The Wire
Collateral Damage

Episode Report Card
Wing Chun: A | 1 USERS: A+
"They Can Chew You Up, But They Gotta Spit You Out"

We open on a shot of thirteen white body bags, spread out randomly (would it have killed someone to arrange them in rows?), as Beadie tells a group of three tall male troopers, "Thirteen bodies: all female; eleven white; two Asian-looking. All between the ages of maybe twenty, thirty. All very dead." "From Eastern Europe, probably," guesses one trooper. "So this is...what?" asks Beadie. "An accident?" "Your air pipe's up top, crushed," says the trooper. "Probably during the off-load. So, yeah. Accidental, probably." As he's talking, we get a shot of several other law-enforcement officers standing on top of the container, chatting and yukking it up and generally having a gay old time. The trooper adds that the cause of death is up to Dr. Frazier to determine. Beadie awkwardly steps around a corpse to ask Frazier, currently crouching on the floor to examine a body, "How're we doing?" Frazier repeats the question wearily. Beadie corrects herself: "What are we doing?" Frazier guesses that this is Beadie's first death investigation. "First and onliest," she replies breathlessly. "You got thirteen for the price of one," says Frazier. He tells her that they'll start with autopsies in the afternoon, and that she should send any identification on the bodies to his office. "What identification?" asks a trooper, or possibly a Customs officer (it's kind of a law-enforcement clusterfuck), unconcerned, saying that they have yet to find a passport. "Whatever you find in this luggage, send it over," says Frazier, "or they're all going to the Anatomy Board as Jane Does." He asks what the investigating agency will be, which leaves Beadie, the troopers, and the Customs officers staring at each other, wondering if it would be inappropriate to yell, "Not it!" Finally, a guy in a big flat-brimmed hat (which says "trooper" to me, but I am no expert) offers, "If they were alive, they'd be illegals, and that would mean Immigration. But they're dead, so they're cargo." Lovely. "Cargo, but no contraband," says a Customs officer. "There's nothing to be seized as a Customs violation. They're dead on Port Authority property, right?" The trooper says they are, which makes it "a state thing." "We'll eat it," says a trooper, all blasé. "If it's accidental, then it's just about IDs on these stowaways, right?" "Good enough for me, brother," says the Customs guy, heading off in relief. "No reason to open a full case folder that I can see," adds the trooper, who could not give one-fifteenth of a shit about these women. But Beadie doesn't hesitate to be the conscience in the room: "Wait a minute. You CID guys are rolling out on this?" "No crime, no investigation," says the trooper. "All you've got right here, Officer Russell, is a lot of paperwork." He takes off, too, as Beadie is left reeling. Frazier: "And then there was one." All the officers start making their way out of the warehouse, but Beadie can't help turning back for one last painful look around. I didn't hear anyone call anything, so "not it" might still apply. Or possibly some kind of reverse "shotgun."

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The Wire




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