Deserving ain't got nothing to do with it. - Felicia "Snoop" Pearson.
Did Kima do the right thing turning in McNulty and Lester to Daniels and Pearlmen? Also, can Daniels truly throw stones considering what he's done in his past on The Eastern? It's not a clear-cut issue. It makes sense Kima did it. Totally in character. And if Carver knew, he'd have done it too. Lester was right about not letting Kima know. But...here's the thing, does it make it worse? Lester stated if you ignore it - it will eventually disappear, be another unsolved case. But McNulty feels stuck, and drowning fast. In a way - Kima telling Daniels about it - saved McNulty. Like ripping off the band-aid, although definitely more than that.
It could however kill their case against Marlo. Because they did an illegal Wire Tap on Marlo's phone. (And no, we don't want people to be able to do that - hello, the Rupert Murdoch case ring any bells? That's what Scotland Yard and Murdoch were doing in England - illegal wire taps or hacks into cell-phones and voice mails. It's the old slippery slope...before long, it's your phone they are tapping into.)
Herc - damn his eyes - may be on to them. He tells Levy that they had a wire-tap on the serial killer case, but the only way Lester gets info on drug dealers is through a wire tap - which means that must have been their source.
Other repercussions from their illegal Wire tap - include: Duquane (Dukie) being put out on the streets (another Sherrod or Bubbles?), Michael on the run because everyone thinks he is the snitch (he's not, but Marlo has killed people on less evidence), Snoop dead (shot by Michael surprisingly enough. Snoop is actually impressed by him. I can't say I was all that sorry when he shot her - good riddance. But she was a marvelous character, one of the best female villains I've seen. Perfectly played and all the more scary and heartbreaking, because the actress basically played herself.) And Bug with his Aunt (which may well be the best outcome actually).
While their manipulation of the press, the Mayor, and everyone else with the fake serial killer case resulted in the shakedown on Marlo Stanfield - will it stick? Will it blow up in their faces much the same way Bunny Colvin's legalization of drugs did?
I don't know.
Have a short story to tell - which is true and took place about 20 some years ago in Ohio. It was 1991 or thereabouts. A bunch of grad students did a conceptual art piece which basically amounted to a complex and rather effective hoax on the Columbus, Ohio Media. What did they do? They told an elaborate lie. They pretended to be an organization that provided "arms for the homeless". It was Xmas. One of the grad students dressed up as Santa, complete with sign, and requested people to provide arms for the homeless - so that the homeless could defend themselves. They sent press releases to papers and media outlets, and showed up chanting their cause. Lasted about four weeks, they get a huge amount of media coverage. Then voila, they came clean and let everyone know it was an elaborate hoax - to depict how easy it was to manipulate the press, how the media manipulated information and used it to manipulate emotional response and how people foolishly believe whatever is printed or shown to them by the media. I was in law school at the time and asked my constitutional law prof how to help one of the grad students. He advised that the grad students should get an attorney (which they did) and that they shouldn't be penalized too heavily - because it did fall under First Amendment - Free Speech. The backlash was a bit on the scary side though. People, let's just say, over-reacted. But the hoax had legs...it's since been done in three different states, by unassociated people and for the same reasons - a commentary on violence in our society, the power we freely hand over to both the media and marketing establishment, and the insanity of the pro-gun lobby.
Don't believe me? Go here to read all about It .
Anyhow, while McNulty and Lester's hoax is a whole lot different and a whole lot worse (they faked a serial killer and misappropriated state funds - granted neither took any money themselves...but still), it would not have had any legs if it weren't for the media. Which is why David Simon came up with it - demonstrating through it - how easy it is for the media to get it wrong. To get lazy. Make up quotes, make up stories, embellish, and not fact check.
Through-out, we see little signs of it. With Nerese Campbell being misquoted regarding Daniels. Or the vet being misquoted. Not a problem. But with the serial killer case - it becomes a clusterfuck of epic proportions.
McNulty is so deep in the shit, so to speak, he can barely breath and when Lester finally brings in Marlo because of McNulty's shenagians, McNulty can't bring himself to celebrate with him or drink. He knows it's wrong at this point, he sees it. He sees the cost to himself and everyone around him. And you know he's got to be thinking - "what the fuck did I do?"
Meanwhile the Mayor, Carcietti, is showing his real colors. It's no longer - what I can do for the city when I'm Mayor, it's what I can do when I'm Governor. He's so busy running for Governor, he barely sees Baltimore any longer. And it's back to "stats" and "numbers" and loving his own words. A true narcissist - which was foreshadowed in the sex scene in S3, where Carciette watches his face in the mirror while he fucks a woman he picked up at a bar.
Bunny Colvin sees Carcietti for what he is - and refuses to shake his hand. He barely speaks to him. Shakes him off. While his adopted son - Namon - exclaims - "You Know the Mayor, too, Mr. C? Damn."
We know a lot of time has passed - by Bunny's gray beard, and Namon being on debate team. It's not just a summer or a year, but likely two or three. Which explains why both McNulty and Lester are so desperate that they go to extreems - they fake a serial murder case in order to get a wire on Marlo, figuring they'll manipulate the system to their own ends, make it work for a change - since the brass and higher ups can't - too busy politicking to care.
Lester has a great speech which he relays to McNulty - in which he states that he refused to get up there with the brass and take credit. They won't help us. But when we deliver a case, provide them with the dope, they take off their golden cuffs and are the first to take the credit for it. Glad-handing up a storm. (Which we've seen from the beginning. Every time a case comes in - it's not the guys who worked it, McNulty, Lester, Greggs, Sydnor...who get the credit, but people like Daniels and Rawls and Burrell...the higher ups, who often aren't even aware of what is happening.)
The cops are compared in a way to the drug cartel. Marlo gets the money, the prestige, while Chris, Snoop, Michael, Albert, and corner boys take the heat. Same with Avon Barksdale and Prop Joe. The King, as D'Angelo so aptly states, stays the King - removed from it all, the best a poor slob like Michael, Bodie or Poot can hope for is Queen, and even that is a long shot, since they are mainly paws. Bodie dies. Michael...I don't know yet (don't spoil me!) and Poot - Poot gets out, he tells Dukie that he got tired of the corners, and found a job at a shoe store outlet. Poot, Namon, and Bug get out. But Bug's counter-part, Albert who is beaten up by Michael in S4, and used by Namon as a runner and drug hider, is the one who ends up finally killing Omar.
Bubbles aka Reginald - has a better outcome. He's clean finally. He's turned a corner. Talking to a real journalist. One who had been asked to interview homeless men, ends up interviewing Bubbles instead. Bubbles finally lets go of Sherrod, realizing that it was the addiction that killed him, not Bubbles.