THE WIRE (Season premiere)
"More with Less"
"The Bigger the lie, the more they believe." — Bunk
So it’s been more than a year since we caught up with our good friends at The Wire. And how are things going in the fair city of Baltimore?
Pretty much the same as always, only far, far worse. Thanks for asking.
Let’s start off with the police force, which, thanks to the massive school budget crisis in Baltimore, is not actually getting paid for overtime. Nor has the pay raise that Mayor Carcetti promised everyone way back when ever materialized. In the Western District , it’s all Carver — now the sergeant in charge — can do to quell a mutiny; he cannot, however, stop the officers from punching each other. For the Major Case Unit, this just means hours upon hours of unpaid overtime as they’ve spent the past year keeping a close watch on Marlo Stanfield to little avail.
As for City Hall, Carcetti has an entire city to run and no money to run it. If you think he’s regretting telling the governor in Season Four to go piss up a rope instead of accepting that bailout money — and Lord, Norman Wilson sure does regret it — think again. Because when the U.S. Attorney shows up with an offer to help the city investigate all those dead bodies that turned up last season if Carcetti will just make a federal case out of the Clay Davis corruption investigation, Carcetti again burns down bridges he has yet to even cross. Looks like more cutbacks for the city, then.
Speaking of cutbacks, let’s head over to the Baltimore Sun, where we can meet a whole new cast of characters. Things are rough over at the newspaper, too, thanks to tighter budgets and reduced staffing. And yet, the professionals on the paper struggle on lead by saintly city desk editor Gus Haynes (Clark Johnson) who rallies his rag-tag crew to come up with front-page-worthy stories day after soul-crushing day. If the previous seasons of The Wire are anything to go by, look for Gus to get chewed up and spit out by the system — no doubt thanks to the craven behavior of the paper’s managing editor, who is so transparently villainous, even after one brief scene, I can only imagine the horrific ways in which the person he’s based on must have wronged David Simon.
You’ll be happy to know that these grim times do not extend to Marlo, who is enjoying a thriving drug trade — so much so that he seems to be outgrowing Prop Joe’s co-op (perhaps with the help of that nice Ukrainian murderer we met in Season Two). And Michael is doing well too, developing a promising career running one of Marlo’s corners. And that’s just really…depressing, actually.
By the end of the episode, cutbacks have gotten so bad that the Major Case Unit is disbanded and scattered to the four winds, even after Daniels personally appeals to the mayor. Freamon and Sydnor are kept on to aid in the Clay Davis investigation. Dozerman is sent off to the tactical unit. And Kima and McNulty are returned to Homicide, much to the once-again drunken, womanizing latter’s great dismay.