The Wire Final Season

Week 7: What's More Outrageous, Hamsterdam or Bitey?
Talking television.
Feb. 18 2008 12:41 PM

The Wire Final Season

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Dear David,

Cut them some slack?

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If you say so. I'll stipulate that this is a minor complaint, but I think the "Obanda" reference bothered me because it represented an intrusion into an otherwise excellent subplot of the sort of faux-sophisticated knowingness that infects the newsroom dialogue so egregiously. You'll recall that this has happened before, at a story meeting at the Sun, where the small-talk among the editors concerned the baseball steroid scandal, except that all the supposedly sly references were six months out of date.

Speaking of egregiousness, how can you possibly believe that the Hamsterdam premise was as preposterous as the story line you call, quite succinctly, "Bitey the Bloodthirsty"? The first had to do with an experiment in de facto drug legalization in a small corner of the city by a thoughtful and frustrated police official. The second has formerly competent police detectives concocting from scratch the story of a serial murderer who bites homeless men on the ass, or the thighs, or wherever. I'm quite sure that, in real life, at various times in various places, thoughtful and frustrated police officials have conducted experiments along the lines of Bunny Colvin's; I have never heard of a story in which police detectives defile corpses and kidnap a homeless man, all in order to extract computer equipment from their superiors.

Since you've already asked the readers of this dialogue to contextualize Omar's killing of Savino, let me put this question out there as well: Is Hamsterdam as outrageous an idea as Bitey the Bloodthirsty?

That said, I will admit to something: I'm actually just a wee bit curious to see if Templeton gets caught. I'm assuming it's Gus who will go down, for questioning Templeton's bona fides (this is a guess, but an informed one, since we've all read David Simon on the real-life Sun), but I've become curious. But it's not the sort of curiosity I felt about the fate of, say, Bunny Colvin; it's the sort of curiosity that develops about one-third of the way through an episode of Law & Order.

Back to you, Bitey.

Jeff

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for the Atlantic and the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror.