At least McNulty's superiority is short-lived. Barlow sidles up and notes that there's a case down in South Carolina similar to one he's working up in Baltimore. He would very much like McNulty to gift him a car and two nights' lodging so that he can go to Carolina and look for evidence that might help his case. If this has the vague whiff of bullshit about it, that's because it is: even a casual perusal of the file indicates to McNulty that there's no similarity between the cases at all. Fine, fine, Barlow admits; he really wants to go to Carolina because his brother-in-law got him a tee time at the fancy-pants golf course at Hilton Head: "Jimmy, I'm going, goddamnit." McNulty fails to see how that affects him. Allow Barlow to enlighten you: "You know this is some real cute shit you're pulling here. Taking the detail money and doling it around like a priest passing wafers. Now I don't know exactly what you're up to, but I know this: if someone picked up a phone around here, your shit is critically fucked." So that'll be two nights' lodging and road car for Barlow, and an important lesson about how quickly things can unravel for McNulty.
So here's another Wire ending I'm toying with: Animal House-style freeze frames with captions of what happens to each character. You know, like, "Bunk Moreland was thrown off the police force for excessive competence and now makes a living as a solider of fortune with a team of mercenaries based out of Los Angeles." Or "Omar Little was actually not shot in the head, but rather taken to a farm -- yes, that's right, a farm. Where he runs and jumps and plays and has all the Honey Nut Cheerios he can eat." And of course, McNulty's will end with the shot of him rogering that bar skank under the freeway overpass with the caption "Senator McNulty and wife." Of course, since there are like 423 principal characters in The Wire, such an ending might take three, four hours. So HBO pre-empts that night's rerun of Cathouse -- big whoop.
The clock on the fancy surveillance equipment reads 10:55:34, and you know what that means, kids. Well, neither do the police, which is why the surveillance squads are on the move. Sydnor is following Stanfield eastbound on Baltimore Street at Calhoun. Truck and Dozerman are following Monk, who's heading southbound down on MLK approaching Route 40. Freamon scribbles all this down in a log book, while some Wire fan doubtlessly builds a Google Earth map chronicling the Stanfield gang's every move. Hey, if someone went to all that trouble for the car chase scene in Bullitt, who's to say that The Wire deserves any less.