The Wire Final Season

Week 4: Marlo Isn't the Bagels-in-the-Boardroom Type
Talking television.
Jan. 28 2008 2:40 PM

The Wire Final Season

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Dear Jeff,

David Plotz David Plotz

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

Sure enough, within five minutes of my last entry going live, I received e-mails from two reporters who've been chastised for their excessive profanity. One of them, York Daily Record columnist Mike Argento, writes, "An editor pulled me into a conference room and gave me a little lecture about swearing in the newsroom, that one of the editorial assistants, who was religious, complained mostly about taking the Lord's name in vain. Others also received the talk. Didn't do any fucking good."

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Do I think Herc is going to help bring down Marlo? No chance. It's Marlo's cash that's keeping Herc in suits and bottled beer. And if there's anything we've learned about him in the past few seasons, it's that he's too stupid and amoral to do anything right.

You know what I'm going to miss most now that Prop Joe's dead? The co-op meetings. (I'm guessing that Marlo is not going to be a bagels-in-the-boardroom kind of drug lord.) Ever since Stringer Bell's funeral home assemblies back in Season 3, the drug dealer councils have been The Wire's funniest scenes, hilariously juxtaposing the aspiration for managerial order with the reality of criminal violence. Come to think of it, wasn't the best scene in The Untouchablesthe board meeting when Al Capone beats one of his lieutenants to death with a baseball bat? There's something inherently compelling about the combination of crime and bureaucracy (which is also why that Wannsee conference movie was so gripping, too). The choice line from the final co-op meeting comes from titty bar owner Fatface Rick, advising his fellow hoods to: "Buy you some property, hold on until the white people show up, and make a killing."

We're clearly not watching The Wire as carefully as our readers. Several wrote me to point out that the goateed guy boozing in the homeless encampment was Johnny "Fifty," Ziggy's friend from Season 2, who helped "misplace" cargo on the docks. He must have lost his union card after the cops busted Sobotka's fraud operation.

David

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