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Meta/Review - The Wire S3- legalization of drugs and other things (episodes 6-10)

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Bunny Culver explains to Rawls and Burrell why the Western District had a 14% decrease in homicides.

Deputy who doesn't get and whose name escapes me: So, how exactly do you get a drop in crime when
you don't have anyone manning the corners...

Rawls: Don't you realize what he's done, you nit, he's fucking legalized drugs!

Bunny: No, not legalize, uh, ignore.

Rawls: You've lost your fucking mind. He's lost his fucking mind? He's legalized drugs!

Burrell: You. In. My. Office. NOW!

Later:

 

Rawls: Gotta hand it to you, what you've done is brilliant. It may be stone cold illegal and fucking insane. But it's brilliant. With me pushing everyone to lower their numbers. You've managed to do the biggest decrease - 14%, that we've ever had in any district. Granted it will cost us all our careers, but still...

Personally, I think they should legalize drugs. [This was in 2011 - before they started doing it, well sort of. And prior to the ophoid ] Would solve a lot of problems. Sure people would die, but that happens now. Felt the same way about abortion - the number of abortions went down along with the number of deaths after it was legalized (that's not the only reason I think abortion should be legal - just so I don't get a lot of debate on the topic...preaching to the choir here). Some things are counter-productive to make illegal or cause more harm than good. The Wire demonstrates this beautifully with Colvin. But it also shows the problems. The ministers and deacons tell Colvin that while his idea is working in part, there's problems. He needs to make sure these people are using condoms, that the needles are clean and disposed of cleanly, that no one dies in that hood, that he doesn't just up and leave them. Because if he does - he turns Hamsterdam into hell.

Bunny also has talks to Carver and tells him that he's acting more like a solider and not police. A policeman polices his neighborhood. Gets to know the people. Makes friends. Has informants. Example is McNulty and Greggs who have befriended Bubbles and are using him as their CI, or McNulty's odd relationship with Omar. He tells Carver - he needs to meet the people, get to know them.

The Wire isn't all hopeless. You follow different threads. There's Stringer and Avon who use violence and drugs to get ahead, pull strings, and are impatient. They want to run before they can crawl - they want the power now. While in direct contrast you have Cutter (Denis now) who is doing the hard work, he's trying to make a gym work. Bring in kids, show them another way. It's ironic in a way, because it's how he and Avon began - as boxers - before they went to the streets and fell into the pit. It's about being patient.

In the previous episode Slapstick - Lester lectures McNulty (and to an extent Prez) stating - "you need to have a life outside of work, life is the shit that happens while you are waiting for things to happen." The case will never be enough. You will never get that completion. You need something else. This is just work. McNulty appears to hear him - because Lester's statement is reinforced by the beat cop who says...he's happier now, less heartburn than he had in Homicide, best thing Rawls did for him was reassign him, give him this peaceful non-stressful job. He's making a difference, but a small one and he can have a life outside of work. McNulty's beginning to realize work...isn't where it's at. Then Prez, in a heartbreaking scene, ends up shooting cop. We don't see him do it. We see it from McNulty's point of view more or less. McNulty hears the shots, and then we see Prez standing over him - we know as much as McNulty does. And Prez is done. His career is through. Daniels asks Rawls to send someone home with him on suicide watch. And they question if it was racially motivated. Derek Waggoner - the one he killed, was a decorated officer, Prez a screw-up - but good at his job on the unit. It's a painful to watch.

So McNulty decides to pursue D'Agostino, only to realize that she looks right through him, that he's dumb, a doormat to her - not smart. In one of the most awkward dinner dates ever (I cringed during it - but because it was so frigging realistic...I mean who hasn't suffered through a dinner date like that? I have. I hate it when I can hear crickets.), McNulty tries to talk about himself - he's all street smarts. Not college educated. One year at Loyola, before his girlfriend (Elena) got pregnant and he had to drop out and support her - and he became a cop. A good cop. His tolerance for the politicans and leaders of the city isn't high - he's on the streets, he's tending the day to day crap, doing the wiretaps, he see's the trees, while all they see is the forest.
While Tommy Carcietti decides to pursue getting money to protect witnesses to crimes...(a problem in the first two seasons), McNulty is trying to get money to set up wire-taps, to catch the guys who killed the witnesses. Carcietti is book smart, McNulty is the streets.

