Friday, June 20, 2008

The Wire, Season 1, Episode 4, "Old Cases" (Veterans edition)

Once again, we're going to talk about season one of "The Wire" in two different versions: one safe for people who are brand-new to the show (or who haven't watched all the way through to the end), one where we can talk about anything from first episode to last. This is the latter; scroll down for the newbies edition if you want to be protected from discussion of things that are still to come, both this season and in later seasons.

Spoilers for episode four, "Old Cases" -- and a word of warning that due to the episode's nature, this post will feature extensive discussion (and, on occasion, reproduction) of a certain four-letter word -- coming up just as soon as I try to prove a negative...


Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

The fuck?

Fuck it. Motherfuck!

In the seemingly neverending debate about "The Wire" vs. "Deadwood" (in which I took part at one point), one of the arguments in favor of "Deadwood" is the idea that David Milch's use of language is so beautiful and so exact that it elevates his show to a level that "The Wire" (or "The Sopranos," or any other great TV drama) can't quite reach. I would certainly never speak ill of the amazing "Deadwood" dialogue, but I think it's only fair to point out that "The Wire" had its own moments of gorgeous, precise employment of nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives. And nowhere is that more obvious than in the justly-celebrated scene where McNulty and Bunk go over the Diedre Kresson crime scene, uttering nothing but variations on the F-word.

It's a goddamn symphony of profanity, is what that scene is, at once shockingly funny (as you realize just how many times the F-word is being uttered, to the exclusion of all else) and unexpectedly brilliant (as you realize that the two cops are quickly getting to the bottom of what happened here). It's almost a parody of the idea of doing a cop show on HBO, and yet it conveys so much about how smart Jimmy and The Bunk are -- and how well they work together -- that they can figure out so much about Kresson's murder and communicate it to each other using only that word.

What, of course, sets it up so beautifully is the earlier scene where D'Angelo, irritated with Bodie's bravado about escaping from juvie, walks Bodie, Wallace and Poot through every detail of the crime. That scene serves other purposes -- notably in continuing the tension between D'Angelo, who questions the way they do business, and Bodie, who blindly follows the rules of The Game -- but its primary function is to act as a road map so that we don't need any kind of expository dialogue -- or any dialogue of the non-F-word variety -- when Bunk and McNulty go into that apartment. We know exactly how this murder went down, and so we can just appreciate watching these true professionals at work.

(Getting back to the notion of "The Wire" as a show that teaches you how to watch it, by later seasons Simon won't even need to resort to that level of hand-holding. There's a sequence in season four where we watch a Homicide cop silently work through a murder scene and slowly put all the pieces together, and by that point, a preamble isn't even necessary. The show's visual language, and our own understanding of how a good detective studies a scene, will be all we need to fill in what's left unsaid.)

But if the legendary "fuck" scene teaches us what a natural police McNulty is, the bulk of "Old Cases" is devoted to illustrating the ways in which his personality flaws -- his addiction to himself, as Sgt. Jay Landsman puts it -- constantly get in the way of people noticing just how good he is.

Sure, his knowledge of Baltimore street crime is so encyclopedic that he can cite No-Heart Anthony's home address without prompting, and he and Bunk are like magicians when they work together, but McNulty is constantly getting in his own way. We already know that he cheated (with Ronnie Pearlman) on his soon-to-be-ex-wife Elena, which no doubt explains her hostile demeanor towards him, and we've seen countless examples in just these four episodes about how Jimmy's need to prove himself the smartest guy in the room causes him to violate protocol, common sense and even (in the case of refusing to take a sick day for the raid last week) basic decency.

Jimmy may not always be the smartest guy in the room, but he's self-aware enough to recognize this. You can see he's already starting to regret his tight bond with Judge Phelan, who's just digging Jimmy's grave by pushing Burrell to continue the Barksdale detail. (Landsman charming Rawls into giving Jimmy two weeks to wrap up the detail and come home clean won't do him much good if they're going to start writing wiretap affidavits, will it?) And when Lester Freamon -- who, in the story of how he wound up in the pawn shop unit for 13 years (and four months), proves that our cuddly housecat is really just an older, possibly smarter, but just as stubborn version of McNulty -- warns him about not letting the bosses know where he doesn't want to be transferred, you can see Jimmy immediately flashing on that conversation from "The Target" where he told Landsman that he'd never want to ride a boat for the marine unit.

