The Wire
The Dickensian Aspect

Episode Report Card
Mr. Sobell: B+ | 1 USERS: A
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"If you have a problem with this, I understand completely."

Elsewhere in the newsroom, Whiting is telling a dubious Gus about the homelessness angle. "Our coverage should reflect the Dickensian aspect of the homeless," Whiting smarms. That's not the first time he's used that particular turn of phrase. Anyhow, Whiting sees Templeton leading the coverage with the ol' reporter-spends-a-night-on-the-street-to-learn-that-being-homeless-is-a-drag story. Gus points out that Templeton's supposed to be leading the big what's-wrong-with-our-schools project. "I don't see the school project as yielding the same kind of impact as our attention to homelessness can," Whiting oozes. "These murders, the phone call to our reporter -- it really opens up the issue, don't you think?" Gus doesn't think so, but he can't get a word in edgewise before Whiting lays down the edict: from now until year's end, the Sun is going to focus not just on the serial killer -- because they will focus on that, by God -- but "on the nature of homelessness itself." "The Dickensian aspect of it, yeah," a defeated Gus says. Whiting nods at Gus and off he goes. It's fitting that over-using "Dickensian" is one of Whiting's verbal tics -- he's certainly a villain straight out of Dickens. Note to David Simon: I do not intend that as a compliment.

At the detail office, it looks like Freamon is finally letting Sydnor in on what he does with his copious free time. "I have reached a point, Detective Sydnor, where I no longer have the time or patience left to address myself to the system within which we work," Freamon begins. "I'm tired." Does that mean Lester's quitting, Sydnor wants to know. Oh no. No, no, no, no, no. What it does mean is that Freamon's had it up to here with the bullcrap. "When they took us off Marlo this last time," Freamon continues, "when they said they couldn't pay for further investigation, I regarded that decision as illegitimate. And so, I responded in kind. I'm going to press a case against Marlo Stanfield without regard to the usual rules." And with that, Freamon strolls over to the back of the office and opens the door to reveal what he's got cooking. "I'm running an illegal wiretap on Marlo Stanfield's cell phone," Freamon says simply. Sydnor responds to this revelation as if Lester has just said, "These are my dresses. They make me feel pretty." "If you have a problem with this," Lester concludes, "I understand completely. And I urge you to get as far fucking away from me as you can." Lester goes into the back room. After a little bit, Sydnor follows and shuts the door behind him. Now that's a speech that, two or three episodes ago, would have gone a long way toward explaining why Freamon was so willing to sign on to McNulty's plan. Better later than never, I suppose.

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The Wire

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