The Wire
The Dickensian Aspect

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

Back at Homicide, Bunk is pouring through case files when Landsman and Holley stroll up to his desk. "You remember this one here?" Bunk asks Holley. "I backed away for jacking the boy up outta respect for that goofy motherfucker Pryzbylewski." If you haven't figured out that he's talking about Randy Wagstaff from Season Four by now, the camera helpfully cuts to the file Bunk's holding, where a still young-and-relatively-uncorrupted Randy stares back at us. "Wonder what the young man might tell me a year later, though," Bunk concludes. But Landsman and Holley didn’t come over to reminisce about doomed characters from seasons past -- it turns out that Holley's the investigator on Prop Joe's murder and, in the course of searching Joe's appliance store, found sealed grand jury transcripts in the desk drawer there. Conclusion: someone at the courthouse is not very trustworthy. Also, Prop Joe is the gift that keeps on giving, even from beyond the grave.

At the detail office, Freamon and Sydnor are listening in on the illegal wiretap as Marlo places a lunch order. With a diet that involves the words "chili cheese" and "strawberry lemonade," about the only case they're building against him right now is for crimes against gastronomy. "Tell me they're talking in code, Lester," Sydnor pleads. "I want to go to jail for snatchin' something better than Marlo Stanfield's fucking lunch order." Freamon says there is no code -- what we do have are half-a-dozen calls of a banal nature. "So he ain't doing business with the phone then," concludes Sydnor, who begs Lester to disassemble his illegal wiretap setup and get back to walking the straight-and-narrow. Not so fast there, son -- Freamon's also logged five calls, about thirty to forty seconds in duration, that pick up on the first ring. And nobody says nothing -- "When they talk is bullshit," Freamon explains. "But there are calls where no one says a thing." There's a series of raps on the door, and McNulty pops his head in -- I would have thought his secret-code knock would be Shave And A Haircut, so credit to McNulty for mixing it up on me. "Is he...?" McNulty asks, pointing at Sydnor. Capable of answering direct questions posed at him, like a grown-ass adult? He is. Aware of your sure-to-fail scheme with the fake wiretap? He's that, too. McNulty wants to know if they're picking up Marlo's crew talking business and reacts quite angrily when Freamon tells him that they are not. "Marlo's not going to talk dirt on the phone," Freamon says. "But there's something to this. I just haven't figured it out." What might help Freamon do that would be more manpower -- surveillance teams, specifically, so that they can see how the phones are being put to use. Well, just hold the line, Lester -- the big press conference is coming up soon, and after that, the money will flow like booze in the McNulty household, you just watch. Or so McNulty promises.

As McNulty leaves, Sydnor can't help but wonder how the serial-killer investigation impacts what he and Freamon are up to. "Hard to explain," Freamon says deftly. Man, don't I know it. As I'm typing this, the better half is watching a Prison Break episode for her next recap in which there is, like, a twenty-minute car-chase scene. Oh, for a recap where I could write things like "Linc turns left" and "Michael yells 'Look out!'" over and over again -- not that she doesn't do so skillfully. ["Yeah, keep digging, there, bud." -- Miss Alli] Instead, I've got to spend two hundred pages chronicling McNulty's latest descent into madness. Where's my goddamn extra manpower? That coming out of your big press conference, McNulty?

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The Wire




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