The more they believe.

The bigger the lie, the more they believe. — Bunk.

Are the writers slipping, or am I getting smarter? Somehow, when Bunk dropped that line just ahead of the opening credits, I knew it would be the epigraph for episode one, and probably for the whole season, as well. Because this has always been a show about lying, among many other things.

The scenes are all being set: Carcetti’s lies to the police, now fully revealed as smoke and mirrors; the top editors’ lies to their underlings (do more with less, the University of Maryland is indeed hospitable to minorities); McNulty’s lies to poor Beadie, waiting at home. The lies of the opening scene, a little bit of comedy to let us know just how dumb some criminals are, is unlike anything you see in “Law & Order,” but then, isn’t that why we watch?

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How It Works

I’ve been working my way through Season 1 on DVD the past couple of days (thanks for the loaner Ashley) and I’ve been realizing something: when The Wire first debuted, I was still a raging alcoholic. Some of this stuff I feel like I’m seeing for the first time. Some random things that might be old news to you normies:

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The Bunk and McNutty: The way they were.

Looking ahead to Season 5, with what we know about McNulty’s fall from grace, one has to wonder if this relationship is going to make it, because as we know, “A man must have a code.” Bunk does, but what about Jimmy?

We first hear that phrase, spoken by Bunk to Omar, in Season 1, episode 7, One Arrest, which also features this classic interchange:

Simon’s next project

Damn.  The Wire’s fifth season debuts tonight, but I’m already looking forward to what will hopefully be David Simon’s next project.  He’s writing a pilot for a series to be based in New Orleans.

Hell yeah.

If anybody can successfully make people get New Orleans, it’s David Simon. 

And here you can listen to Simon talk about seeing the Wild Magnolias at Funky Butt.  He gets it, y’all.

Track marks from my Wire addiction?

Upon reflection, it seems I rode my way through a cliché on September 16 of last year. That day of fatigue started in Washington, D.C. The previous day’s antiwar march with the folks of the Eschaton blog had been fun, maybe a little too fun, and I hauled my tired, dehydrated self through Union Station onto a business class train to New York City. I was sitting on the left side of the “quiet car” as I sipped water and ignored my book. It was a bright, sunny midday trip passing through scenic parts of the Northeastern corridor I had never seen before.

Not long after the trip started, we were going through Baltimore. I was looking off to my right at the tall downtown buildings, and a prominent Johns Hopkins structure in particular caught my eye. I was probably wondering how snobby the doctors must be in such a place, perhaps what newer procedures they performed that would make their way to my hospital in a few years. At some point I looked back to my left, at the western side of the city, and there it was, a distinct, unmistakable urban portrait right in front of me. Blocks of row housing, old and falling apart, with a peculiar architecture I found familiar to memory. I was looking at “The Wire” just outside my train window. I even said “it looks just like ‘The Wire’ ” to the young black woman sitting in the seat next to me. She looked out, smiled back at me and returned to her text messaging without saying a word. Not a fan of the show, I guess. Continue reading

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