The Wire
Hard Cases

Episode Report Card
Wing Chun: B- | 1 USERS: A
"If I Hear The Music, I'm Gonna Dance"

Prison. In the warden's office, an Officer Reynolds is reporting that the toxicology reports are coming back positive for strychnine -- 10 or 12%. The warden, distressed, asks whether that's typical, and Reynolds says he's seen street packages cut "with all kind of chemicals." Dealers do it to give a little kick to a weak product. Another officer next to him confirms that, saying that too much rat poison, for instance, will cause "people falling out," as we saw. The warden huffs that it would be nice to have some answers for the reporters, who are asking how the drugs got in, what the prison brass is doing about it -- "the usual." Reynolds dismissively says that it got in the same way everything gets in. Warden: "If you can't win the war on drugs in a prison, where the hell you gonna win it? I ask you!" A guy on the end in a suit -- I'm going to assume he's a lawyer -- says that if it were just one or two guys OD-ing, "it would fade." Instead, they're dealing with "five in one night, and eight more in the infirmary": "We need to show the flag on this." Reynolds tells the warden that they can make a case based on reports from informants -- and that the warden will have many volunteers if he starts offering to shave time off guys' sentences. Whether they match their eagerness with accuracy is a concern for someone else, I guess.

Cop shop. The elevator doors open and McNulty glides out, passing Rawls on his way in to Homicide. "Colonel," greets McNulty cordially. It apparently takes a second for Rawls to notice who's just passed him; he stops dead, turns around, and watches McNulty's purposeful stride in complete shock -- like he thought damning McNulty straight to hell would have literally come to pass by now.

Anyway, McNulty comes into the office, greets Winona, and heads for Bunk's cube. Jay, hanging over a partition, giggles and calls McNulty "Gilligan," at which Bunk rolls his eyes, like, YES, he's on the boat. It's Episode 4; we're over it. "Don't you have a job?" asks Jay ingenuously. "Ooh, ouch!" hisses McNulty sarcastically. Hee. Bunk, and then Jay, regard the board, with its fourteen red Jane Does; Jay throws a pen at McNulty and takes off, leaving McNulty to tell Bunk, "I smell fresh police work." Bunk and Lester give him dirty looks. "Okay, be like that," says McNulty. Turning to Beadie, he asks about the paper she recovered from the container: "A letter, couple of envelopes, some scraps of stuff?" Beadie -- looking much more polished and less careworn than we've seen her up to now -- nods, telling McNulty that it's all in Evidence Control. McNulty moves on to Lester to get the submission slips, but Lester ignores him; he's sanding what looks like a dollhouse window frame. McNulty's like, "Um, hi," and Lester hands him a sheaf of paper, pouting, "You want all of it?" Bunk stops McNulty before he can take the slips and run: "Before you start dancing with your Jane Doe, I'm gonna need a little something from you on the Gant case. I got a full set of Ilene Nathan's teeth marks on my hind parts." McNulty smirks that he's got Bunk covered. "You found Omar?" asks Bunk. McNulty: "I never lost him, my friend." Lester and Bunk both stare at McNulty in bitter shock as he turns on his heel and takes off again. Lester: "He's got Omar?" "Bullshit," drawls Bunk. Beadie stands in for the new viewers, asking who Omar is, but the show has no patience for bandwagon-jumpers; I half-expect Bunk to tell her to go rent Season 1.

In his office, Burrell and Daniels are apparently in Hour 4 of a supersonic staring contest. Finally, Daniels breaks the silence: "My papers are in." Burrell nods: "They are. You want out, you're out." That's all Daniels needs to hear; he pushes his chair straight back and makes to leave as Burrell goes on: "I'm offering to clean the slate here. You and me." Daniels, suspicious, asks why. Burrell says that the council vote is slated for the next week, whereupon Burrell will be "upstairs." He claims that, in order to make his mark on the department, he'll need good people -- this idea having apparently just occurred to him out of the blue. Daniels doesn't buy this story any more than I do, and rolls his eyes as he embellishes: "People you can trust." Burrell grins: "And you ain't that. Hm?" Daniels just stares until Burrell admits, "All right, you're a snake. But you seem to know your business." Daniels declares that he's taking the bar exam in a month, and turns to leave. Burrell suggests that he put it off for a year or two: "Leave the department with a major's pension?" This gets Daniels's attention, as he reluctantly turns back from the door. Burrell explains: "Scalise is gonna retire this summer. You do me a good turn on this detail in the Southeast, and you'll have that posting." Daniels has no idea why Burrell would do that. Burrell, expansively: "I value you, Cedric." He pauses. "You're arrogant and disloyal." Daniels stares impassively, like hearing that assessment from Burrell is actually kind of a compliment. Burrell: "But maybe, given time, you'll find a way to shine." Daniels asks what the detail is, and Burrell replies, "Drug case, probably. My sense of it is that Stan Valchek has got some personal issues with somebody in one of the port unions. He thinks they've got too much money. And so, being Valchek, he gets a detail." Daniels shrugs, terming the case "pretty thin." Burrell doesn't care whether Daniels makes a case for Valchek: "I do care that the old Polack comes away from it feeling he got his money's worth." Daniels finally figures it out, smirking, "Valchek asked for me by name, didn't he. You two are trading horses, and you need me in the corral." He chuckles mirthlessly, shaking his head, and finally offers, "If I bring in a case, you make the detail permanent as a major case unit, within CID." "Fair enough," says Burrell, somewhat noncommittally for my taste. Get it in writing! Burrell adds, "Just keep Valchek stroked and make sure you bring in a drug case or two." Daniels has one other request: "I choose my own people." Burrell looks down wearily. Daniels: "Fuck me once, shame on you." Burrell chuckles. Daniels: "Fuck me twice--" "Make a list," says Burrell, smiling tightly. "Give it to Rawls. He'll pull who you want." Of course -- Rawls is nothing if not accommodating.

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The Wire




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