When Bubbs, the wisest fool in all of Baltimore, gets a glimpse of the clean and bright neighborhood where Jimmy's kids play soccer, only to return to another burnt-out street in West Baltimore, he notes that there's a "thin line 'tween heaven and here." This is one of the core statements of "The Wire" (and the inspiration for the title of an outstanding "Wire" site), as the show is about all the people who fall over to the wrong side of that line, and how impossible it is to get back across. For the most part, the line represents the barrier between ordinary citizens like Elena or even the late Ms. Kresson and players and hustlers like D'Angelo and Bubbs, but the Baltimore PD has its own versions of both Heaven (elite units like Homicide) and Here (do-nothing squads like the pawn shop unit). Lester was already tossed over that line for valuing pride over common sense (as Jimmy notes, he could have easily made his case without the fence) and only made his way back by a fluke and some determination (he kept coming to work long enough that anyone who remembered his punishment were gone when the call for humps arose), and Jimmy can see that he's in very real danger of being cast out of heaven if this goes much further.

And yet, as we continue to see here, the Barksdale crew is both a worthy and challenging target, a tough, disciplined bunch who can't be got by ordinary methods -- see Marvin taking a mandatory five years in prison versus risking the wrath of Avon -- and who have more than one civilian body on their side of the ledger. If Jimmy's going to jeopardize his career in order to go after a bad guy, Avon seems as good as any.

Herc and Carver once again don't get it. Even if Bodie hadn't escaped from Boys Village (Here) and headed back to the Pit (for him, Heaven) through the simple luck of being left unattended in his civilian clothes with a mop bucket nearby, we know there's no way that Carver's proposed scare tactics would have put a dent in his gangster armor. As Herc learns from Bodie's grandmother -- a bit of information I confess I had forgotten all these years later, and one which makes me look at young master Broadus very differently now -- Bodie was orphaned at age 4, and had spent the years leading up to his mother's death being dragged around the fringes of The Game by her. (In that way, he's no different from the baby that Omar coos over before hooking up the mother with some dope. That kid will be very lucky to grow up to be anything other than another Bodie.) Bodie may be a knucklehead himself, the Herc or Carver to D'Angelo's Kima, but he grew up hard and remains hard, and if those two morons had shown up at Boys Village before he walked away, he would have either stared them down or simply laughed in their cop faces.

No, traditional methods have no real way of working with Avon's crew, which is why Jimmy and Kima and now Lester are going to have to employ every bit of creativity at their disposal in order to get them. And if it takes more than two weeks -- as we almost certainly know it will -- then what happens to McNulty?


