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Wire Thread

The best-laid plans of mice and men seem to be going to shit this week, most notably as a disgruntled Haulk's phone call to a Sun reporter leads to the inevitable exposure of the Hamsterdam gambit. Frankly, I'm glad, because the Western District's ability to keep this quiet struck me as inordinately implausible. On the one hand, Major Colvin's efforts at innovation are clearly meant to be cast in a positive light and we know that David Simon is no fan of the status quo. On the other hand, the exposure and rather swift unraveling of this venture seem like a wholly foreseeable consequence of what he did, which calls into question the thinking behind the whole thing. Over on the street side of things, Stringer's drug co-op is now set to turn against him due to his failure to control Avon's war on Marlowe. The war, in turn, is cutting into the Barksdale crew's profit margins and may have left the leadership over-exposed to a vengeance-seeking Omar. Even McNulty is beginning to feel the sting of the exploitative relationship he initiated, while Councilman Carcetti is having some second thoughts about the wisdom and ethics of the train of events that he's set in motion.

With only two episodes left in the season, it's clear that an awful lot of these plot arcs are going to be left unresolved. The Major Case Unit's decision to enter the mobile phone business seems to me to leave a lot of room for the sort of blowback that's affected innovators on other fronts this season. Flashing a little leg at the judge may have gotten State's Attorney Pearlman her warrant, but that argument won't necessarily hold up on appeal, and poisoned fruit considerations could wreck the whole case. What's more, the way this was done strikes me as exposing Bubbles to an inordinately high risk of death, since the Barksdales have historically caught on to surveillance plots in the past. Last but by no means least, was that Deputy Commission Rawls we saw in the background of one of those gay bars?

November 29, 2004 | Permalink


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Yes, it absolutely was Rawls.

Posted by: Gene | Nov 29, 2004 10:07:48 AM

Not a word on the return of the Nation of Islam guy? What's his motive? Kill Omar? Why? Omar spared him.

Posted by: Hipocrite | Nov 29, 2004 10:26:16 AM

Not a word on the return of the Nation of Islam guy? What's his motive? Kill Omar? Why? Omar spared him.

Posted by: Hipocrite | Nov 29, 2004 10:26:40 AM

It was Rawls alright... the image of him in the background was very clear.

Posted by: Miguel | Nov 29, 2004 10:30:39 AM

I haven't seen season 2 or the end of season 1, whichever of the two introduces the Nation of Islam dude, so he's a total mystery to me. I don't even think he's on the HBO page.

As for Rawls, is Baltimore's gay scene such that one could expect Deputy Commissioner Rawls and thug-life Omar to hang out at the same bar? I might suggest that gay Baltimoreans make the hike to the District on the weekends, where one can find any number of gay-friendly venues in Dupont Circle and environs.

Posted by: Kriston | Nov 29, 2004 10:31:33 AM

I wondered about why the Islamic Brother was trying to find Omar as well; he was indeed spared by him, and if I remember right, he told Omar who had sent him. Maybe he is looking to ally himself with O to go after Stringer/Avon, since they set him up in the first place. Well just have to wait two weeks to find out.

Also, nice to see Judge Phelan back on the scene since he was the one who initiated the Major Case Unit and their subsequent first wire. (but then,
I am prejudiced here.........I'm married to his -- Peter Gerety's -- daughter!) With as many loose threads as are left here, I agree this show just has to go on! Viva The Wire!

Posted by: John B NM | Nov 29, 2004 11:18:48 AM

So what happens in two weeks? No Wire, no Deadwood, not even the Sopranos. The anchor to my weekend is falling out.

Posted by: Kriston | Nov 29, 2004 11:28:49 AM

Brother Mouzone is I believe looking for Omar to ask him who set him up to shoot the good brother. And, as series creator David Simon hastens to point out, he is not identified at any point as a member of the Nation of Islam. He could just have a Tucker Carlson sense of style.

Posted by: davey | Nov 29, 2004 12:01:52 PM

Yeah, seeing Rawls (I'm pretty sure!) in the gay bar brought to mind all sorts of un-PC jokes relating his private life to how he treats his (mostly black) police majors. But I disagree about Hamsterdam unraveling quickly -- from the previews of coming episodes it looks like it might be a weapon that the police commissioner gives Garcetti, e.g. to attack the mayor for failing to follow through on a proven crime-reducing program. (Clearly Garcetti is going to run for mayor on a crime platform.)

I'm loving watching the air coming out of Stringer's balloon -- when he gave Avon his speech about having "the world at our feet," it sounded like he was trying to buck himself up as much as convince Avon. But String's a survivor -- did you like how he borrowed a move from Tony Soprano, dropping the dime to get his hot-headed associate out of the picture for a parole violation?

And last, it clearly doesn't pay to be Omar's boyfriend. Given how interconnected everyone in Baltimore seems to be (e.g. Rawls in that gay bar, McNulty banging Garcetti's campaign consultant), it's hard to imagine how Omar himself keeps alive, let alone his boyfriends.

Posted by: Charlie Murtaugh | Nov 29, 2004 12:32:32 PM

Right, because there are a huge number of Black men wearing dark suits with bow-ties calling themselves "brother" who are not from the NoI.

Posted by: Hipocrite | Nov 29, 2004 12:34:56 PM

I wonder whether we'll see Stringer more actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the game now that his plans for development seem to have dissolved. Surely his wormy bureaucrat has a mark on his head by now.

Posted by: Kriston | Nov 29, 2004 12:39:17 PM

I am interested to know what those who have advanced the flypaper allegory think of Bunny's speech to the young sergeant about the nature of policing vs the nature of war and the need for an enemy. Has the proposed connection between Hamsterdam and Iraq been a stretch beyond the basic approach to each as "war"? I think now that perhaps it's a case of reading too much into the story.

