November 29, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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The Wire “Collateral Damage”

Season Two, Episode Two.

A new detail has formed, this one to look into the union head Frank Sobotka.  There’s reason to be suspicious, but considering this is all over a dispute for a stained glass window in a  church, this is some really petty stuff.

That’s actually not that new for The Wire.

Where can we start here?  McNulty is looking to cause trouble for Rawls.  The 13 dead bodies from the cargo crate were all young women who suffocated due to what looked like an air hole being crushed.  Tragic, but an accident.  And Rawls got the case kicked back to the Port Authority police, who can’t really do anything with it anyway.  Rawls needs to keep his clearance rates high, and having 13 or 14 unsolvable murders doesn’t do that.

Enter McNulty, who knows how to conduct a homicide even if Port Authority cops like Beadie Russell do not.  First, he easily finds evidence of foul play.  Then he finds even more evidence to show that, despite Rawls’ best efforts, the foul play and the deaths occurred within the city’s limits.  Rawls has to take the case.

The retaliation, if there is some, means Bunk and Lester get assigned the case themselves.  They may be the best homicide detectives Rawls has, but even they probably couldn’t solve the case.  Still, they do make a trip to Philadelphia to where the ship is currently docked.  Of course, the Greek’s people already got the guy mostly responsible, and for a show that doesn’t often go for tropes of the cop show, they really went for the trope for the crime show in how the Greek (revealed to be an older man who sits quietly while his underlings do business in the diner he meets Frank Sobotka in) gets the guy to confess and then kills him.

As for Frank Sobotka, Major Valchek goes to see him and does the opposite of asking nicely if Sobotka can remove the stained glass window from the spot Valchek wanted.  See, Valchek apparently has been an asshole his whole life, and being a high ranking member of the police force hasn’t changed that one bit.  If anything, it made him worse.  Valchek can use his guys to ticket the longshoremen and give them early morning breathalyzers since they seem to have beer with raw eggs for breakfast.  Hey, it’s Carver!  He’s not any happier about this than anyone else.  Sobotka can retaliate by stealing and hiding a police surveillance van.

Valchek does get his detail, led by his son-in-law Prez.  The only other recognizable guy in the group was one of useless fat drunks from the original detail.  So, yeah, I’m not holding my breath that those guys can find much of anything.

Other Sobotkas have their own problems.  Nick seems to be smart and level-headed, but his cousin Ziggy (Frank’s son) isn’t.  Ziggy apparently can’t get anything right, and his attempts to sell drugs show he sucks at that too.

People who are generally good at selling drugs are another story.  Avon is apparently getting all kinds of perks in prison, but some guard keeps hassling Wee-Bey, and D’Angelo’s girlfriend won’t bring D’s son to see him.  D seems to be snorting stuff, too.  He needs help.

So, if the first episode was a basic set-up of the crime, here we are meeting the players and the conflicts involved.  Valchek may be right about the union, but he sure is the sort of fellow who seems more inclined to cause misery than anything else.  Somehow, I doubt he’ll get his comeuppance, but if there’s any justice, he won’t get what he wants either.

Of course, The Wire isn’t about people getting justice.