The Wire

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Mr. Sobell: B- | Grade It Now!
"They Don't Teach It In Law School"

At Homicide, Holley bounds up to Landsman, pronouncing that they've got a line on the serial killer. "The goof actually called?" Landsman says disbelievingly, and that's McNulty's cue to walk by casually -- perhaps a little too casually. "Hey," he says. "What did I miss?" Oh, I'm guessing you can probably fill in the blanks yourself there, buddy.

Back at the Sun, Klebanow and Whiting are debriefing Templeton about this first latest phone call from the serial killer -- it's worth noting that Gus is hanging back, seated as far away from Templeton as possible while still able to participate in the conversation. His body language also suggests profound disinterest, especially considering the henny-penny way that Templeton is carrying on. "He went off on tangent," Templeton is explaining. "Said he wanted to bite me." "What?" Whiting says. "Bite you how?" Longingly? Lovingly? Just a little nibble? Spare Whiting no salacious details while he pours himself another cocktail and dims the lights to get in the mood. Klebanow asks if Templeton is saying that killer threatened him. You know, it's possible Templeton misheard, and what the killer actually said was "Bite me" -- that's a totally understandable sentiment given whom he was conversing with. Anyhow, before I can heap more abuse on Templeton, his phone rings again. And what's waiting for him is a picture of a homeless man. Hey! We've met that guy!

Credits. You know, I realize that I'm supposed to keep the devil down in his hole, but your lyrics are remarkably skimpy on suggestions as to how. Thanks for nothing, Tom Waits.

"They don't teach it in law school," says Pearlman. What don't they teach? Flamenco dancing? The lost art of dueling? Crocheting? I bet you it's crocheting.

At downtown office, Clay Davis is seeking legal representation and not having much luck at it. "I don't pick so much as a single juror," the attorney explains, "without the full amount of my fee being paid. If you want Billy Murphy on your case, you've got to pay to put him there." For the remainder of this scene, I shall have to consult my Clay Davis bullshit-to-English dictionary: "I've got a taste for you up front," Clay says. "A good five-figure taste." (Translation: "I am a little short on funds right now. Would this modest retainer do?") "Right now with the sword hanging over my head, I don't have the kind of financial support at my disposal that I would ordinarily be able to rely upon. You feel?" (Translation: "Because of my current legal woes, I am no longer able to con people at of money as prodigiously as I have before. Alas.") "They thinking short when they should be thinking long. Shameful shit." (Translation: "They underestimate my chances of beating this rap. How disgraceful of them.") Anyhow, Clay offers Murphy $25,000 plus another $25,000 once a jury is seated; Murphy rejects this, saying he doesn't work that way. "I know you don't, partner," Clay cheerily replies. "I know you don't." (Translation: "Uhhhh... gotta think fast. Gotta think fast.") "And normally, I wouldn't dream of asking you to suit up for game day, with my tab as it is." (Translation: "Hey, handsome! That's right! I'm talking to you! The handsome guy!") Murphy makes his final offer: $200,000 once he extricates Clay from this mess. "And Clay," Murphy adds, "Don't fuck me. Don't even think about fucking me out of a single part of that fee." You've got a better chance of seeing that $200,000, buddy. "You talk as if you don't know me," Clay protests. (Translation: "Shit! He knows me.") "My brother, let's be fair," Clay counters. "I'm providing you with the opportunity to go head-to-head with the state's attorney in a case that's going to be front page news. For all that profile, sheeeeeee-it, partner, you should be paying me a fee." (Translation: "Perhaps the publicity you gather from this case will be of some comfort after I fuck you out of that fee.") Murphy smiles: save your bullshit for the witness stand, my man, you got yourself an attorney. Billy Murphy, by the way, is portrayed by Billy Murphy, and that bodes ill for State's Attorney Bond. Generally speaking, high-profile lawyers don't agree to cameos on television programs only to lose in Act III. I'm pretty sure they do teach at least that in law school.

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The Wire




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