Category Archives: The Wire

Thoughts on Our Final Wire Intercept

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We’ll Not See Their Like Again: Freamon, Bunk, and McNulty say their goodbyes.

My girlfriend and I have spent about 3.5% of 2008 watching The Wire. Starting around new year, we voraciously consumed all 60 episodes. We watching the big finale last night, the evening of the 71st day of the year. So out of 1,704 hours of Double-Aught-Eight, we’ve spent 60 of ’em, give or take, in front of the tube. If you’ve ever seen this show, you’ll have no trouble understanding why: It sucks you in. And it’s so smart and honest and fully-realized, you don’t feel the least bit bad about allowing it to suck you in the way you do with, say, LOST or 24.

And now it’s all over. SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t already watched the finale, etc., etc.

You had us a little scared for a while there, David Simon. What with only 10 episodes in this final season (the result of HBO brass telling you to “do more with less,” as the Baltimore Police and the Baltimore Sun staff are both repeatedly to do?), your plotting sometimes seemed hasty in a way it rarely had before. The final episode of any Wire season always features a kind of accelerated, jump-cut storytelling that’s the stock-in-trade of formulaic procedurals like the deathless Law & Order: Whatever the Fuck, and your final, 50%-extra-length episode was no exception. I know you would have loved to have shown us the conversation where the Sun brass demotes Gus Haynes to copy editor, for example. Still, though, you managed to pull it all together in satisfying, credible fashion. Cheers.

Who knew you could be such a softie? I mean, sure, Marlo gets away with everything, but still: Michael becomes Omar. Sydnor become McNulty. Daniels becomes Matlock. Herc becomes Michael Clayton.

I was sort of expecting a Sopranos non-ending redux, but then again, this sort of symmetry has always been part of the show. Overall, most satisfying.

Irish Song of the Damned

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A recent-ish (and Shane-less? Is that him, supine in the foreground at left? I can’t tell.) photo of the Pogues.

So. Spent the last two nights at the 9:30 seeing the Pogues for the first and second time. Hardly the debauched evening I might have expected if I’d seen them 20 years ago, but they sounded great.

I was on company time the first show (Paper of Record review here), when I spied Baltimore Sun newsman-turned-Homicide author-turned-creator of The Wire, David Simon, walking up to the VIP balcony. I waited around to try to talk to him after the show, but was told the balcony was closed for a private function.

Simon’s presence at a Pogues show on Sunday evening was ironic because the final episode The Wire had begun airing on HBO about 15 minutes before the Pogues took the stage, and because the Pogues’ music has been featured prominently in several episodes of the billiant HBO series. “Metropolitan” has scored at least one of Det. Jimmy McNulty’s  (Dominc West) adventures in drunk driving, but more to the point, there’s a tradition on the show — one that presumably, given Simon’s insistence on authenticity even in the most minute details, has its origins in the actual practice of the Baltimore Police Department — that when a cop dies, his brothers in arms lay him out on a pool table, eulogize him, and then sing the Pogues’s “The Body of an American” over him.

Sunday night, the Pogues played “Body” 12th in their set of 26 songs, I think. I turned around to try to catch a glimpse of Simon’s face but couldn’t see him just then.

Anyway, Paper of Record pop critic J. Freedom du Lac blogged about my sighting, and The Reliable Source picked it up today.

I still wish I could have spoken to Simon. I’ve got lots of things I’d like to ask him, about journalism and music and filmmaking and The Wire, but if I only had a second I’d thank him for creating what I’m hardly the first to call the most sophisticated and truthful show probably in the history of television. One of the funniest and most moving, too.