Some other thoughts on "Old Cases":
  • "Who uses pagers anymore?" As I've mentioned, this season's arc was inspired by work Ed Burns did on several drug crews in the '80s, and so we get the Barksdales using outmoded technology. (Possibly purchased from Dennis the Beeper King on "30 Rock"?) But because the cops comment on this, it works, and because Lester points out the counter-surveillance advantages of pagers versus cell phones, it makes Avon, Stringer and company seem that much more impressive.
  • The show's visual style, as laid down by Clark Johnson and Bob Colesberry, rarely called attention to itself, but there are a couple of stand-out images in this one. The most obvious is Bodie throwing rocks at the stationary surveillance camera in the Pit, which would become a memorable part of the opening titles for years to come, but there's also the transition between the dirty water in the mop bucket Bodie used for his escape to the coffee in Herc's cup as he and Carver drive down to juvie to scare him. Also, there's a nice moment at the end of D'Angelo telling the story of Diedre Kresson's murder when the camera takes a skyward view of the Pit, then pans over to the more prosperous skyline of downtown Baltimore, illustrating Bubbs' "heaven and here" remark.
  • Note that, at the gym, Stringer (despite his clothes) isn't really there to play basketball but to talk shop, and the one thing we see him do on the court is to set up Avon for an alley-oop dunk, as befits his role as Avon's number two.
  • We get another of the show's small handful of "Homicide" alums as Callie Thorne makes her first appearance as Elena. I never much liked her on "Homicide," but I think that was more a matter of her character, Det. Ballard, being poorly-conceived than anything to do with Thorne. She's fine here as the woman who has to play the bad guy because Jimmy's too busy playing Peter Pan.
  • After exploding on the scene last week with his hijack of the Pit stash, Omar becomes a much more unusual and interesting character this week. We find out not only about his brother No-Heart Anthony, but that he fancies himself a bit of a ghetto Robin Hood, doling out free dope to the truly wretched cases. And we find out that, to the horror of Avon -- who immediately ups his bounty upon hearing the news -- Omar is openly, proudly, defiantly gay, and that his young partner Brandon is also his lover.
  • The reveal of Omar's sexuality comes in the same episode where we get our first extended look at Kima's relationship with upwardly-mobile girlfriend Cheryl. It's interesting how being gay is viewed in the two different worlds. Omar is reviled for it -- even his other partner, Bailey, tries to make himself scarce as soon as Omar and Brandon get affectionate -- while Kima is able to thrive professionally, even though she has to deal with the usual innuendo (and occasional insults) from the likes of Herc and Carver. But the decision to include two prominent gay characters, neither of them defined solely by their sexuality, is part of the series' commitment to showing a panorama of modern American life, even if it's through the lens of a show about cops and dope dealers in West Baltimore.
  • The detail loses a body, albeit a useless one, when Pat Mahon (not Mahone, as I'd been previously spelling it) takes advantage of Bodie's assault to take a disability pension. Augie Polk, too scared (or smart, depending on your POV) to take Pat's advice about throwing himself down the steps to the detail office, is still on the job, but at the moment he, the mysterious disappearing Santangelo and word jumble-solving Prez seem to be neck-and-neck for title of biggest hump on the detail. Herc and Carver may be stupid, but at least they went along with Kima's plan to prove they couldn't follow D'Angelo.
  • Is it wrong that I was as charmed as Rawls by Landsman's masturbation story? Delaney Williams makes Jay's utter lack of shame seem like an admirable trait.
  • I should, I suppose, mention the pre-credits scene with the desk wedged into the door. But even though it's very funny -- particularly if you watch it knowing that Lester's smarter than these other guys put together, and therefore knows what's wrong -- and a commentary on inefficient bureaucracy, the scene kind of speaks for itself, no?
And now we come to the part where we can talk openly about what we know is to come. Ordinarily, I'd do bullet points, but there's one specific thing that I want to talk about at length here instead. Feel free to bring up any other plot or thematic foreshadowing in the comments.

D'Angelo is, of course, lying to Bodie and the other Pit kids about his role in Diedre Kresson's murder. We'll find out in the season finale that Avon just used him, without D's knowledge, to set up Wee-Bey for the actual hit. It's a really interesting choice for the show to make, I think, as it fundamentally changes our perception of D'Angelo between now and when we find out the truth in the finale. It's one thing for D to have killed another player in the heat of the moment, but quite another to think that he killed a civilian woman on his uncle's say-so, you know? And it complicates -- not eliminates, but complicates -- my desire to sympathize with him over his growing desire to get out of The Game. I'm not saying I loathed D from the minute he tells the story -- he could regret that killing as well, after all -- but I definitely viewed a lot of his later actions this season through a different lens than I otherwise might have if I knew from the jump that this was a lie.

It seemed so out-of-character for the series -- Simon and Burns rarely misled viewers about something that big, for that long -- and so I asked Simon why he chose to do it that way:
There are clues in HOW D'Angelo tells the story -- his dramatic hesitation at the moment of truth, when it comes time to actually describe him shooting her in the face after the tap tap tap -- he hesitates, can't say specifically what he did next. A character was lying, taking credit for being more gangster than he actually is. No way to show this without simply throwing the lie out there. It would be lame and false to have him confess his lie in the next moment, even to someone else. People don't behave that way. So he lies. But in the writing and performance there are clues to a careful viewer that something is amiss with D'Angelo's account. And ultimately, when we hear the true story, we are certain (or should be certain) what it is. He is telling Wee-Bey's story, claiming it for his own. It works with the Pit Crew -- save perhaps for Bodie, who still doubts. But even D'Angelo, as he lies, is taken aback by his own claims of brutality. Watch the performance again.

