The Wire
All Due Respect

Episode Report Card
Mr. Sobell: B | Grade It Now!
"There's Never Been A Paper Bag"

We are not just at the Western to learn about Herc's strange fantasies involving the 1962 Baltimore Orioles -- "I'm in a hot tub with Jim Gentile when Boog Powell walks in wearing nothing but a knowing smile..." -- there's also a drug sweep going on. Carver gives his squad some final instructions, most of which amount to "Don't embarrass yourselves," and off everybody drives.

In the interrogation room, Cheese is being quizzed by Bunk and McNulty (Good Cop/Insubordinate Cop). "Who's your dawg?" Bunk starts. "You my dawg," says Cheese, blowing a kiss toward Bunk and perhaps not appreciating the gravity of the fix he finds himself in. Bunk chuckles: "I just want to know who's your dawg. Dawg." Cheese goes from unconcerned to puzzled: "What's this, some psychology?" he asks. Bunk puts out four photos of four bodies on the table in front of Cheese, and asks again: "Who's your dawg?" Cheese protests that nobody will be pinning any bodies on him today, and calls out in a sing-song voice, "Lawyer time!" So Bunk moves to the heavy artillery. "He was my dawg, man," Bunk mockingly begins to sob. "I ain't sleeped since I capped his ass. Looking up at me all bloody and shit." If you don't recognize these as Cheese's words from earlier, that's all right -- Cheese sure does. And he's outraged. "Man, you all some cold-ass motherfuckers, man," he says, his voice breaking just a little. "Got you on tape," McNulty says, and won't he regret mentioning that in just a few minutes? Anyhow, Cheese is like, yeah, you got me, so Bunk and McNulty offer to make him a deal. Cheese is more puzzled than before: "Trade up for what, man? For this?" Why sure, says Bunk, still thinking they've got a people-murderer dead to rights -- why not start by ratting out Proposition Joe? Cheese still hasn't quite figured out what's going on, but he does know enough to clam up at the mention of that name. McNulty tries a different tack: "Okay. Dawg," he says pointing to the photos. "Which one of these is he? Where's that body?" "Where I left it, most likely," Cheese says casually. "Warehouse on the Eastside." And the body's still there, Bunk demands. "Far as I know," Cheese says. "Unless the SPCA come around." By the looks on the faces of Bunk and McNulty, this would be the point that Ashton Kutcher would burst into the room to let them know they had been had, were this a lame Candid Camera rip-off and not a tightly-scripted HBO drama.

Because no failure on the The Wire is complete unless it's a total failure, we go outside the interrogation room where the top brass are exulting in Cheese's capture and apparent confession. "Looks like they broke him," Daniel says confidently. Yes, it certainly looks that way. Or, in another, more accurate way, it looks like this particular investigation just went tits up. "You really showed me something on this," a back-slapping Rawls says to Daniels prior to striding off before he really gets shown something. Col. Foerster adds a furtive thumbs up, and even poor Marvin offers his hearty congratulations. Yes, absolutely nothing can go wrong now. Except if the murder they heard Cheese talking about involved a dog and not a person. But that's just crazy defeatist talk. "You ever have one of those 'have your cake and eat it, too' days?" Daniels asks Pearlman after everyone else departs in a cloud of deluded enthusiasm. "I believe this could be my first." I have always hated that metaphor. If you have cake, what's to stop you from eating it, other than dietary restrictions or the fact that you prefer pie to cake? Perhaps, a better metaphor is in order, Daniels -- something like "Did you ever have one of those days where you thought something was going great right up until the moment the universe kicked you square in the nuts?" And why is that relevant to this situation, you ask? Oh, bear with me...

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The Wire




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