As if to hammer home the truth that nobody gets what they deserve or deserves what they get in Baltimore, season five of The Wire finds Herc in a cushy number working for the city’s brave band of solicitors. It’s not really clear what he’s doing – bodyguard work perhaps? Whatever it is it’s too good for the clueless lunk whose negligence got Bubbs beaten up and Randy‘s house firebombed last season and whose stupidity is responsible for more cons walking free from prison than Michael Scofield. Herc’s not the only one whose career is thriving. Young Michael is now supervising several corners for Marlo Stanfield, one of which has Dukie slanging ‘caine. Damn. The more things change the more they stay the same.
“Whatever it is it’s too good for the clueless lunk whose negligence got Bubbs beaten up and Randy’s house firebombed last season and whose stupidity is responsible for more cons walking free from prison than Michael Scofield.”
In the precincts, po-po is mad vexed that Mayor Tommy Carcetti has yet to fulfill his promises on pay hikes. Worse than that, overtime is not being paid and they’re clocking up plenty of hours tracking Marlo Stanfield, hoping that the 22 bodies he dropped then dumped in the row houses last season will come back to haunt him. But Marlo is smart is a whip with his precautions and is beginning to look untouchable. As the episode unfolds and with the city’s budget stretched to breaking point it becomes clear that the inevitable must happen – the Major Case Unit is disbanded. Kima is shoved back to homicide where she is joined by McNulty. Jimmy has returned to his boozing womanising ways which is a relief for those of us who couldn’t quite wrap our heads around McNulty drinking club soda and not hitting on dames in bars.
“Jimmy’s return to his boozing ways is a relief for those of us who couldn’t wrap our heads around McNulty drinking club soda.”
Cutbacks are also the order of the day at the Baltimore Sun. The press and how they report on crime is going to be the main theme of the final season of The Wire. It’s obviously a personal issue for the show’s creator David Simon, who worked for the paper for 12 years. He’s not an optimist about the power of the press. “I’ve become increasingly cynical about the ability of daily journalism to effect any kind of meaningful change. I was pretty dubious about it when I was a journalist, but now I think it’s remarkably ineffectual.” Disappointment, compromise and failure look racing certainties in the coming months.
“We know we’re not going to get easy answers, we know that anything good that happens will take time and come at a significant cost and we know that someone’s shit is going to get fucked up.”
What can I tell you? The Wire is very dope and this was an unusually active season opener. We know we’re not going to get easy answers, we know that anything good that happens will take time and come at a significant cost and we know that someone’s shit is going to get fucked up. We hope it’s not Omar. Dare we believe that it’s Marlo or Herc? Fuck it – in the final season, anything can happen.
The best thing about it: The reunion of pissed McNulty and Bunk
The worst thing about it: The success of stupid fat idiot Herc
The verdict on The Wire, Season 5 Premiere: Welcome return for modern masterpiece.
Marks out of 10: 8
Imagined: 9th January 2008