The Wire pokes at the education system subtly. In S1 - Wallace had dropped out and D discusses how he liked school and wanted to do more with it - but couldn't, no money, no time. In S2 - we have Nick and Ziggy say more or less the same things. And now in S3 - we get it from three angles. Tommy's friend on the Council wants to run for mayor on "education" and Tommy says what can you hope to do with that. And of course the brilliant scene between McNulty and D'Agostino, where McNulty feels like an ignornant SOB. Later he confides in Greggs - about it. She asks him how things are going with his new ho. And he tells her they ain't. It's Dead. It died on him. And he's clearly depressed about it. She turned him on, he thought he had a chance with her - but she's out of his league. And he's annoyed, because he knows he's a bright cop, a good cop, smart in his field, but in her's he doesn't matter and doesn't register. It's not something McNulty is used to. The Wire does a good job of not playing into stereotypes. McNulty isn't the traditional macho cop - that you'd think - and in his relationships with women, he often is submissive, he takes the female role at times. He tells D'Agostino that they need to talk first before sex...maybe dinner and a movie. That he's that type of girl. I can see why women like him, yes, he can be a bit of an asshole, but he cares about people and women. A flawed character...but an oddly likable one.

Brother Mouzone reappears gunning for Omar (actually I don't think he's after Omar, so much as after information on who sent Omar after him - I thought he already knew that.) Sends his boy Lamar, who is a homophobe into gay bars to find Omar or someone who knows Omar. One of the bars, he goes into...reveals..."wait, Rawls is gay???" That blew my mind. But it is in keeping with The Wire, which underplays it. In the Wire, racism, sexism, and homophobia run second fiddle to the real problem in our society - Class. It's what Bunny and Denis both bring up. And we see with McNulty and D'Agostino. It's what Omar brings up - that the people on the streets are just another body, another death.

Starting to worry a bit about Omar. I know Stringer is going to buy it at some point - I was spoiled on that. (Damn HBO website). But I don't know about Omar. Don't care what happens to Stringer, the actor may be hot, but the character is despicable. Avon is right - Stringer bleeds green. Although Avon ain't much better.

Another hilarious scene was McNulty, Herc, Greggs and the gang finding out Avon got out in under two years, when they put him away for 6 or 7. Shows how pointless their work can feel at times. While the scene between McNulty and Brianna was amazing - Brianna shined in that scene. It was heartbreaking.

Then Avon confronts Stringer, and Stringer surprises me by admitting to it. Yes, I did it. Sorry. But it had to be done. Avon wants to strangle him. And when Brianna confronts them, Avon is broken up and says he didn't know and had nothing to do with it. Stringer says it had to be done - making it clear, I think, to Brianna, that Stringer did it.

Meanwhile...Stringer okays a hit on Omar at church. Omar's leaving with his Grandmother - and the two thugs rain bullets on them, destroying the grandmother's hat. Omar is livid. And says, that's it - he's going after Avon and Stringer - they both must die! They broke the Sunday rule! And they went after him when he took is Grandmother to church! (He's right to be upset - it's horrible). But the scene where Avon's guy yells at the two thugs who did it - is hilarious. "And the only thing you actually hit was an old lady's hat! You don't do this. Not on a Sunday. Don't you have any shame!" Stringer asks Avon how he plans on punishing them. Avon - I'll make them buy the old lady a new hat.

Lots of good bits here and there. What strikes me about the series though - is how they show the consequences of people's actions, that they don't see. For example - McNulty and Greggs dogged determination to go after Stringer, blinds them to all the hard work their colleagues were doing trying to get Kittle - and the sudden change in cases throws that work out the window. Bernard who had been sitting on roof-tops day after day, 90 degree day after day, and finally got the phone numbers for a wire tap, only to be kicked off the case. Daniels asks McNulty why he did it - was it personal- going behind his back to Colvin. No, McNulty states, it's the right thing to do. When McNulty ranks on the judge who double dealed him in Season 1, Daniels tells McNulty - you go after or hate anyone who gets in your way. McNulty, sheepish, point taken.

I think in order to love the Wire, you have to love Detective McNulty a little bit...because he is the focus of the story, we see much of it through him.

New favorite character is Cutty aka Dennis. Rather adore him. He's gone from being Avon's gunman where he killed kids - to trying to get them off the streets and saving them, and possibly himself in the process.