We didn't have Wee-Bey recount it because it was a better window into the soul of D'Angelo to watch him use it falsely and stumble through it emotionally. Wee-Bey would've just told the story, serving the overt plot only.
In this case, I guess, I wasn't a careful enough viewer. I'd like to say this is another thing that I would have recognized in hindsight once the show had educated me on how it worked, but because it's so unusual for their MO, I doubt it.

Up next Friday: "The Pager," in which the detail puts Jimmy's plan into action, while Wallace and Poot go to the arcade.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

Alan, it seems like Landsman's quick history review of McNulty's extended history in the homicide unit conflicts with the short "McNulty & Bunk" piece shot as a prequel before Season 5.
Or am I confused?

Anonymous said...

I also got that feeling when I watched the prequel. Also it differed in tone from the actual show, not in a good way.

Other than that, I have nothing to add about this brilliant hour of television. In fact, I can't think of a better hour of television. Even though the show is still mostly second act in these episodes, and we tend to remember big payoffs as the exemplars, there is so much to like here. If the previous three hadn't hooked me in, this one tied 'The Wire' ball and chain around my neck.

And excellently summed up, these reviews are that much better than the concurrent recaps, I guess for having the rest of the production complete and informing them.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, it seems like Landsman's quick history review of McNulty's extended history in the homicide unit conflicts with the short "McNulty & Bunk" piece shot as a prequel before Season 5.

I just checked, and Simon covered himself. In the prequel, then-Lt. Rawls tells Bunk that McNulty is due to be assigned to another Homicide squad as soon as somebody else retires, but for the first week or two, he wants Bunk to break him in right. So it all fits.

Unknown said...

Just a fun fact... the "fuck" murder scene investigation was filmed at my girlfriend's old apartment building in Cockesyville, MD.

Anonymous said...

D'Angelo's story reminds me of what happened at the end of Season 3 when Snoop was describing to some of the young people in her crew how Stringer begged Chris and her for his life before they executed him.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Marcus, the key difference between those two scenes is that we in the audience knew how Stringer really died, so we knew Snoop was lying. The only way to even suspect D isn't telling the truth is by being very good at reading body language.

Anonymous said...

One question on the style of this episode...after watching it last night (I break out the DVD every Thursday so I can be ready for this discussion every Friday am) it seems as if there are many scenes that end with a fade to black...I don't recall this in any other episode, and certainly not to this extent. Am I imagining things, or is this again part of the "tutorial" that slowly brings the viewer along and gives them pause as Simon and Burns are still flooding our senses with all of these characters. Later on, as educated viewers, perhaps we don't need to time to know who's who?
Also, on a side was fun to see Seth Gillaim in a L&O Criminal Intent last week...even though so many of them are OZ alumni, I just see them as part of the Wire Family.
Have a good week.

Ted Kerwin said...

Actually, three gay characters if you include Rawls. I actually watch the Rawls scenes when he joins in the sex talk to see if it was played in an over the top manner which would hint of his closeted nature but I cannot tell.

Anonymous said...

In one of the next episodes, we do in fact see Herc and Carver interrogate Bodie. Carver starts out in the room as the good cop with Herc waiting outside, Bodie retorts and Carver begins to beat down Bodie with Herc running in shouting "Hey! I"m supposed to be the bad cop!"

The disconnect between the west side streets and the soccer game (out in the County?) is starker than the contrast between the streets and the downtown offices of CID. Especially so when taking Bubbs a mile or two away to suburbia. "Where in the hell in Leave it to Beaver-land are you taking me?"

Deadwood's dialogue is so stylized with its own unique rhythm that you can't help but notice its style. The Wire's may be no less carefully constructed, but -- particularly in the first season-- strives for naturalism and authenticity so that you don't necessarily notice the rhythm and style. But after going on a Wire viewing binge, you may well find yourself talking more off-brand Ballmer street and poh-leece than warranted by the occasion.

Anonymous said...

I never believed D'Angelo killed Deidre. At the point he told the lie, I didn't even know he was talking about an actual murder. After his reaction to Gant's murder, I could not believe he killed a woman in cold blood. I thought he was making the whole thing up and Bodie's skeptical look just confirmed it.

I never got any sense that Omar was defiant and proud about his sexuality. I saw his openness as an aspect of his personal integrity, which he was defiant about.