Posted by: Just Karl | Nov 29, 2004 12:43:38 PM

Hey, did Stringer call the western district to set up Avon? What was that call all about? Soon after that Bunny calls in McNulty with info on Avon's whereabouts? Where did he get that info? I think Stringer makes a move to take out Avon.

Posted by: Just Karl | Nov 29, 2004 12:46:49 PM

I keep hearing rumors that this is the last season because of low ratings, which is agonizing because I don't see how they can pull all these strings together in two episodes. If HBO does pull the plug, I hope they at least allow two or three clear up episodes, or a two hour movie finale, etc.

As for last night's show, clearly the big potential move was Stringer dropping the dime on Avon. I thought Stringer was calling his DC connect from last year to put out a hit on him,
but this was, as you'd expect, way smoother and offers an easier way to at least put several problems on hold than I'd thought possible.

The confrontation between Omar and Mozone last season, set up by some Stringer perfidy, was classic, and you knew it wouldn't end there. (Briefly, Avon called in Mozone from New York as muscle to deal with encroachments by Prop Joe's people into Barksdale territory. However, this screwed up Stringer's developing plans to cooperate with Prop Joe, so he called in Omar and told him that Mozone was the one who tortured and killed his boy Brandon during season one. Omar ambushed and gut-shot Mozone, but then realized after a little interrogation that Mozone hadn't done it. He called 911 to get Moz some medical assistance and then strolled off.) The question is whether Mozone feels he has to take Omar out as well or just wants him to confirm the Barksdale betrayal. If the latter, you could potentially have a cooperating "team" of Omar and Mozone going after Stringer and co, which would be bad news indeed. As for Mozone affiliation, I think he was NofI as a young man (the prayer he uttered when he thought Omar was going to kill him in season two seemed islamic) but then split off to his own path after he found the dogma constraining. he's clearly combined some NofI elements with an almost academic left wing intellectual vibe. Chiding his henchman for "homophobia" shows he's definitely not orthodox NofI.

Posted by: rd | Nov 29, 2004 1:02:39 PM

As for the flypaper theory/Iraq war allegory, I think Bunny's speech rather confirms that it's on the writers' minds. Obviously Bunny is not a reliable narratorhis being the architect of Hamsterdam and allso the fact that he says there is no allegorical connection I think, in fact, supports the allegory case.

Posted by: Kriston | Nov 29, 2004 1:16:54 PM

Simon always intended for "The Wire" to be a critique of the so-called "War on Drugs." Bunny's speech is best read as a straight-on expression of that position.

Posted by: bcgirl | Nov 29, 2004 2:26:38 PM

I took Bunny’s speech as a straight critique of the concept of enforcement policing vs. community policing. It’s the difference between policing being ‘done to’ a community and policing as ‘an aspect’ of that communities own structure. The 'war on drugs' is the most egregious example of the former strategy failing so badly. His point is well made and the failure of that style of policing from Baltimore to LA is pretty evident.

Great show though, please don't end at 3 series.

Posted by: Duncan | Nov 29, 2004 3:39:06 PM

Saying, and I could be misquoting, that "your homophobia is palpable," in no way chiding someone. I don't hang out with vicious homophobes. BM does. Somehow, hanging with vicious homophobes makes him less likely to be Nation of Islam than not hanging out with vicious homophobes? Huh?

Posted by: Hipocrite | Nov 29, 2004 3:57:21 PM

i see avon going back to jail on a parole violation, after stringer gave up his location, and just when strig think's he's got it made now with avon out of the way, here comes brother muzone.

Posted by: achn2b | Nov 29, 2004 6:54:23 PM

I'm just bracing myself for Cutty getting screwed over somehow. You just know it's going to happen. It makes my stomach hurt thinking about it.

I'm pretty sure String sold Avon out -- he's trying to take over. One doubts that Avon will go quietly into that good night.

If this show ends after this season it will be a travesty on par with, shit, I don't know, Bush being reelected. There has never been a show this good. And this season is the best yet.

Posted by: Realish | Nov 30, 2004 2:49:46 AM

Coupla points: Thank you for losing the Iraq metaphor and I don't care if Kristen or Kirsten is your girlfriend or whatever...Hey, the lead character even said it was about the drug war.

I'm 90 percent certain that there will be a Brother Mouzon/Omar Teamup.

Stringer seems to have pulled a plot device from the Sopranos..remember what happened to the one older wiseguy Robert Loggia...but wouldn't it be obvious who betrayed him...?

That boxer guy seems like such a decent man who's come a long way...he's probably toast.

One, or both of the Barksdale heads, gets whacked.

I think the Mayor will buy into the legalization deal. Remember: Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke supported legalization...but were the zones real? That's what no one on this board has answered...? Or did he just do it the old fashioned dumb Untouchables way...?

Posted by: Philip Shropshire | Nov 30, 2004 5:53:28 AM

This drug legalization thing is interesting. I was unaware of Kurt Schmoke's position on the issue.

The final two-hour wrap-up of Homicide:LotS - Simon's first television show - featured the former police lieutenant Al Girodello running for mayor on a pro-legalization platform. He was gunned down because of it.

How did Schmoke fare?...thekeez

Posted by: Jeff Keezel | Nov 30, 2004 9:27:17 AM

Its hard for me to see someone who actually had a strong position against homosexuality using the word "homophobic." The very definition of it implies that strong aversion to homosexuals is irrational. Thus, I stand by my description of Brother Mozone's unorthodox ideology.

Posted by: rd | Nov 30, 2004 3:44:35 PM

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