The Wire Final Season

Week 9: Bunk, Kima, and Loyalty
Talking television.
March 4 2008 1:17 PM

The Wire Final Season

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Dear David,

Yak milk? How did you know about the yak milk? I thought we kept that a secret.

In re: your Bunk post—don't get like that with me. Or I'm going to have to ... I don't know. Post a highly negative review of The Genius Factory on Amazon? I was going to write that I would "bust a cap in your ass," but only white people talk that way anymore, and, as one of Washington's foremost gay black stickup artists, I can't be heard talking like a white guy from Potomac.

I haven't sufficiently grappled with your previous assertion that Bunk chose "loyalty over right" by keeping silent on McNulty's hijinks because I didn't want to enter a debate I knew I couldn't win, at least not inside the excessively rational, anti-tribal culture fostered at Slate. And I won't now, except to say that I don't see the binary you apparently see when you hold up "loyalty" as the opposite of "right." These men are friends and comrades. Like most police partners, they have been in mortal danger together, and they have saved each other's lives. Their connection is profound. You tend to overlook the flaws of people who have actually saved your life; this is true in police work and in any army. Given that McNulty isn't pillaging, robbing, or raping; given that his crime is well-intentioned; and given that Bunk's homicide squad benefits from McNulty's scam, I don't think Bunk made the wrong choice by keeping silent. He should have counseled his partner more strenuously against such stupidity, but I would think less of him if he ran to the bosses to rat out his friend. And, by the way, in real life, I'm not sure a detective in Kima's position would rat Jimmy out, either.

There, now you know my position on loyalty. Which actually should serve you well, as an officially sanctioned friend of Goldberg. I'm even thinking of bringing you along the next time I hit one of Marlo's stash houses.

Best,
Jeff

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

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