I wonder how they would have pulled off Omar's role if he wasn't gay. Simon said there is a thematic correlation between a character's personal life and how tied he is to an institution. Omar is independent of any institutional ties and Omar has probably the most authentic and integral personal life of any of the major characters in "The Wire". Given his line of work, how do you have that kind of personal life without being romantically involved with someone you're running with? I suppose if Omar wasn't gay then he would have had to run with a woman.

Anonymous said...

I actually watch the Rawls scenes when he joins in the sex talk to see if it was played in an over the top manner which would hint of his closeted nature but I cannot tell.

Anything you might notice will be unintentional. John Doman has gone on record that he had no idea that Rawls was gay until he got the script for that season 3 episode. And to give him credit, it seems that he didn't even slightly modify his performance in subsequent seasons.

Anonymous said...

Also regarding Dee's false claim of murder, I don't think there's enough in that scene for use to assume that he is lying. However, I would say that the scene is played in a manner that makes it a possibility that exists in the back of your mind. When it's later revealed to be Wee-Bey, it is strangely unsurprising. I spent most of that first season thinking, "Yeah, Dee killed that girl." However, when Dee later says that it was Wee-Bey, I thought, "Yeah, that makes sense." I wasn't in any way taken aback by the revelation. That leads me to think that the initial scene with Wee-Bey left me with a subconscious impression that he might be lying even if the thought didn't actively occur to me while I was watching it.

Unknown said...

I've always believed Rawls showing up in the gay bar was a total throwaway, but one the writers just could not resist doing. It doesn't (necessarily) prove he's even gay, really, although I suppose it would make sense if he were that he would be slumming it there versus going somewhere he might be recognized.

Anonymous said...

Would someone please refresh my memory about the McNulty & Bunk prequel to Season 5 that is referenced in the first comment? Is that something that was outside of the episodes that were broadcast? TIA.

Mrglass said...

I'm not a fan of the "Fuck" scene. The Wire is best when it sticks to a documentary style, instead of caricature. All the fuck's are distracting in what should be an example of perfect police work.

Mrglass said...

@nfieldr: There were three flashback sequences about McNulty/Bunk (close to season 1), Omar (as a teen) and Prop Joe (as a kid). They were available online before the beginning of season 5, on the Amazon website I believe. Also on YouTube for a while but taken down later.

Anonymous said...

I love how nonchalant McNulty is about introducing Bubbles to Elena. He thinks nothing of it. Meanwhile, Elena is visibly taken aback and leaves Bubbles hanging out in the cold when he offers her a handshake and he has to pretend he was going to scratch his neck. It's a nice piece of acting by all 3 of them.

Josh said...

You can get all 3 of the prequel segments from "The Wire Season 5 Podcast" on itunes. It's free.

Daniel Novakovic said...

Hi Alan. Thanks for a brilliant blog.
I just started rewatching Homicide, did you ever write commentaries on that show?

Anonymous said...

mrglass, thanks for the info on the prequels. I remember the ones with Omar and Prop Joe, but completely spaced out the one with Bunk and McNutty.

And, Josh, thanks for the pointer for the prequels. I also found 'em on Amazon...

Anonymous said...

I think the infamous Rawls "gay bar" scene was a throwaway as well. It was inserted for cheap laughs. In addition to John Doman going on record as saying that he had no idea until he read the Season 3 script, the description of Rawls's character in The Wire: Truth Be Told book (which spans Seasons 1 and 2) is entirely different. His character was re-written in many ways. I attribute most of the added complexity to John Doman's superb acting.

Anonymous said...

mrglass - I can see where you're coming from. There's a moment in Season 4 (when Lester unravels the mystery of the rowhouses) which pretty much shows us what good poh-lice Lester is. It's five minutes, completely dialogue free, as Cool Lester Smooth examines the doors on the rowhouses. Puntuated by Bunk's awestruck "Fuck me..."

Still, regardless, the "Fuck" scene still feels real to me. It quickly establishes the working dynamic between Bunk and McNulty, that has clearly come from years working together. Also: they said a rude word.

Anonymous said...

In watching this episode, Omar is selling drugs. This is a clear disconnect from later episodes when he states, "I'm not a drug dealer." Do you think this is a mistake or showing the evolution of his character that becomes more brazen but also has the right to follow his morals more closely? (Recognizing the Robin Hood theme in the scene, obviously)

Anonymous said...

