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Episode #56: “The Dickensian Aspect”

“If you have a problem with this, I understand completely.” – Freamon
Omar hides and tends to his injured leg overnight and then resumes robbing the Stanfield organization. Stanfield assumes control of the New Day Co-Op, telling the members that Omar was responsible for Stewart’s death. Stanfield promotes Cheese, raises the price of narcotics, and suspends further meetings. The police find sealed courthouse documents in Stewart’s house and realize there is a leak somewhere. Freamon enlists Leander Sydnor to man the wiretap and realizes that Stanfield is communicating with picture messages and McNulty abducts and photographs a homeless man in order to provide probable cause for picture intercepts. Templeton writes a follow-up story about a homeless Iraq veteran and draws the praise of his superiors, for once including Haynes. Bunk remains frustrated with McNulty’s scheme and begins to make progress working his old cases the traditional way. Carcetti delivers a rousing speech about the serial killer and decides to spin homelessness into a core campaign issue.

Episode #57: “Took”

“They don’t teach it in law school.” – Pearlman
Freamon and McNulty stage a call from the killer to Templeton and send him the photographs to get the picture intercept equipment they need. Carcetti authorizes resources for the investigation and McNulty finally has the funds he hoped for. Bunk interviews Michael about the vacant murders but learns nothing. Omar attacks more of Stanfield’s people and damages his reputation on the street at every opportunity. After a spectacular courtroom performance Davis is acquitted of the corruption charges. Kima Greggs reconnects with her ex-girlfriend’s son. Haynes investigates his suspicions about Templeton and learns that Templeton has lied about his reporting.



8 Responses to “Episodes 56 and 57: “The Dickensian Aspect” and “Took””

  1. Edwin says:

    To revisit the brief discussion we had at the beginning of class today:
    I think that the treatment of the bodies in the vacants and the homeless murders are treated differently by the media, police, and mayor’s office comes down to who is considered “undesirable.”

    I feel as though both the homeless men and the bodies in the vacants (most all former players in the drug game) are seen and treated as undesirables. Yet the there is some type of compassion or pity felt for the homeless bodies that is not felt for the drug bodies. A story on dead drug dealers is a dime a dozen in Baltimore it seems. Nobody feels pity for the dead drug dealers. But the homeless people are seen as somewhat innocent and killing them is not right.
    In episode 2 or 3 McNultey is talking to Bunk in the interrogation room and justifies his fake serial killer idea by saying “They’re still murders. They’re ghetto murders, but they’re still murders.” McNultey sees that he must take another angle at the murder case that will actually draw attention from the public and thus the authorities so that he can work the original bodies in the vacants. Nobody is going to care about dead drug dealers, but dead homeless men being sexually assaulted, now those are victims that people care about.


    Addison DiSesa Reply:

    I agree with Edwin, at least fundamentally. I wonder, however, if there is an element of racism in the City’s reaction to the homeless murders. Now that a white man is killing other white men, at least the most recent “proposed” victim is white, Baltimore seems to care more about a high murder rate. The thought that 22 unsolved murders can remain unsolved for over a year must imply that there are other factors going into the decision not to solve them apart from the catch-all excuse, “budgetary restrictions.” I think we should consider the fact that the 22 dead bodies found in the vacant houses are going unsolved because of the race of the victims. Not all of the dead bodies that have come from the vacant houses are those of drug dealers. The security guard who crossed Marlo is an example of one of the citizens who died there. In addition, Greggs is, or was, working a triple murder on a home invasion yet her case received little attention from the media apart from Gutierrez’s failed attempt to get a quotation from Greggs at the crime scene. Now that white homeless are dying, white people appear to be in danger in Baltimore. This danger is more than enough for concern. Am I being fair?


    Baird Kellogg Reply:

    I think the attention given to the serial killings may have a racial aspect to it, but overall I believe it is tied to the sexual and random nature of the killings. The sexual aspect, especially the biting, sickens and fascinates people at the same time because of its darkness. Furthermore, drug killings, like Edwin said, are always occurring and are a normal part of “the game.” But the homeless killings scare people because there is no need to kill them. They are random, seemingly senseless murders done by a disturbed man. Maybe he will move on to regular people next. It is enough to worry any Baltimore family about their safety. I believe the racial component is less a factor because the game, as we have already seen, already has a strong racial component to it. I would guess, however, that if the white gangs of Baltimore were dropping a ton of white bodies, it would probably receive a good deal more media attention.


