The Wire 5.7-5.8

5.7 Took

Baltimore is caught up in a fiction. The Sun has a ton or reporters working on a story about a killer that doesn’t exist. The police finally decides to put as many homicide officers as they can on the case. It’s a fascinating commentary on how quick people are to accept what they’re presented at face value as true.

Bunk is quick to point out where McNulty and Lester have failed in all of this. As they chase after Marlo in the name of “real police work,” they’re pulling more and more people into chasing after a lie, which keeps them from doing real police work. McNulty tries to resolve this by shifting resources on the case to real cases, but quickly gets overwhelmed by the amount of people asking for favors.

There are some good journalism lessons in this episode as Gus looks over Scotts work. Scott is quick to use a lot of fancy words and can occasionally get into using purple prose. Gus reminds him that often simple language is the best and that a good description can often be more captivating than a powerful quote at setting the image.

5.8 Clarifications

Omar’s goin’. The last episode brought him down to his weakest point and here he’s gimping through town, killing Marlo’s muscle, knocking off his corners, but he’s making no traction at all. Omar can’t even make a dent into Marlo’s operation. When Omar’s time comes, he’s killed by a little kid. The shot comes from offscreen without any leadup. Once again, The Wire makes violence a shocking and disorienting act.

The homeless man Scott connected with a couple of episodes confronts him about the story he wrote. This homeless man was a combat vet and he says the story is embellished. It seems Scott is caught up in just another lie. He couldn’t make a honest connection. After this encounter, Gus decides it’s finally time to cut one of Scott’s anonymous quotes since he’s not been crediting sources.

While this season has been a dower, there’s a delightful sequence in this episode where the FBI profiles the murder. It ends up being a rather insightful profile of McNulty. It does give McNulty that moment of self-awareness and he decides to go back to Beadie. He comes clean with her about everything. He also says one of his best lines of the show: “I don’t even know where the anger comes from.”

© 2014 James Blake Ewing