless there was a 14% drop in crime? Because the citizens are happier, there is some worth to it.

    Hamsterdam is hell on earth for those that live there…but they aren’t taxpayers. It’s a start.

    1459 chars

  17. Danny said on December 3, 2004 at 10:06 am

    We can’t legislate morality

    Ash, not sure about this whole thread as I have never seen the show and just don’t have much use for TV, but I somewhat disagree with that premise. I assume that your statement, in this context, was meant to apply to “victimless” crimes, but, in general, our laws are derivative of morality, ethics and natural law (e.g. proscriptions against murder, theft, etc.).

    406 chars