The Wire Final Season

Week 7: This Is The Wire That I Fell in Love With
Talking television.
Feb. 18 2008 7:01 AM

The Wire Final Season

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Dear Jeff,

Kima staring out on the moonlit streets of Baltimore and reciting this benediction to her sleepless semi-son: "Good night, moon. Good night, popos. Good night, fiends. Good night, hoppers. Good night, hustlers. Good night, scammers. Good night to everybody. Good night to one and all." What a spectacular ending to a sublime episode!

David Plotz David Plotz

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

Advertisement

This is The Wire that I fell in love with. I didn't think there could be a television courtroom scene better than Omar's testimony in the Season 2 murder trial, but last night's Clay Davis soliloquy, culminating with that grand gesture of standing up and turning his empty pockets inside out, topped it. If Isaiah Whitlock Jr. doesn't get an Emmy (or at least his own sitcom) after his performance this season, there's no justice. (Which, as we learned in the Davis trial, there isn't.)

You and I haven't paid much attention to The Wire's directors or writers, but Episode 7 was so great that I want to give all praise to novelist Richard Price (Clockers), who wrote it, and Dominic West, who directed it. West, who plays Jimmy McNulty, even improved his own performance. The Jimmy of Episode 7 is enthrallingly confused: anxious over his escalating fraud, gleeful at helping his colleagues advance their cases, embarrassed at his new sugar-daddy role as "boss."

A few things that stood out for me in Episode 7. First, the obsession with money. From Clay Davis' fee negotiation with his lawyer, to Carcetti's short-lived joy after raising $92,000 for his gubernatorial campaign, to Davis' courtroom peroration, to the judge nudging Rhonda to pick up the check, to the police department and newspaper pouring resources into their homeless-killer investigations, to Omar spurning Marlo's cash, money is the deep theme of the episode. Or rather, the fallacy of money: The police chiefs, the editors, and the mayor think money is the answer. But the dollar isn't almighty: Money can't solve a murder that never really happened.

Second: the continued martyrdom of Bunk. Did you notice how many shots of Bunk showed him squashed, as though a weight was bearing down on him? Watch those scenes of him in the office: He appears crushed in the foreground, struggling with his real police work, while the charade of the serial killer investigation plays out behind him.

Third: the lovely visual joke of Marlo's watches. The cops don't know what time it is!

I suspect that Omar signed his own death warrant this week. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Omar has never killed for sport before, never murdered an innocent. Savino isn't a choirboy, but he never wronged Omar directly. By doing Savino, cold-blooded, on the street, Omar betrays his own code. He's no longer a sanguinary angel, just an outlaw gangster. He may still have his revenge on Marlo, but he may have lost his halo of protection.

Yours with delight,
David

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer

Foreigners

Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.

Technology

Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The Slate Quiz
Oct. 24 2014 12:10 AM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
  Life
Outward
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:47 PM Don’t Just Sit There How to be more productive during your commute.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 24 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Partial Solar Eclipse of October 2014
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.