Jim Carroll

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On The Record on The Wire is now in session

You asked for it. This is where you, fans and freaks of the finest TV show ever made, can talk turkey with fellow devotees. From here on in, there are certain assumptions. Anything which occured in seasons one through four …

Wed, Jul 30, 2008, 09:08

   

You asked for it. This is where you, fans and freaks of the finest TV show ever made, can talk turkey with fellow devotees.

From here on in, there are certain assumptions. Anything which occured in seasons one through four can be discussed. Questions relating to plot points or stuff which happened to specific characters or in scenes can be asked and discussed. Every Wednesday (well, most Wednesdays), we’ll also start rolling with a recap of the latest episode of season 5 as screened on TG4 the previous Monday. For those who missed episode one this week, the station are repeating the show on Saturdays at 11.25pm (we had better be getting some love from TG4 for this). Everyone ready?

(Please note that all random comments which have nothing to do with the show will be deleted. After all, the assumption is that only those who have watched the show or are watching it are going to click through.)

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I’ve written before about Homicide, the great book which David Simon penned based on a year spent shadowing detectives from Baltimore Police Department’s homicide unit. That scene above, the one which opens the first episode of the new series, comes from that book. While Homicide was made into a fine TV series, many of the scenes have also turned up in The Wire.

Some of the characters too have made the hop. Bunk Moreland made an appearance in Homicide in the shape of a wisecracking dude called Rick “The Bunk” Requer, complete with ever-present cigar in his paw. As The Wire has gone on, Bunk has become a cipher for how TV depicts “real police”, the cops who put up with all manner of bullshit from their superiors yet get the job done.

TV shows like their Bunks – Law & Order is full of them from Lenny Briscoe and John Munch to Elliott Stabler and Bobby Goren – and this Bunk plays a few different roles for Simon and his team of writers. He’s our way of tracking McNulty, for instance, the sinner who turned into something of a saint by season four (that, though, is changing by the looks of the latest episode). He also has that old-school police outlook, reacting initially with a dash of scepticism to how Lester Freamon and the major case unit are working, yet quick to realise that they can get results.

Because Simon’s characters are usually so well rounded and complex, it will be interesting to see what his Baltimore Sun turns out to be like. The first scenes from the newsroom were good – too many times, TV and film get this particular working environment horribly wrong – and anyone who has spent any time in a newsroom will recognise characters like news editor Gus Haynes or reporter Scott Templeton. However, Simon has form with the Sun and, given that season five is about the media, these issues will crop up again and again and again.

Other lines from episode one to follow in season five: the heat is on for Marlo and his crew, Bubs in the basement, Mayor Carcetti wriggling his way out of budgetary SNAFUs and Dukie, the most unlikely corner boy of all time.

Quote of the episode? I liked the one from the sub-editor to the journalist. “A building can be evacuated. To evacuate a person is to give that person an enema. The details, Ms. Gutierrez. At the Baltimore Sun, God still resides in the details.”