Ain’t you the little king of diamonds?

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I would be remiss not to note that last night’s episode was directed by Dominic West. Well done, there.

Note also that the final episode of the series, -30-, was directed by Clark Johnson, who also directed the first episode of the series, The Target.

Some Monday morning nitpickety discussion starters after the cut:

  • Did you find the Munch appearance too gimmicky? This is getting talked about on other boards, so I thought I’d bring it up here. Personally speaking, I didn’t. I’d put it in the same category of cognitive blip as when a real-life Baltimore figure appears in a cameo, or when one of the HLOTS actors appears in a new role on The Wire. For those keeping score, this make nine separate series that the character of Munch, played by Richard Belzer, has appeared in: Homicide, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order (original series), The X-Files, The Beat, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, Arrested Development, The Simpsons, The Wire, and Paris enquêtes criminelles, the French version of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

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  • Was the Clay Davis trial realistic or too much of a stretch? I think the biggest stretch was that it was wrapped up so quickly. Could all that we saw in 57 happen in one day? As for the verdict, it’s less of a stretch.

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    • Is it unrealistic that Lester and McNulty made their fake call from the utility closet undetected by the detective assigned to watching the wire, sitting only a few feet away from said closet? The way it was shot seemed to emphasize that proximity, which seemed like a cynical comment.
    • And finally, much as I adored the ending, wtf was Kima thinking leaving that window open with a toddler in the house?

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      19 Comments

      1. I got the feeling that the episode took place over a 7 – 10 day period and that the trial was at least a week long. Now, perhaps that is still to short, I really don’t know. But “Obonda” made mention in episdoe 6 that he wanted to pair down to witness list in an attempt to not try the attention span of a city jury. Also, in ep6, Pearlman asks Bond straight up if he is up to the trial as he has not tried a case in a long time.

        Again, I don’t know if the timeline if feasible or not, but I give these writers the benefit of the doubt at every turn. It’s not like they all of a sudden had a brain fart and forgot to realize that what was happening with the Clay Davis trial would be unbelievable. For all the other “unbelievalbe” aspects of this seaon, the writers themselves – through various characters in the show – have pointed out craziness.

      2. Don’t worry, Tito. I’m not looking to tear the show down, just start conversation. I’ve got a cold and I’m not feeling very imaginative…

      3. Munch was certainly not gimmicky — he got his start in a cop bar near the inner harbor in Bawlmer. Name one show other than H:LOTS that can lay claim to that. It was homage.

        Total agreement about the Clay Davis trial. The prosecution was completely unprepared…and they should have played it like it went on for at least a few days.

        Fake call: the proximity was planned. Otherwise it would have been in Lester’s wire room. Cynicism indeed.

        Too bad many people, ‘specially those without kids, won’t get how cool the ending was. My wife watched, and enjoyed it, but I had to translate too much for her. “What are hoppers?….”

      4. Was it established that that was Munch, as opposed to some other person played by Belzer? I didn’t catch whether the bartender called him by name.

        In any case, I thought his appearance was appropriate and a nice homage.

        I did think the fake was nuts. I assumed it was intended, but I found it hard to believe they would do it there. And as I said in another comment to another post, the accent was not right for the call, if they caller was supposed to be a local.

      5. It’s my turn to put the toddler to bed tonight – momentarily – and I’m thinking we’ll say “goodnight popo” right after “and the quiet old lady who was whispering hush.”

      6. It was established that the guy Bellzer played at the bar used to own a bar…and it was a cop bar. So we don’t *know* it was Munch, but hey…

      7. I let my 10 year old watch with me last night. He thought “Good night po-pos” was hilarious.

      8. I thought I had commented on the Clay Davis jury somewhere below, but I guess I fell asleep… get ready for a long comment. I started to neaten this up for a post, but the power just went out on my block. The UPS should have enough to get this comment out.

        The length of the trial? Well, the trial wasn’t a one day deal, hell, a court cannot do a complex DWI trial in a day hardly. But the length of the trial is an interesting issue, as is it’s place in this episode’s story line.

        I think the important thing is how Clay Davis won a verdict when the evidence was clearly against him. The defense appealed to emotion very effectively, making any explanation no matter how unlikely an excuse to acquit. This is a tip of the hat to effective lawyering, and to how difficult it is to win convictions and prove things beyond a reasonable doubt, especially when you have a practiced show-trial lawyer on the other side.

        Is any reference to the OJ thing appropriate? Hell , I hated and still hate the whole OJ episode of our culture and history. Like it or not, it is seems a big part of what Simon wants to say about the media and society this season. Clay Davis did say people would be wiping their asses with Johnny Cochran’s card, then carrying the card of Billy Murphy. When the attorney Billy said “save that silver tongued bullshit for the jury”, we should have known Davis was home free. And that shit happens all the time. Great lawyers get people off, keep them out of jail…(checked the RNC legal tab since 2004?). Billy Murphy said “$200,000 when I get you out of this mess,” as if it was a foregone conclusion.

        Clay Davis describes Aeschylus writings as “slim pages”. Besides bringing in directly the “Greek Tragedy” idea, the ref to the length of the play might be pointing to a brief affair to follow in court. And since the play is a tragedy, perhaps we are getting the hint that Clay Davis will fall… just not in this particular courtroom on this day.

