“The Wire,” Episode 9, “Late Edition”


WiregreggsmcnultytookI can’t recall hearing a single note of Neil Young in an episode of The Wire over the past five seasons, but after watching the penultimate installment of this epic urban drama, Young’s haunting ballad “Comes a Time” came to mind.

Time is a big theme of this episode, and time obviously is running out on everyone in “The Wire” diaspora. About a third of the way into “Late Editions” — penned by George Pelecanos and David Simon and helmed by Joe Chapelle —  New Centurians of the Baltimore’s corners are on their knees with cuffs on and cell phones surrendered, kingpin Marlo Stanfield included.

The cops and Mayor Carcetti are having a field day with the big bust that draws news coverage, but our anti-hero Jimmy McNulty isn’t partying — even after going so far out on a tightrope to bring about the Stanfield bust. He knows the hellfire is coming, it’s just a matter of time. Doesn’t help that his boss calls him a “genital wart” for his lack of progress on the homeless serial killer case.

McNulty’s main partner in crime, Lester Freamon, is too high on the rush of victory to let reality sink in just yet. He’s bagged his prey, and now they’re gonna pay. The wordless exchange of hard (granite-hard) looks between Freamon and Stanfield at the arrest site throws off enough sparks to start a brushfire, a credit to the acting skills of Clarke Peters (Freamon) and Jamie Hector (Stanfield).

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  1. ogawak says:

    The Wire, a series for the ages.
    Triumphant moments:
    Watching Bubbles change his life after five years in the most degrading places on the streets. Bunny helping Namond completely turn around his life. Lester getting Marlo and his gang after years of fighting Baltimore’s beaurocracy, though it may be a short-lived a victory.
    Omar’s death at the hands of Kenard. Randy going from happy-go-lucky to hardened and cynical. Dukie going back to the streets (I somehow think he will survive)
    McNulty’s manipulations leading to Marlo’s arrest but realizing all the sh_t about to go down. Michael surviving Marlo’s hitmen, but where does he go from here?
    The heads of the Baltimore Sun, Mayor Carcetti and City Council.
    How will the fates of McNulty and Templeton go down next week? Will they be dishonored, publicly disgraced? Will their respective powers that be step in, or step aside? Will Lester be able to uncover even greater corruption? Will Daniels remain as Chief? Can’t wait, yet cannot help but feel sad that this is the end of one of the greatest series ever.

  2. driches says:

    “Other thoughts while wondering how the computer Lester uses for his wiretap knows if a call is “pertinent” or “nonpertinent”
    The computer does not know or decide this; Lester listens to the first seconds of the call and then, himself, marks “pertinent” or “nonpertinent.”

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