Kima arrives at the home of one of the dead homeless men's families to do the Landsman-ordered background checks. She finds several TV news vans already camped out in front of the home with assorted reporters taping assortedly insipid introductions to their shallow stories. Ah, local TV news -- where no reporting is so banal that it can't be papered over by dispatching the reporter to file an on-the-scene report -- whether it's standing out in the pouring rain to confirm to the viewing audience that, yep, it's a little bit rainy out there or tearing up the lawn in front of a grieving family's home. "Goddamn vultures," Kima mutters as she walks toward the home. Kima, this is pay cable -- surely, you can be much more vulgar than that when discussing people who work in TV news.
At the Sun, Fletch is going over his contribution to the "Serial Killer Briefly Invigorates Local Newspaper" package of stories with Gus, and he's being his own worst critic. The story is formulaic, the writing uninspired, Fletch concludes. Yes, but it's probably rooted in fact, which puts it a step ahead of the dispatches being filed by other Sun reporters I could name, if I were feeling petty. (Wait a minute...I'm nothing if not petty. It's Templeton! Templeton! A thousand times Templeton!) Gus agrees, saying that it's all right for a sidebar -- ouch, man -- but instructs Fletch to spend a next day really spending time with the homeless and telling their story how it really is. "Tomorrow, get back in the shelters and soup kitchens," Gus suggests, "and just be with folk. I don't even care if you file copy on it. If something presents itself as a story, great, but if not, just spend a day being with people." An editor who's blasé about his reporters filing copy after a day working a beat? Clearly, The Wire is abandoning conventional fiction in favor of the sci-fi/fantasy genre. The point is, I guess, that Gus is the bestest, most greatest editor ever... next to whoever catches all the grammatical errors I've made in the last 50 words of this tome, of course.
Back to the home of the grieving parents in the middle of Kima's debriefing. Their son was in and out of rehab, they tried to do what they could for him, but eventually decided they had to cut him off, even if it meant that he was going to die from a drug overdose. But they weren't expecting him to fall prey to a serial killer -- or, if we want to be completely accurate, fall prey to an out-of-control homicide cop who fabricated him into the victim of a serial killer. The parents are understandably devastated by this turn of events: "This thing in the newspaper," the father says. "This sex stuff...the biting or whatever...Jesus, nobody deserves that." Let's just add "grieving next-of-kin" to the collateral damage McNulty's caused and move on before Kima tears up.