In watching this episode, Omar is selling drugs. This is a clear disconnect from later episodes when he states, "I'm not a drug dealer."

First, Omar's not selling drugs; he's giving them away. He does this to build up a layer of protection with junkies. I believe later in the season Stringer mentions that they're having trouble tracking him down because junkies are willing to help him hide. Second, I don't think Omar ever had a moral objection to drugs. Butchie, his mentor, is a drug dealer after all. In season 4, he states that he isn't a drug dealer not as any sort of moral declaration, but as a practical acknowledgment of how difficult it will be for him to sell off the huge shipment he had just stolen.

Anonymous said...

Omar did steal a lot of drugs over the years (in addition to watches, gold chains, other jewelry, etc). The show never really explored what he did with them. We're told that he gave some packages away to junkies in exchange for information and goodwill. I would assume he sold the rest to drug dealers like Butchie who also acted as the bank for other players. Perhaps Omar was one of Butchie's suppliers?

Also, after Omar's crew rob Prop Joe's shipment, Omar warns Kimmy to take her time selling off her share of the drugs. Obviously, she was selling drugs to somebody too...

Anonymous said...

The 'fuck' scene is another thing that has roots in the "Homicide: AYOTKS" book. There is a paragraph about how the word was so flexible and expressive to them that detectives could carry on a conversation using that word alone. Obviously the scene is that concept taken to an extreme, but it doesn't ring false to me.

Am I the only twenty-something that can communicate with close friends using only decontextualized profanity and/or pop-culture references?

Anonymous said...

The mother whom Omar hooks up with dope strongly resembles Michael and Bug's mom from seasons four and five. To my eyes, at least. IMDB wasn't any help in ID'ing the actress.

I guess that would make the cute baby Bug, wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

The mother whom Omar hooks up with dope strongly resembles Michael and Bug's mom from seasons four and five.

Unless Michael's mother changed her name from Shirley to Raylene, they're different characters.

Anonymous said...

"I suppose it would make sense if he were that he would be slumming it there versus going somewhere he might be recognized."

I always thought it was strange that a middle-aged white guy would go to the same bar as a black thug who robbed drug dealers, so that cheapened the scene for me.

But you're right, a gay man hoping to stay in the closet wouldn't want to be seen by anyone he knows...and a bar with a black clientele in (presumably) West Baltimore is just the type of place his peers would never go. And as a cop, he wouldn't be intimidated by a visit to that side of town. So the scene works for me now.

Anonymous said...

I don't know that there's no significance to Rawl's being a closeted gay man given the thematic link between personal lives and being beholden to an institution. Before seeing him in the gay bar, you could infer from the pictures adorning his office that Rawls had a happy family life. Thematically, he's not supposed to since he is a company man doing whatever he needs to do to get to the top of his (homophobic) institution. He's on the opposite end of the spectrum from the openly gay Omar, the individual not beholden to any institution. After seeing Rawls in that bar, "happy" or "authentic" are not words that come to mind to describe his personal life. So I think the scene here where we learn about Omar's sexuality makes an interesting contrast with the Rawls gay-bar scene.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone on this show had a "happy" personal life, most especially Omar. Brandon was foul-mouthed and dim-witted. He was tortured and killed causing Omar years of grief. Dante was jealous, insecure and clingy. He murdered Tosha and gave up Omar's location. Renaldo disappeared without explanation. The only fulfilling relationship in Omar's life was with his mentor Butchie. They had actual heart-to-heart conversations. It makes sense that it was Butchie's death that truly broke Omar and pushed him over the edge.

Rawls can be happy because he's not fighting the system. He's content being a company man and following the herd. It allows him to rise up in rank. Rawls, Herc, Landsman... guys who clock in and out of their jobs and don't get emotionally invested.

As for his personal life, he can have his cake and eat it too. He can reap the benefits of heterosexual privilege while banging men on the down low. Gay men have been doing it for years - by choice. Not everyone wants to wear the rainbow flag at work.

Anonymous said...

I just re-watched that Rawls gay bar scene. The majority of clientele in that particular bar were white. The other bar with Dante was predominantly black. It could have been in different areas.

Anonymous said...

I've read a few interviews with John Doman where he describes his character as "bisexual" rather than gay.

