The Wire 5.10 – 30 – Series Finale

Fans of “The Wire” are no doubt smiling right now. Even though tonight’s episode marks the last time we’ll ever see McNulty in the doghouse, listen to Landsman berate his fellow officers, or even hear Clay Davis say “Shiiit,” I’m more than content with the way things ended. In fact, you could even say David Simon and Co. hit a homerun with the 95-minute finale, addressing all the loose ends and delivering a gift-wrapped ending that you just don’t see in season finales these days.

With news of McNulty and Lester’s shenanigans finally reaching Carcetti at city hall, the governor hopeful is absolutely livid. It’s a lose-lose situation from where he’s standing, and in order to protect himself during the upcoming election, he agrees that burying the dirt is best. Daniels doesn’t necessarily agree, but he doesn’t really have a choice. Pearlman is tied to the wiretap, and if McNulty and Lestor go down, so does she. Of course, that doesn’t mean Pearlman is necessarily accepting of her position, and she makes sure Lester knows about it when they run into one another downtown.

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Lester relays the info to McNulty, who’s busy trying to wrap up his Red Ribbon Killer investigation, and together they map out a gameplan for the future. As it stands, the two aren’t exactly in trouble, and aside from being forced out of actual police work for the rest of their careers, they probably won’t even face a grand jury hearing either. Still, that doesn’t exactly help with McNulty’s guilt when he discovers that a copycat killer is on the prowl, murdering homeless men and tying white (not red) ribbons to their wrists. Surprisingly, McNulty is quick to solve the crime, and though Rawls would love to pin all of the homeless killings on the culprit (a delusional homeless man himself), McNulty is adamant that he only be charged for the last two murders.

Though none of the higher-ups are especially pleased with McNulty and Lester, you’ve got to credit the latter for digging up dirt on Marlo’s lawyer, Levy. Without it, it looked like Marlo would not only be dismissed from his charges, but that Carcetti and the entire BPD would be exposed for McNulty’s big white (or is it red?) lie. Instead, Pearlman uses the information against Levy, scoring Chris a life sentence for all of the vacant murders, and Monk and Cheese up to 20 years for possession/intent to sell. Marlo, on the other hand, is given a slap on the wrist and a warning that if he ever traffics drugs again, he’ll be right back in jail.

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The Wire 5.9 – Late Editions

Ever since the Barksdale bust at the end of season three, there hasn’t been a whole lot of police work being done on “The Wire,” so it was a pleasant surprise to discover that the opening minutes of tonight’s episode featured the long-awaited takedown of the Stanfield crew. After the latest cell phone image shows an upcoming meet in one of the city’s most unpopulated areas, Lester is positive that this isn’t just a regular re-up, but rather the monthly re-supply between Marlo and his connect.

Sending Sydnor and every other available detective to stake it out, Lester then goes to Daniels to fess up (sort of), claiming that they used hours from the Clay Davis case to work a tip about Marlo. Daniels greenlights the operation, and within minutes, Marlo is sitting in lockdown along with Chris (who’s also been served his murder warrant), Monk and Cheese – all of whom can’t seem to figure out who could have snitched. Marlo suggests Michael, but while on the way to a purported hit with Snoop, Michael realizes that he’s being set up, and quickly improvises – killing Snoop and getting the hell out of Dodge. On a related note, didn’t you love watching Lester dangle the phone and clock in Marlo’s face, almost as if to say “I’m smarter than you”? Classic.

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Meanwhile, as Lester’s $16 million drug bust gives new hope to Carcetti’s run for governor, McNulty is on the opposite side of all the congratulations. Not feeling like celebrating after being mocked by Landsman for his inability to catch the Red Ribbon Killer, McNulty continues to work on slowly letting the case go. Unfortunately, Greggs isn’t so forgiving, and after consulting with Carver, she heads to Daniels to narc on McNulty and Lester. Even Daniels is mildly surprised that McNulty would go so far to catch Marlo in the act, but it looks like he isn’t quite ready to let him back on the street either. And so he heads to the Evidence Room with Asst. D.A. Pearlman to conduct “evidence control” – which may or may not mean getting rid of the one thing that links McNulty’s serial killer to Lester’s wiretap.

