The Wire
The Cost

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"And Then He Dropped The Bracelets..."

In a hearing room, Elena's lawyer, a Mr. Palmer, is telling the judge how McNulty lost the kids playing "the spy game." The judge doesn't disagree, but says that Elena's request for an emergency ex parte order is "extraordinary," and exposits that Elena's trying to limit McNulty to afternoon visitations, and require that she be present every time: "Come on." Heh. Ronnie, sitting next to McNulty, looks like she's relieved she never had any of his babies; McNulty himself just looks glum as Palmer says that the incident at the market wasn't isolated: "Mr. McNulty has time and again failed to properly care for the children when they're in his custody." Elena, looking a little ashamed, glances across the aisle at her ex-husband while Palmer claims to have "a list of recent events" documenting what a shitty parent McNulty is. The judge, sounding exhausted, asks whether Ronnie has anything to offer up in McNulty's defense. "Nope," says Ronnie cheerfully. The judge is like, "No, seriously," and Ronnie gets up as she explains, "If this were possession with intent, I'd be a prosecutor with a plan. But a domestic order hearing? Your Honour, I'm officially clueless." Elena glances at Ronnie with silent rage, and Ronnie adds that as an employee of the state, she shouldn't be there. The judge tells them all to take a breath, and says that before she rules on the emergency order, she needs to know if the McNulties are capable of conversing civilly. Both parents say that they are, and the judge says that, in that case, she's going to lunch: "Let's see when I return if we can't busy this court with something just a little more engaging than the problems of the McNultys." This isn't enough drama for her? Is she waiting for the dad who put his kids front and follow on Dracula?

In a dank interview room, Levy is meeting with Orlando, who's saying that he'll do his time: "The least our people can do is throw down a little something to pay the bondsman." Levy, who's paid by people further up the chain of command, ignores Orlando, handing him the deed of transfer for the club, and a license transfer application for the liquor board: "They're both backdated and notarized for last week." Wouldn't a convenient coincidence like that be a red flag for anyone investigating the case? I guess they probably wouldn't look into it too closely as long as Orlando went along with everything just to make sure he didn't get all murdered and shit. Anyway, Orlando doesn't get it, forcing Levy to explain, "A front has to be clean. And right now, you ain't that. Sign." Orlando sits back and tries playing hardball: "I want my bail paid. You send me a bondsman, I'll sign." "Is that what you want me to tell him?" smirks Levy. "That I asked you to sign and you wouldn't?" Well, honestly. He holds up the pen to Orlando, who only hesitates a moment before giving in to sign. As Orlando stews, Levy needles, "You wanted to be in the game, right? Now you're in the game." This game is not nearly as fun as Hungry Hungry Hippos.

On a bench in the courthouse hallway, Elena spits, "Unbelievable. You show up with her?" McNulty says that, under the circumstances, he "grabbed whatever lawyer was standing around." "Oh, she was standing?" says Elena bitterly. Snap! She sarcastically tells McNulty to ask whether Ronnie wants the pictures back: "Let's see, I've got her at the restaurant with you pulling out her chair. I've got her at the motel parking lot with you opening the car door for her, because you're such a fucking gentleman now." Elena, come on. What in the world would Ronnie want those pictures for? McNulty spits back that he can't believe Elena hired Buckman: "Son of a bitch never made a case that counted." Apparently just the one. "Yeah, well, he caught your cheating ass," says Elena, backing me up. There's a beat, as both consider past wrongs, and then McNulty asks, "Elena, why are we here?" "Because you can't have Sean and Michael around criminals!" screeches Elena. "You can't lose them in a Baltimore market! That's why!" "He wasn't a criminal!" lies McNulty. A court officer goes by, causing both McNultys to lower their voices a little, as McNulty's pants continue to blaze: "I know the guy. It was a game we were playing. It was daylight on a crowded street. They could've been following Al Capone, it would've been fine." He says that Sean and Mikey are his sons, and that he loves them: "I'm not gonna let 'em get hurt." He sits back, and then mutters, "I love you, too." Elena looks at McNulty like nothing that's happened today has made her angrier. "Still do," McNulty adds. Elena rolls her head back, and then screws up her face to ask, of Ronnie, "Does she know? About the detective and the pictures?" McNulty says she doesn't: "Why would I tell her about that?" Elena haltingly asks whether Ronnie and McNulty are still seeing each other, and McNulty, insulted, says no. Elena frowns at him, silently waiting, and then McNulty admits, "Yes. A little." Elena nods and makes a face like, "There it is." They look at each other like they can almost remember why they liked each other enough to get married in the first place, and then McNulty suggests that they go in and "make nice for the judge." Elena agrees, reluctantly, and gets up so that we can appreciate her Newport News outfit in its frumpy entirety.

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