Wednesday, December 19, 2012

GOD STILL RESIDES IN THE DETAILS: We begin the final season of The Wire with a copy machine/lie detector ploy first used in the first season of Homicide: Life on the Streets, and if there's a more meta way to indicate that everyone in the City of Baltimore will have to do "More With Less" this season, I'm not quite sure what it would be.

Everything is turning to shit in City government, owing to Carcetti's decision to protect his gubernatorial hopes (he thinks) and dignity rather than accept $54 million in state funding for the schools. Police aren't getting paid, Major Crimes has been broken up (again), McNulty's drinking again, and the investigation into Marlo Stanfield's organization is over**, as is the effort to solve all the dead bodies in the vacants. The only person who seems happy? Herc, charged with spending Maury Levy's money to help the criminals of Baltimore remain at large.

But at least we have a Fourth Estate to cover it all. We haven't dealt with the media much in the first four seasons, save Herc's efforts to derail Hamsterdam, but, hey, it's Meldrick Lewis, city desk editor! And lame-ass editors above, ambitious reporters below, an adorable grammar snob, and ... not enough resources to do their job. Great. But when there's only one Cool Lester Smooth in the world, I'm glad someone else noticed the Fat-Face Rick zoning deal. Maybe something will come of this political corruption investigation after all, but whether its success would actually help the people of Baltimore is another story.

(Most intriguing detail: why is Chris Partlow interested in Sergei Malatov? Also: no longer in the opening credits, per Wiki: Burrell, Prezbo, Bunny, Cutty, Royce, and Bodie.)

** The New Day Co-Op started in season three. That the police still seem unaware of its existence drops my enthusiasm for Major Crimes a notch or two.


  1. This was the first time in this project that I really regretted not having watched The Wire as it was running, because I really could have used 4 months to recover from season 4 rather than a week. I'm still crushed. And McNulty drunk is so sad. (But see: clean Bubbles!)

  2. Marsha11:41 AM

    I would hope that Bodie wouldn't be in the opening credits. I'll miss Mr. Prezbo most of all.

    I am very interested in this notion that the first scene of this season tells you what the season will be all about. In some seasons (like 1) it's seemed to be a thematic issue - that conversation told us all we need to know about the mentality of the corner kids. Some, like season 4, seemed more to be about mechanics. Snoop buys a nail gun (and sets herself up as a stone cold killer of the type we really hadn't seen that much of yet), and that nail gun is the catalyst for nearly everything that happens in the season. I'm wondering which type that interrogation scene is.

    Not loving this iteration of the theme song.

    As with all the other season premieres, I am finding it hard to get with the program on the new characters, but by now I trust that I'll mentally integrate them soon enough. It's kind of mind boggling to me now that we haven't known Beadie or Michael or Carcetti from the beginning of the series.

    At least I'm hopeful that most of our new newspapermen won't end up dead in the Pelecanos episode. Because its Pelecanos, I had to say "most."

  3. Adam B.1:18 PM

    There's a Sepinwall piece from January 2008

  4. Watts1:44 PM

    My only issue with the theme song is that it feels very "generic network cop show" this time around. Like, if CSI didn't use Who songs for its franchise.

  5. andrewraff1:51 PM

    This version of Way Down in the Hole is by Steve Earle, who may be better known to fans of The Wire as Walon.

  6. Watts1:54 PM

    My crush on Bunk lessened with that stupid copier/lie detector thing.

    I'm not entirely surprised to see Michael back, but I'm a little bit tickled to see Dukie back. And am hopeful, somewhat, for his future if he's off the corner.

    I never noticed how handsome Andre Royo could be without the junkie hair and hygiene.

  7. isaac_spaceman2:55 PM

    And who may be better known to music fans as Steve Earle.

  8. isaac_spaceman2:56 PM

    The lie detector gag may have shown up earlier on Homicide: Life on the Streets, but its original appearance was in Simon's Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets (same as the Snot Boogie story that opened the whole series).

  9. Marsha4:23 PM

    Good piece. Interestingly, while I could have told you before reading that exactly what the first scenes were from seasons 1, 3 and 4, I had no recollection of the opening scene of season 2.