The Wire Final Season

Week 2: Where Is Simon Going With the Parallel Fraud Plots?
Talking television.
Jan. 14 2008 11:49 AM

The Wire Final Season

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Jeff,

One of the weirdest moments of my Wire offseason was when I spotted Clay Davis—I mean Isiah Whitlock Jr.—playing a goofy dad in a Verizon cell phone commercial. Much to my disappointment, his several lines didn't include his trademark "sheee-it." (Maybe he could do late-night toilet paper spots instead?) And he's not the only one of The Wire's great black actors who's moonlighting to make ends meet: Lance "Cedric Daniels" Reddick brightened my NFL watching this year by showing up as the new face of Cadillac.

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I share your amazement at the concentration of acting talent on TheWire, and your concern about what will happen to all these great black actors now that the show is ending. I'm hoping that they get to cash in on their talent the way Idris Elba (Stringer Bell) has since his character got murdered at the end of Season 3. But I fear you're right that Hollywood isn't going to figure out a way to employ idiosyncratic geniuses like Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, Michael K. Williams, and Anwan Glover as anything but "Street Thug #3" in crime dramas.

Where are Simon & Co. going with the parallel fraud plots? We've got the newsroom con artist Scott fabricating a sob-story 13-year-old cripple to advance his own career. And now Jimmy McNulty is fabricating a serial killer to … do what exactly? 

Seeing it for a second time, it occurs to me that the final minutes of the episode, when Jimmy turns an accidental death into a homicide while Bunk observes in horror, is a grim echo of that Season 1 scene when Jimmy and Bunk solve a murder with nothing but gestures and 38 utterances of the word "fuck." Watch the "fuck" scene again: It is one of the Wire's all-time great moments.

David

David Plotz is Slate's editor at large. He's the author of The Genius Factory and Good Book.

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