Anonymous said...

"I just re-watched that Rawls gay bar scene. The majority of clientele in that particular bar were white. The other bar with Dante was predominantly black. It could have been in different areas."

I admit I hadn't seen that episode in a while, so I was relying on memory. I didn't realize it was two different bars.
You're right, it is much more believable that Brother Mouzone and his sidekick were checking every gay bar in town, since they didn't have a whole lot to go on in the search for Omar.

Anonymous said...

In any great series, there is an epi or scene that broadcasts "This is great shit" Examples: "Walkabout", "College" etc.

The Fuck scene did it for me concerning the Wire. Its not just the words or the action, but how Bunk and McNulty work together as a unit, the choreography of the task, Plus the Landlord is there observing, you can read him judging these guys. Initially, he thinks they are jokes, profane assholes but as the scene goes on, he and we see the professionalism and as they piece it together, he becomes very respectful, seeing someone do their job well....


Anonymous said...

The "fuck" scene feels like something that is great the first time you see it, but less fun when revisited. However, "fuckity" is a great variation of the root word, that I have never heard anywhere else.

I was surprised to find that I felt better about season 5 after watching this ep again. Freamon's conversation with McNulty in the bar is a reminder that Lester following Jimmy's serial killer lead wasn't such a stretch. Looking forward to season 5 on dvd next month.

Anonymous said...

I have an ask. During the "fuck fuck fuck" scene, what made Jimmy and Bunk recognize that the Deidre Kresson murder was connected to Barksdale. In other words, what made them say, "fuck fuck fuck". We (the audience) knew it was the scene DeAngelo was talking about earlier, but how did the cops know? We had seen before that scene that Jimmy thought the crime scene would be useless, and that Kresson's murder had no connection to his detail.

J-rod said...

I haven't watched the episode recently, but didn't someone mention it to the detail (maybe Bodie or D?). There was something that drove them to take a second look at it, even though they didn't know what they were looking for. I also kind of have a memory of the original investigator being one a hack and they expected that there might have been some overlooked evidence.

cingers said...

I thought Dangelo was lying because the story wasn't consistent with what the cops knew -- namely that she had mentioned she would be seeing Dee. In dangelos story, there's no reference to this meeting

AdamW said...

Landsman flagged the case even though it had no obvious connection to the other Barksdale-connected murders, and over the objections of McNulty, for two reasons: 1) A tipster who left a first name and phone number had said the victim spent time the night before her death with someone named "D," and 2) All but one of the Barksdale cases were from the unsolved cases of the OTHER homicide squad, and Landsman figured if he was going to lose one of his detectives for weeks, he ought to at least get the possibility of another closed case for his own stats.

And yes, the original investigation was botched. At this stage, I don't think Bunk and McNulty had any reason to connect the case to Barksdale, but their natural poh-lice instincts got them much farther in the investigation than the first detective had. Bunk eventually tracks down the witness who used D's name and the pieces start to come together.

Anonymous said...

"The show never really explored what he did with them."

I always got the impression from Omar's relationship with Prop Joe (and a more implied relationship with a few others) showed what he was doing -- he'd sell it off to wholesalers like Joe. Doesn't he give a bunch of stolen drugs to Joe in exchange for information later in this season?

mjc said...

I'm excited about maybe having something to add to the discussion. I believe the Deirdre Kresson issue is exposed fairly concretely within this episode.

From the dialogue:

"I don't know why the fuck, but she has a robe...
and as she slipping on her robe, she turns on the light... "

When Bunk and McNulty are retracing the scene, they have several pictures of the body, and there's no robe to be seen, as far as I can tell. Can anyone confirm/deny/explain this ?

Alex K said...

First time around, I've completely missed the fact that Landsman was speaking to Rawls defending McNulty - for some reason I thought he was plotting against him. And since then, my opinion of Landsman became firmly negative, reaching a low point when McNulty started riding the boat on Jay's tip, and then slowly turning into positive - especially during the Bubbles scene. Looking back now, Jay was always a 'mostly positive' character from the get-go

Anonymous said...

A rare piece of double casting on The Wire takes place in this episode.

Gbengba Akinnagbe, who will later play Chris Partlow, appears briefly as a courtroom guard at the beginning of the episode.