    Edwin Reply:

    I agree with both Baird and Addi. In response to Addi however, I also believe there is an element of racism in connection to the treatment of the vacant house bodies.
    I feel as though the drug dealers are not even treated as citizens or human for that matter. When Omar was a suspect in the convenient store robbery/murder it was Bunk who said “When have you ever known Omar to kill a citizen.” Omar himself also says a couple times throughout the show, “When have you known Omar to put his gun on a citizen, yo?” Drug dealers and folk “in the game” in “Bodymore, Murderland” are not considered citizens.
    There is also Hamsterdam. Although the name was coined by a “hopper” it caught on with the authorities. The name can be taken quite literally as a “dam” or cage for “hamsters” or the dealers and junkies of the game. Colvin’s logic was to consolidate all of the “animals” and move them away from the citizens and regular folk so that they could do their dirt and not bother the good folk.

    In response to Baird, I completely agree as well with the sexual element and the fascination with this new development in the homeless bodies. In episode 3 of season 5 Lester was brainstorming with McNultey and told him that he had to sensationalize the serial killer and give him some sort of sick, twisted fetish that would attract some real attention. “Sex sells” in many different ways. In this case it grabs the attention of the people of Baltimore as something sudden and random that could possibly happen to anyone in the streets. And like Addi said, it’s happening to white people – all the more reason for serious concern.


    jwmoritz Reply:

    In addition to the comments above which draw out may of the same ideas that I have:
    Think about how many murders and deaths we as viewers have witnessed. In particular, think about the murders that receive only the most cursory portrayal in The Wire, because they are in some sense, typical, like the rest of the deaths we have seen. Recently, Omar killing Sevino comes to mind. Further back, the nearly instant shooting of the dealer who was dog fighting with Cheese. By season 5, the viewer has grown accustomed, though hopefully not immune, to the deaths in the show. If you transition this same attitude back into the show, a similar sort of malaise is evident: the Game deaths are a statistic for the homicide division, a burden and embarrassment for city government, barely worth reporting for the papers, and a fact of life in the streets. As viewers, and without any racial implications, it is important to ask which deaths we care about too.


  2. Baird Kellogg says:

    A fascinating parallel in Episode 56 was Tommy Carcetti’s waterfront speech to Mayor Royce’s speech at the towers demolition in the opening scene of Season 3. Both scenes, I believe, had the corrupt developer present. For the towers, it was the inner-city blacks being essentially screwed over by this housing project dubbed as benefiting them. The waterfront project has screwed over the stevedores, who so badly needed to have the grainery built to bring in more ships. I liked how Nick had a brief cameo in this scene, yelling at Carcetti with a fellow dock worker from Season 2. I saw the two dockworkers as paralleling Bode and Poot, discussing the implications of the towers coming down in Season 2. These projects meant to revitalize Baltimore are actually neglecting the people that need them most.

    It is unfortunate that Carcetti gave into Naurese to have this project passed. Unknowingly Carcetti has got into bed with these corrupt developers. I have a hate/feel bad for relationship with Carcetti. I hate him because he screwed Baltimore over by going for the Governorship. But in scenes at the waterfront when he asks the developer “who are those people?” He does not realize the dockworkers are being shafted by this project. It comes from being in the bubble of city hall. There is a separation from many Baltimore realities. Carcetti probably believed here that this revitalization of the waterfront would be the most beneficial project for the city (in addition to benefiting his mayoral resume in preparation for his run at Governor).


  3. Baird Kellogg says:

    Well, unfortunately Season 5 is teeming with tragic scenes. Last week I commented on the trip to six flags as reflecting the lost childhood of Dukie and Michael. In Episode 56 we reconnect with another one of the ‘boys of summer,’ Randy. It was immediately apparent that Randy had completely changed from the soft and sweet boy we once knew him to be. He is much bigger, wearing an undershirt and a hard expression on his face. Randy no longer gives in to the threats from the higher-ups and does not buy Bunk’s BS about going to prison. When Randy leaves he announces to everyone to get this cop away from him and then pushes a little kid on his way back upstairs. Hopefully this is all just a front that Randy must put on to survive in the foster home. He can’t let people think that he is snitching. And bullying younger kids may come from his need to assert his strength so others do not mess with him, however, it may also reflect his anger of all the times he was bullied. Overall it is just very sad to see Randy so differently. He used to be a smiling, business-savvy, scared kid.


    jwmoritz Reply:

    The scene of Randy only a year later is to me, one of the most tragic scenes in the show. When watching the poverty and violence unfold in the show, there is always an element of ‘why’. Randy stands out as an example because we get to watch his progression from a pretty regular, sweet kid, to a hardened, street-wise, and adamantly anti-cop young adult, and we know why it all happened. As Carver stated in the past episode: “It all matters. Everything matters.” The police failed Randy, but to a larger extent, the system failed Randy. This last glimpse of him is particularly striking, because we don’t know what will happen to him, but we can easily imagine him as a dealer, a gun toting muscle man, prison inmate, or a body lying in the street. When Randy walks up those stairs, he is gone for good.


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