The Wire
Late Editions

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

Anyhow, now that Marlo's tantrum is over, Chris gets back to the subject at hand, which is Michael and his loyalty or lack of same. Chris doesn't believe that Michael is the source of all this confidential police information. And Marlo agrees. "But you ready to bet your future on that?" he asks. Sounds like Marlo's not the gambling type.

To Homicide, where Landsman decides to do a little compare-and-contrast, with Bunk and McNulty. Gallant works a file and tracks down leads, leading to a murder arrest. Goofus is given unlimited resources to investigate his serial killer case and doesn't make any progress. Guess who's Goofus and who's Gallant in this little pageant? Let Landsman make it clear to you: "From everything we've given you, fire should be shooting out of your ass," he tells McNulty. "But no. There you sit like a genital wart." As if having to absorb Landsman's abuse with nary a protest weren't bad enough, McNulty has to also face Kima's baleful glare. She waits until Landsman retires to his office to leer at fitness porn, before demanding what McNulty plans on doing now: "Keep half a district worth of manpower on the street chasing bullshit?" McNulty repeats his oft-told exit strategy of letting things gradually die down. Hate to burst your bubble, champ, but the fact that Landsman is crawling all over you to make progress on your made-up case doesn't exactly suggest a department that's ready to sweep this thing under the rug. Not to mention that Kima still is opposed to this whole thing, even with Marlo apprehended. "Fuck Marlo," Kima spits. "Fuck you." That makes McNulty one sad, crime-faking panda.

Back to the Sun, where Phelps, the state editor, notices a mass of bodies assembled in Klebanow's office and asks the all-seeing, all-knowing Gus what's going on. It's a planning meeting for the Pulitzer submissions. Let's listen in on it, shall we? Whiting is urging everyone to continue to build on the homeless coverage through the end of the year with no falloff. Klebanow reminds Templeton to start looking for ways to criticize the response to the problem -- cynical newspeople call these the "Gotcha" stories, so I'm betting you can guess what Templeton calls it, huh? Anyhow, there's a lot of talk about capering to the whims of the Pulitzer committee and tailoring the coverage so that it appeals to prize judges (as opposed to, say, informing or empowering the paper's readers), and I guess we're supposed to be appalled by the cravenness of it all, except that Whiting, Klebanow, and Templeton basically went from zero to craven in about six seconds of screen time, so it's not like we're seeing anything we haven't already this year. But because this point has been driven home enough, Luxenberg the Metro Editor -- playing the sadly ignored voice of reason in our little drama -- pipes up to ask what exactly the Sun is trying to say with its coverage. "What do we want to say about homelessness?" Luxenberg asks. "I mean, it's bad. It's very bad, granted. But isn't it symptomatic of a much greater dynamic?" That sounds perfectly lousy on an award plaque, dummy. Let Klebanow enlighten you: "We want to rediscover a world that, for too long, has been ignored. Examine the tragedy underlying these murders, the neglect..." "The Dickensian aspect," Templeton suggests, employing what is not only Whiting's favorite turn of phrase but also apparently David Simon's favorite shorthand for journalists who are award-covetous gasbags. "Oh God -- Templeton's one of them!," we're supposed to say, and we would if we hadn't reached that conclusion weeks ago.

Outside the Meeting Room of Villainy, where real reporters are doing real newspaper work, Gus summons Alma to his desk to account for the bland, flavorless Daniels quote that's stinking up her copy. Alma relates how Daniels refused to say anything remotely colorful on account of the paper reporting that he backstabbed Burrell. You can see the mental gears turning in Gus's brain: "It was Scott Templeton who got us that now-disputed quote." Anyhow, they're past deadline, so Gus axes the quote from Alma's story. Then he turns and stares at the meeting room as Whiting is patting Templeton on the shoulder. All right, Templeton -- no one makes Gus Haynes have to chop lifeless quotes out of stories because you poisoned a source against the paper. It just got personal, buddy.

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The Wire




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