Of course, it may not matter now that Herc knows what really happened. After taking the risk to steal Marlo’s cell number from his boss’ rolodex, and then giving Carver that bullshit monologue about catching the bad guy, he’s now decided to go directly to his boss about how Lester really found out about Marlo’s operation. Doesn’t he realize the trouble he got into the last time he tried to take the fast track up the career ladder?

  

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The Wire 5.8 – Clarifications

Let’s not beat around the bush: Omar Little is dead. Understandably, that’s going to piss off a large percentage of fans, but not exactly how you might think. You see, David Simon has already stated that Omar was never meant to play a major part in the series (in fact, he was only supposed to appear in a handful of episodes), and as such, I was wholly expecting his eventual demise. But at the hands of a three-foot corner boy? To use the term anti-climactic wouldn’t do it justice. Sure, the shot to the back of the head was pretty cool, but to see a badass like Omar taken down by some random pre-teen ranks right up there with the senseless drowning of Charlie in last year’s season finale of “Lost.” Still, it was bound to happen – just like Clay Davis’ acquittal the week before – and if nothing else, Omar’s death may just be the break McNulty needs to catch Marlo.

After helping Bunk fast track some lab work on his murder investigation (which, by the way, resulted in a warrant for Chris Parlo), Bunk decides to repay the favor by gifting McNulty a piece of paper he found on Omar’s body. The information doesn’t seem to be anything new (it’s mostly just names and designated hangouts for all of Marlo’s major players), but every little bit helps, right? Maybe not.

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Following a trip with McNulty to the FBI in order to retrieve a criminal profile for the homeless serial killer, Greggs gets to work on paring through all the potential suspects. Embarrassed that Greggs would even be willing to waste so much time on a bullshit case, McNulty pulls her aside to tell her the truth. As you can imagine, Greggs doesn’t take the news very well, but McNulty is willing to stick it out for a couple more days – especially now that the mayor has granted him unlimited resources, including surveillance teams and rental cars with GPS.

With Carver personally assigned to run point, the surveillance teams are working like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, they haven’t really resulted in any big breakthroughs. That is, until Sydnor makes one hell of an accidental discovery. While following one of Marlo’s men through an unfamiliar part of the city, he stops by the side of the road to check out his map. By pure luck and pure luck alone, he happens to realize that the clock images Marlo and Co. have been using for communication directly correlate to a book of Baltimore maps. Having officially cracked the code, Lester has not only made his first giant step towards building a case against Marlo, but has also uncovered the citywide monopoly he’s built between Monk on the Westside and Cheese on the Eastside. How exactly this will be used against Marlo is still uncertain, but with only two episodes left, we won’t have to wait very long to find out.

  

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The Wire 5.7 – Took

Most hour-long dramas can cram an awful lot into 60 minutes (or even 44, with commercials), but no one does it better than “The Wire.” I only mention this because tonight’s episode was overwhelmingly unproductive. Sure, the major story arc inched a little closer to the finish line, but most of the other subplots seem to be stuck at a standstill. Bunk has come no closer to solving his vacant murders, Omar continues to kill/beat up Marlo’s crew (only to let some live in order to pass along a message to their boss), and despite a promise that the media would play an integral part in this season, we’ve seen very little development from within The Sun other than in Templeton’s involvement with McNulty’s case.

For the time being, however, it looks like that case will continue to dominate most of the season, with the only positive I could possibly draw being that when Marlo’s comeuppance finally does arrive (and it better), it’s going to be one hell of an episode. After faking a call to Templeton as the homeless serial killer, Lester and McNulty have finally gained the Mayor’s approval in all the overtime and surveillance they need. It was great to see how truly spooked Templeton was after realizing that all of his shady journalism tactics might have actually turned him into a real target, but I doubt McNulty appreciates the humor in the situation, since everyone (and I mean everyone, save for Bunk) in the BPD has been reassigned to a citywide search for the killer.

