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February 18, 2008



No mention of the vulnerable Omar exposing his hobbled status on the street? I think that's going to be a key for next week. Kenard's sheer exasperation at Omar's little heart to heart with Michael is a harbinger for _something_, as is the fact that Omar was a little out of character when he kills Savino instead of just shooting him in the knees or something. I think he's losing his code in pursuit of vengeance and frustration that Marlo isn't coming out to play the game he wants to play.


I can completely understand the problems you have with the Davis trial, certainly the timeline is hard to deal with, but I don't think the outcome is as implausable as you believe.

Wouldn't be the first time some slick talk helped a guilty man out of jail. I guess I fill in the blanks and assume that Davis's supporters were the ones that filled up the courthouse. Now the performance by the prosecutor makes him look stupid, so I agree with you, but I don't think this was as egregiously bad as you believe(and I love the work by the guy playing Clay Davis)


Isiah Whitlock is great, yeah. My problem isn't with the outcome (although it's another classic example of the show dangling a happy ending in front of our faces only to yank it away at the last instant), it's with how we got there. I completely buy that Davis would angle for jury nullification but, as shown here, his strategy only works because every other person in the courtroom behaves like a moron. Even Pearlman, a little bit--could she and Bond really not see this coming?

On Omar: Yeah, he's losing his code all right, and giving away his injury just to deliver an obvious message seems like a tactical mistake. On the other hand, I pity the first soldier who underestimates him because of that limp.

On Kenard: Briefly, for the first and, I hope, the last time in my life, I wanted to see Omar pull his gun on a ten-year-old kid.


Last night I gave in and watched the new episode a week early on HBO On Demand. Do you have access to that? It was well worth it to find out ... well, I'm not even gonna say.


Please don't say, thanks! I usually watch the next week's episode by Tuesday or Wednesday (gotta see the Wisconsin results tonight) but I try to keep the posts and comments absolutely spoiler-free until the episodes have aired.


For a complete discussion of the plausibility of the Clay Davis outcome, reference the career of the actor who interviewed him on the radio in the previous episode. That would be Md. state Del. Larry Young, who wryly plays himself in that scene. Young's career and the ultimate outcome of the state case against him is instructive.

Or for that matter, the masterful nullification of the jury by Billy Murphy, who plays himself as Davis's lawyer, in the Don King federal case several years ago.

Or O.J. Simpson, for that matter.

Presumably, we were not shown the whole Clay Davis trial -- the re-cross by Bond/Pearlman, their attempts to show that Davis spent the cash on other things, their mitigation of the damage. But sometimes, it isn't about whether the prosecutor is competent or moronic. Why were we not shown that? Perhaps because then The Wire would become a lopsided courtroom drama, with one storyline dragging the whole down.

But perhaps sometimes, it's about how disenfranchised the individual jurors can be made to feel. And in an African-American city like Baltimore, where law enforcement and economic priorities are seen as institutionally oppressive, they can be made to feel very much indeed.


reference the career of the actor who interviewed him on the radio in the previous episode

Yeah, covered that.

Why were we not shown that? Perhaps because then The Wire would become a lopsided courtroom drama

Courtroom scenes have always been part of the show. Wasn't the first scene (or close to it) in Phelan's court? And Omar's exchange with Levy was probably one of the show's greatest moments.

But those scenes worked, and the Davis performance didn't. Telling us what we already know about jury nullification doesn't redeem it--in fact, that's part of the problem.


Your description of McNulty as unwilling middle manager is spot-on and I think it helps unlock some of the keys to the season. It seems we've reached a point where reform and education are so impossible that the best and the brightest feel they have no choice but to become exaggerated parodies of the system to get anything done. So McNulty becomes the greatest of all jukers of stats, Templeton writes stories from a personal perspective that are too good to be true, and Omar tries to recapture his magic by recasting himself as the ultimate bad-ass in violation of his code. Is the final insult of our decaying institutions their ability to replace our morality with their own? Or am I just reaching here?


No, that sounds really good--except that Omar, who's not part of any institution (although he plays a well-defined role in the criminal ecosystem) can only become an exaggerated parody of himself, the badass swagger without the staunch moral code.

I like it! Good call!

Ken Lowery

I'm with you 100%, Daniel. It's part of what makes the serial killer angle work (though that took some time) for me; if we view the previous four seasons as a symphony building up to one great big god almighty bombast (on a Wire scale), it makes sense the major players would become increasingly desperate to the point of compromising themselves.

Which leaves open the idea that all the corrupt sons of bitches "our heroes" are fighting right now were someone else's heroes 20 or 30 years ago.


Jesus you mentioned Adena Watson?!?!?!? I swear I put on my glasses just to check and see if I saw what I thought I saw. Maybe you should compare and contrast Luther Mahooney and Marlo.

Thanks for bringing up my other favorite show that left the air far too soon!


I loved Luther Mahoney (I'm sure you recognized actor Eric Todd Dellums, who played Mahoney, as the M.E. back in seasons one and two of the Wire, right?), but he was a comic-book character, the suave supervillain. Marlo, Chris, and Snoop are terrifying because they seem so plausible. They would have killed Luther Mahoney back in season three.

Nice seeing Clark Johnson back on TV, isn't it? I always thought Meldrick was completely underrated--laid-back, low-key, but the best detective in the unit after Pembleton.


I did recognize my dear Luther! I remember saying to my mom, damn there goes Luther Mahoney again! God I loved Homicide. I was sooo young when that show originally aired. Almost too young to be so engrossed in a show about the wiley cops of the BPD Homicide Dept (100 grilled cheese sandwhiches!). I can honestly say that the name Adena Watson haunts me just about as much as it did Balis. Ugh, Adena Watson, how many nightmares did I have about that? I think the biggest issue I had with it as a child was the fact that the "good guys," meaning Balis, didn't catch the killer and it just shattered that whole innocence thing. It's like the day you realize that not only do OTHER people die, but YOU can die too. It's upsetting when reality and mortality hit someone all at the same damn time.

Also, I have a tendency to call Clark Johnson "Meldrick" when referring to "Gus." I honestly think my television would have exploded if Balis had just strolled up at some point in that episode.

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