The Wire
Late Editions

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Mr. Sobell: A | 4 USERS: A+
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"Deserve Got Nuthin' To Do With It"

Gus and Ruby return from their conspiratorial coffee break to the Sun's offices. Ruby marches right over to the desk of the paper's librarian and asks for a global printout on everything with a Scott Templeton byline slapped on it. "Everything," Ruby says. "Every edition." The librarian gives Ruby a funny look. "Hey, I'm a fan," Ruby shrugs. So this is the quiet, subtle, discreet approach? I guess if Ruby wanted to make his intentions known, he'd walk up to librarian followed by a marching band and drill squad waving flags with Templeton's face emblazoned on them.

Back at Baltimore's leading hub for refrigerator and heroin distribution, the situation continues to develop. Monk pulls away from the warehouse, Cheese pulls in, and Dozerman continues to check himself for ticks and chiggers. Truck radios Monk's 20 to Sydnor, who's going to pick up the pursuit. Meanwhile, Dozerman removes his shirt. This one's for you, ladies! You too, entomologists!

Let's head on down to police headquarters, where Chief of Staff Weasel Boy is demonstrating why I've saddled him with this nickname for lo these many episodes. He's complaining to Rawls and Daniels that the Police Department has been unable to deliver the double-digit drop in crime promised by His Honor -- in fact, it looks like another record year for crime, just in time for the gubernatorial primary. What's the deal, fellas? Rawls politely reminds the Head Weasel that it's sort of hard to make a dent in the crime stats when your budget is routinely slashed. Hey, we're giving you more resources now, Weasel Boy counters. Well, sure -- now, Rawls concedes, "but this thing is a ship. A supertanker. We can't just turn it around like that." Apparently, when not stoking Carcetti's ego, the chief of staff has spent his off-hours developing an expertise in law enforcement, because he suggests that Rawls up the number of foot patrols and vehicles. "Get a handle on it, dammit," he says, just the least bit patronizingly. Allow Cedric Daniels to shine some light on your ignorance: "That's what doesn't work. More cops where people can see them, more cops on the pavement, more cops riding past, more cops showing the flag so that you guys can say you're being tough on crime. Respectfully, sir, what works is committing to building a real deterrent. We take the time to retool, to teach our people not to chase stats but to do actual policework." Fie on your long-term solutions, Cedric -- the mayor demands quick fixes and he demands them yesterday. "Who pulled your string, Deputy?" Weasel Boy sneers. Daniels points out that Carcetti told him not too long ago that a new day was dawning, and that band-aids and fixes for appearances' sake were going to be a remnant of the Before Time. Aw, that was just pillow talk, baby -- Carcetti would love to make all these systemic changes you're talking about, but in the meantime, there's an election to worry about. "Now, Deputy, right now, my boss needs the crime to go down," Weasel Boy says like Daniels is five years old and refusing to eat his peas. "Not three years from now, not even a year from now. He needs a 10% drop in the next quarter. Or no one is going to be in a position to reform anything." And that's sort of The Wire encapsulated in one two-minute scene, isn't it? Everyone knows what needs to be done -- perhaps a few people even want it to be done -- but no one's willing to put in the time and the capital and the personal risk to see that it is done. And while everyone's busy patching over things, the entire operation crumbles from within. "Be creative, gentleman," Weasel Boy says on his way out the door, and if you didn't know anybody, you'd guess the Royce administration was back in power.

Rawls and Daniels don't even get a moment to weep gently to themselves before there's a knock on the door, with a message that there's a detective waiting to see Daniels: "He says it's urgent." I think the look on Daniels's face can be summed up thusly: "Please not McNulty. Please not McNulty. Oh God, please not McNulty. Or else the murder rate is going to spike up significantly here and now." It's not McNulty -- it's Freamon, and he bears exciting (if unexpected) news for the deputy. He and Sydnor have developed a source -- please don't press for details -- and ran fresh surveillances on Marlo and company. "And we believe we are about to catch his people very dirty," Freamon exults. Daniels is like: come again, friend? And Freamon relates a heavily expurgated version of just how he and Sydnor came across all this juicy intel; the illegal wiretap is left on the cutting-room floor of this version.

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