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September 11, 2006

Sunday Night Wire Blogging

by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math

I'm sure there will be others covering tonight's season opener, but here's my take. Spoilers ahead.

On the street, it's too early to tell what's going on. Most of the Barksdale's people are probably still in The Cut thanks to the large bust at the end of season three. All we get to see is Bodie, relegated to a low-traffic corner, and a slew of young'ns, about whom we know very, very, little. Presumably they'll run into Prez during his new career providing the "based on a true story" material for Dangerous Minds: Baltimore.

It's not clear how both the Homicide and Major Case Units view Marlo's consolidation of the drug trade on the West Side. The conversation between Freeman, 'Bunk, and Norris suggests that the lack of bodies just means that the new crew is better at hiding their dirt. But even though we see Marlo's muscle putting in work, he seems more businessman than soldier; his initial urge to let Lex be suggests he'd rather avoid a high profile that might attract the police.

On the political front, the daily grind of campaigning is driving O'Malley Carcetti over the wall. The hatred of dialing-for-dollars isn't that surprising [and happens quite often in real life], but the fact that he blows off fundraising this close to the election is bad news. Worse, his obsession with polling portends additional doom, if he ignores door-to-door campaigning and public appearances in favor of poring over the latest results. In the real world, no mayor's race outside of NYC, LA, and Chicago would have polling data as detailed as what we saw tonight, but we can allow some poetic license. Still, Carcetti and his campaign manager seem less sanguine on the Great White Hope's prospects than they ought to be. Baltimore is 31% white, so to get to 41%, he needs 75% of the white vote and 30-35% of the black vote. Perfectly doable, it would seem to me.

Consider this an open thread on The Wire, crime, education, city politics, and anything else.

September 11, 2006 | Permalink


A bit better at hiding their dirt? It sure looked like bodies disappearing into boarded-up, presumably empty buildings... and I'm wondering whether the locations of those buildings (or the areas Carcetti put a call in to try to fix up) might play further into the story, as threads overlap. Maybe I misinterpreted the use of the nail gun and the late-night boarding up of a door, but that seemed significant. So what will the signifigance of the discovery of the bodies be, whenever it happens?

Also a curiosity: what will become of the officer who became a teacher? I'm not sure he'll last very long, but it should be interesting to watch. I imagine he serves to show just how awful the environment is in his new job, as opposed to his (presumably worse) old job. The schools are central this season, I've read, and he's our main carryover character for that story.

Posted by: lb | Sep 11, 2006 12:26:30 AM

Ed Burns, Simon's creative partner, worked as a teacher for several years in inner city Baltimore. He [Burns] considers himself modestly effective. So I think he'll just sort of learn to deal with the situation.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Sep 11, 2006 12:45:56 AM

I'll try to avoid future spoilers (HBO gave a bit of the season arc away on their preview shows), but just wanted to correct you on one point - Marlo had no hesitation about offing Lex, but he's smart enough to know that the bodies are what bring the Narcos, so why mess with a crew that's no threat and holds unprofitable real estate?

I think in season 3, Marlo demonstrated no aversion to killing.

What I found most interesting was Carver taking his job more seriously - given the history of the show, I'm curious as to how that will come back and bite him in the ass...

Posted by: Pooh | Sep 11, 2006 1:38:58 AM

Carcetti isn't just being driven up the wall by campaigning, his conscience is eating him for drawing Gray into the race. He can excuse it so long as he can convince himself it will help him win and then he'll do good for the city ... that nagging edge of guilt also makes it that much harder to beg for money - "Give me $4,000, though I'm a deceitful SOB who doesn't deserve it and you should be giving it to a better man".

Looked at from the inside, he is behind in the race, but its still winnable, so he needs to redouble his efforts. But a nagging edge of guilt keeps making him look at it from the outside, where the odds are he will lose. His traitorous conscience is whispering to him that pulling out and throwing his support behind Gray is the right thing to do.

Posted by: BruceMcF | Sep 11, 2006 8:49:23 AM

Bruce: that makes sense. I just remembered the scenes in the last two or three episodes of season 3, where his "it's never personal with me. It's just politics/business" attitude seemed to come into conflict once he finally had to egg Gray into the race in order to have a shot at winning.

I love his Dpty. CM's quote. "The last White Boy I voted for was Bobby Kennedy. And all due respect, you ain't know Bobby Kennedy." Question: was there even a primary in Maryland in 1968? Obviously he could be from New York or some other state, but I'm curious ...

Pooh: The difference is, Marlo didn't start the war with Barksdale (probably for fear of losing in the end). Meanwhile this season he appears to be holding his muscle back against Bodie, judging that it's not worth the effort.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Sep 11, 2006 5:38:48 PM

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