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True, it was a genius move on Lester and McNulty’s part, but with mounting pressure from Landsman, and every other cop in the district looking for OT approval to work other cases, McNulty definitely wants this to be over sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, Lester isn’t any closer to cracking Marlo’s code after receiving the first image as he is after receiving the 50th. They’re all just pictures of clocks, and while each photo shows a different time, there doesn’t seem to be any method to the madness. Of course, if I were Lester , I’d make a quick trip to the local junior high and see what Prez thought. After all, wasn’t he the one who was at the center of cracking the Barksdale wiretap?

It seems like a distinct possibility to me, and I can’t imagine that after acquitting Senator Clay Davis in what will surely go down as one of the most surprising (yet entertaining) developments of the show’s five-year run, that David Simon and Co. will let the other villain off the hook as well. Regrettably, history seems to indicate that Simon will deliver the more realistic ending, but if there was ever a time to ignore one’s values and reward your fanbase, this would be it. Mr. Simon, I truly hope you’re listening.

  

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The Wire 5.6 – Dickensian Aspect

It’s hard to imagine this season of “The Wire” becoming any more twisted, but alas, tonight’s episode upped the ante on the homeless serial killer case to the point where even McNulty is beginning to rethink the predicament he’s gotten himself into. With Carcetti’s harbor-side shopping mall getting little media coverage, the governor hopeful directed his attention to the ongoing investigation with a press conference that assured the local and national news affiliates that the city police would do whatever he takes to stop the murders. It was quite the speech, but as we know all too well, it meant very little in regards to getting anything done.

McNulty’s still only getting one detective to help, and Landsman has squashed his request for a surveillance crew yet again. Heck, he can’t even get a wire tap on Scott’s cell phone, since doing so would likely put his judge friend in hot water with The Sun. So, it seems like McNulty and Lester are back to square one – despite the fact that Sydnor has begrudgingly come onboard, if only to put Marlo away for good. McNulty can’t even dig up a fresh body anymore, since every homeless person that kicks the bucket is immediately bum rushed (no pun intended) by every cop in the city.

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Leave it to Lester, then, to discover Marlo’s method of dealing over the cell phone just before hearing the bad news. As it goes, Marlo is using his phone for drug-related business, but instead of actually talking to his middlemen, he’s sending them photos. In order to catch him in the act, Lester needs access to a different kind of wiretap (one that would allow the interception of files), and believe it or not, McNulty actually has a plan. Thanks to Scott’s dumbass decision to begin making shit up in his articles (which McNulty is more than happy to brag about to Bunk), McNulty devises a new strategy that has the killer contacting The Sun with a text message stating how displeased he is with Scott’s depiction of him. Instead of leaving dead homeless around the city, he’s going to kill them, send a photo of their dead body to his cell phone, and then get rid of the body. McNulty jumpstarts the whole operation by “kidnapping” a homeless man and shuttling him out to D.C., but when he begins to realize just exactly what he’s doing, you can disgust on his face. It’s a brilliant scene that shows McNulty for who he really is, and I completely expect him to fess up as early as next week.

Meanwhile, Bunk continues to play it safe by working real cases. He’s re-opened all of the vacant murders with the hope of stumbling onto something he didn’t notice the first time around. That includes interviewing Randy (who clearly wants nothing to do with the police) and checking into the murder of Bug’s daddy. Suffice it to say that Bunk is one lucky motherfucker, especially after learning that a temp working at the city lab has disorganized all previous blood work on the vacant deaths. Still, when he goes to question Michael’s mother about the guy’s death, it’s clear that he wasn’t expecting the answer he was given. What? Michael was bragging about his mother’s boyfriend’s death and he’s rolling with Marlo, Chris and Snoop? Too good to be true.

Equally so is the fact that Omar survived last week’s shootout, and after hearing of his courageous jump from a third-story (or is it fourth-story) balcony, Marlo says what everybody else was thinking: “That’s some Spider-Man shit there.” Chris is clearly upset that they let Omar go, and despite Marlo offering a $250,000 bounty on his head, Omar has returned to fight on his own terms. He seems intent on calling Marlo out until he can fight him face-to-face, but Marlo isn’t that kind of gangster. Primitive though he may be, he’s still one of the classier, Stringer Bell-type guys on the block. Still, now that most of the co-op know (or will know very soon) about Marlo’s hit on Prop Joe, Omar might not even have to get his hands dirty. Then again, what fun would it be if he didn’t?

  

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