        The trial itself…

        A nuanced, but important first scene of the actual trial: Bond was questioning Lester on the stand, about the transactions in and out of Sen. Davis personal account. All the transactions with matching amounts! Damning evidence? Attorney Murphy has no questions… wow! The main cop’s testimony slides with no questions! (also points to a ‘short trial’).

        The next witness, the driver who drew 40K for operating a charity… Bond fucks up by trying to bring in the “kickbacks” the driver was getting elsewhere. The judge rules that as “irrelevant” because it doesn’t relate to the “operations of Clay Davis non-profit charities.” (limiiting the issues also points to a short trial).

        Murphy then does a classic, perfect impeachment of the witness in the next trial scene, pointing out his immunity and lack of credibility.

        The next trial scene is Murphy questioning Davis. Now, for dramatic purposes we see only Murphy question Davis. Bond has already been portrayed as weak. (“Obonda”! OMG!)… I guess we should just assume the State asked the same stuff of Senator Davis, it’s just that Billy put it to bed.

        The courtroom claps at the end of Clay Davis “monologue” about how he passes out money to all the poor people. Poor Senator Davis didn’t have the heart to ask the “arthur-itis” woman for a receipt! The jury has sympathy on their faces. Clearly, they don’t have the same view of Clay Davis as the State’s legal players. They have sympathy, oh yeah, and Mr. Davis knows how to play to it.

        The next scene is Clay Davis and Billy Murphy raising hands outside the courthouse, celebrating victory, and Rhonda says “whatever it is, they don’t teach it in law school.”

        The very next moment in the show is Gus at the paper saying “Forty inches of Clay Davis playing not just the race card but the whole deck.” The old guy says he “feels very white “after watching the verdict come in. I think that is the reference aimed at the ponderers like me, right there… as Gus tells him to start with some James Brown records, Gus is letting us know, of course there is a race card in play. So what if the black community felt like one of their own was being picked on for something that wasn’t that important in the big picture, and everybody probably does what he was doing anyway. Gonna have to do better than that! The whole scenario seems to leave power and corruption in the race neutral position it should be anyway.

        If Simon had wanted to be really provocative he might have made it seem like “jury nullification” was in play… a conscious effort by jury members to refuse to convict. Say a black mother was tired of seeing young men busted for whatever reason – she gets on the jury, and just never changes her not guilty vote. Nullification. Defendant goes free. While the race issue is implicated in the acquittal of Clay Davis, it is portrayed as mostly a part of the larger “big gun lawyer” tactics to do whatever possible to get a client off.

      9. The problem with the Davis trial scenes was the speechmaking. No court outside of TVland allows people to rap on extemporaneously at that sort of length. Obonda would have been objecting his ass off, and been sustained on every one. Ask a question, get an answer, ask another question. That’s how it works.

      10. Well, of course nobody gets to do a monologue in court, except attorney’s opening and closing statements perhaps. Courtroom scenes require dramatic license…if you want entertaining ones at least. I never did any real trial work so I still like giving in to the illusion.
        Even so, an attorney can ask the kind of questions that tell a story and let the witness show some personality. Open ended questions are allowed. Telling how you are going to do the Lord’s works buying Similac and paying BG&E bills until you are laid out in Marge’s Funeral Home, well, not so much.

        Now medical scenes, oh damn, don’t get me started on the realism thing! The next time I see an ER type scene where they slap a chest tube in and intubate in 15 seconds I am… going… to scream.

        And that leaves me stuck with another question, asking if journalism types are driven mad by overuse of the ellipsis by bloggers and other amateurs? I am hopelessly addicted…

      11. My guess is the answer to that last question is yes, especially if you incorrectly use that four-pointer!

        Some of us are bi-punctuationally licentious — some of us use em dashes AND ellipses. We are lost souls for whom there is no hope …

      12. I did actually have an ER experience that was quick like that. Heart Hospital in Austin. I drove myself in with chest pains and my ass didn’t even hit the seat in the waiting room. Within two minutes they had my chest shaved and the electrodes on.

        Needless to say, this was NOT New Orleans.

      13. Damn. You lucky, homes.

        I had a broken neck (C1), and I sat in the ER waiting room for 4 hours, holding my head up with my shoulder.

      14. Ray – the national standard now is for chest pain patients to get an EKG within 5 minutes of hitting the door.

        Ashley- nice shoulders. The national standard is…. don’t break your neck.

        VT – Punctuslut.

      15. Both times I got bitten by a cat, one would have thought I’d been snake bit, I got treated so fast.

        and RM: bǏte mê

      16. And my trailing thought to Ashley is they should have at least put you in one of those stiff C-Collars; a triage nurse should see about the backboard AND C-collar upon hearing about anything resembling C-spine trauma. Most often , intoxicated males will argue saying something about “there’s no need for all of that.”

        Yeah, flirt with paralysis….

      17. They thought I had a broken clavicle at worst. And I was 17, and not intoxicated. So they just let me sit there watching Tic Tac Dough.

      18. For those new to NuPac that are arriving in this thread via the Slate/Fray forum, welcome, and note that not ALL our threads dwindle down to random intertwined personal anecdotes, though often the BEST ones do…

        And thanks to Len for the props.

      19. […] now, Nagin is using the Clay Davis defense.  Brilliant, Clarence, just brilliant.  You don’t have receipts because you were handing […]


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