The final season of The Wire opens with a segment of pure comedy. Bunk and a few Homicide detectives are trying to get a confession out of a murder suspect. The man isn’t very bright. They hook him up to what they tell him is a lie detector to get the confession. The only thing is, the machine in question isn’t a lie detector. It’s a copy machine. And they just duck taped the guy to a surface.
And this method worked.
Past seasons of The Wire often look to expose the faults in the system. We’ve seen how police work doesn’t really impact the war on drugs, how the docks don’t provide good jobs for blue colors workers despite the best efforts of the unions, how the mayor’s office and the schools don’t work. What’s left? Well, this time around it’s the media, particularly The Baltimore Sun.
That makes a good deal of sense. Series creator David Simon started off as a reporter covering the crime beat for that very newspaper. And just as Simon stepped away from a few episodes in season four to allow a veteran of the school districts explain how messed up the schools were, he would be the guy to explain why the media isn’t helping here either. So far, we’ve just seen a bunch of writers and editors trying to put a paper together. They do get a big scoop about a drug dealer who got a ton of money from the city to move a strip club (Avon’s old place?), but we’ll have to see how things turn out.
As it is, the city is broke. Carcetti had to use the money he wanted to funnel to the police to patch up the schools’ budget, and that means there isn’t much left for, well, anything. So cops are pulling unpaid overtime and there’s no morale anywhere, as seen when newly promoted sergeant Carver tries to bring some order to the morning meeting. No money for cars, and despite the best efforts of Major Crimes to bring down Marlo, Carcetti has to pull the plug on that one too. The only relief he might get come from politically emasculating sources at the state and federal levels, so he won’t do that. Despite Daniels’ best efforts, Major Crimes is killed off. Lester and Synder will continue to work a corruption case on Clay Davis, but the 22 bodies from the row homes will have to wait. McNulty and Greggs go back to Homicide.
And, as predicted, McNulty has slid back into all his old, bad habits now that’s no longer a uniformed patrolman.
Bubbles, meanwhile, is going clean. It looks like he might be successful this time. He’s staying at his sister’s place and selling newspapers for the Sun. Well, he tries to stay at his sister’s. She kicks him out when she’s not home. He does look a lot cleaner, though.
As for Herc, he got fired, but he’s got a new job as a private investigator. His employer? Maurice Levy, the lawyer who defends most of the big drug dealers. Herc’s pulling evidence from his cop bodies for the guy.
And Michael and Dukie are still selling drugs. Michael’s moved up to enforcer. Dukie gets sent to watch Michael’s brother because he just isn’t as good as leading as Michael. Marlo, meanwhile, is looking into the case of the Russian guy that got sent away while the Greek was in town for some reason…
Baltimore may be the most broken it’s been since the series started. I know it probably won’t be getting any better, but there you have it.