Watching the Wire: Episode Eleven: The Hunt

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“Dope on the damn table.” -- Daniels

Teleplay by Joy Lusco
Story by David Simon & Ed Burns
Directed by Steve Shill


Wendell Pierce (Det. William "Bunk" Moreland), Deirdre Lovejoy (Asst. States Attorney Rhonda Pearlman), Wood Harris (Avon Barksdale), John Doman (Maj. William A. Rawls), Lance Reddick (Lt. Cedric Daniels), Andre Royo (Bubbles), Idris Elba (Russell "Stringer" Bell), Frankie Faison (Deputy Comm. Ervin H. Burrell), Larry Gilliard Jr. (D'Angelo Barksdale), Dominic West (Det. James "Jimmy" McNulty) and Sonja Sohn (Det. Shakima "Kima" Greggs)

Clayton LeBouef (Wendell "Orlando" Blocker), Peter Gerety (Judge Daniel Phelan), Seth Gilliam (Det. Ellis Carver), Domenick Lombardozzi (Off. Thomas R. "Herc" Hauk), Clarke Peters (Det. Lester Freamon), Brian Anthony Wilson (Det. Vernon Holley), Edward T. Norris (Det. Ed Norris), Robert F. Colesberry (Det. Ray Cole), Tray Chaney (Malik "Poot" Carr), Richard DeAngelis (Maj. Ray Foerster), Michael Kostroff (Maurice "Maury" Levy), Tony D. Head (Maj. Bobby Reed), Jim True-Frost (Off. Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski), Hassan Johnson (Roland "Wee-Bey" Brice), Corey Parker Robinson (Det. Leander Sydnor), Michael Salconi (Det. Michael Santangelo), Melanie Nicholls-King (Cheryl), Delaney Williams (Sgt. Jay Landsman), Michael B. Jordan (Wallace), Julian Salazar (Antonio), Micaiah Jones (Wintell "Little Man" Royce), Dick Stilwell (Poilce Comm. Warren Frazier), Katana Lazet Hall (Savino's Mother), Christopher Glenn Wilson (DEA Agent), Susan Rome (Asst. State's Attorney Ilene Nathan), James E. Ash (Uniform Officer), Christopher J. Clanton (Savino) and Curtis Montez (Sterling)

The Summary:

While Greggs’ life hangs in a delicate balance, the officers deal with the shock in different ways. Herc, Carver and Sydnor get back on the case after Freamon puts the incident into perspective. After seeing McNulty close to the breaking point, Rawls instructs McNulty not to have any guilt over Greggs’ shooting because he’s not ultimately responsible. Daniels is ordered by the Deputy Commissioner to raid all the locations to appease the Commissioner’s desire for “dope on the table.”

Read about publicity spins, signposts and feeding the fishes beyond the link…

The Recap:

So, the previous episode in the series ended on possibly the biggest moment we’ve seen so far, even bigger than Omar's attempt on Avon. This is as close to a traditional style cop show The Wire has been in the season, plenty of cars racing about, a helicopter being called in and an undercover cop being shot. But it’s all be dealt with in a really low key manner, the scene was kept confusing and fast so at the time it was hard to process the impact until that final aerial shot from the helicopter. Really I think that this episode is best watched either immediately after ‘The Cost’ or in a block with the final two episodes following straight one after another.

On with the show!

We return to the scene of Kima’s shooting at the start of this episode, the place is a hive of activity and confusion. Landsman is approached by Rawls who wants to know the primaries for this shooting. It’s Cole and Norris, Rawls asks Landsman what he needs and Landsman admits he needs less people around. The place is becoming a complete mess, caused by too many people trying to help in an undirected manner. There’s a good chance evidence could be damaged or lost in this melee. Rawls takes command of the situation, making it clear that anyone without an allotted task is to leave and then gets Landsman to slow everything down to a crawl. Being careful and methodical with a scene like this is the safest way to ensure a proper investigation.

They walk over to the car and look inside, Bunk is retrieving Kima’s gun from its taped position under the seat. It had been wedged at the back of the seat, while it was taped to the front the poor seating resulted in a loss of contact for the tape and the gun ended up sliding out of reach. Landsman brings Rawls up to speed on her support, revealing that everyone lost her and it was the helicopter which finally located her.

Herc arrives at the scene, having been out of action for the sting while Rawls inspects the street signs and notices that they were turned about (as Kima suspected last week). He turns the sign back to the proper direction, roll credits.

In the hospital Daniels is talking to an investigator about the circumstances surrounding the shooting when Burrell walks up behind him and inquires about Kima’s situation. His arm placed on Daniels’s shoulder is simultaneously comforting, controlling and angry. After being told about the seriousness of her condition he pats Daniels on the back and walks away. They return to talking about the particulars when the Commissioner himself arrives, shaking the hand of the investigator and mistakenly assuming that he is Daniels. It’s a clear indicator of the racial state in the department that the Commissioner still automatically assumes a lieutenant would be the white man. The Commissioner recovers from his mistake momentarily before excusing himself.

Landsman and Bunk have found footprints which will need casts made of them while Rawls is talking with a member of the DEA over the money. Rawls tells them where to go as he notices McNulty sat still in contemplation. McNulty is covered in Kima’s blood and in a state of some shock. Rawls shows another side to himself here, willing to comfort a man who he really cannot stand. McNulty blames himself for what has happened, which is consistent with his egotism.

Freamon arrives at the scene and gets told that Kima’s down in shock trama, he heads over towards Herc, Sydnor and Carver and tells them it’s time to get to work. They’re unwilling, feeling that pushing after the case is not a priority now Kima’s been hurt. Freamon reminds them what they have here; they’ve got a wiretap up on the people who shot Kima, if they’re going to find anything out. That’s the best way it can happen. He puts them in perspective and they move out to their spotting stations. He asks them if anyone has told Kima’s girlfriend Cheryl about the shooting. Carver tells the others that he’ll go do it.

Bunk and Mike are checking down by the railway tracks when Landsman calls them over while Wee-Bey and Little Man make the call “It’s done” before musing about who the girl was. They’ll find out soon enough. Meanwhile Landsman has followed the tracks and found some discarded hoodies plus more footprints which head onto the road and then disappear. Bunk calls up KGA and requests a jackhammer; it’s time to keep a bit of road.

In the hospital Rawls and McNulty have arrived. Daniels lets them both know that Kima is still alive and being operated on right now. Foerester has a machine brought over to play the recording Rawls has brought and they listen to the events leading up to Kima’s shooting. It’s difficult for them all to listen too, but McNulty has the most physical reaction, throwing up into a bin before Rawls takes him aside and sets him straight. Rawls sets McNulty clear on the entire thing, he spells out just how much he dislikes the man before letting him know that Kima’s shooting is not his fault at all. He outlines just how strongly he means this by letting McNulty know that if it was his fault Rawls would nail him for it.

The police toss the city upside down looking for Savino and this activity gets the wire buzzing while Freamon and Prez listen. People are talking about the shooting but this isn’t a clear indication of guilt. The pair look at the pager calls made to Stringer and note one of them happened after the shooting. They look into it.

Wee-Bey arrives at the copy shop and starts talking, Stringer shushes him and starts up the copier to provide some background noise before motioning him to continue. Wee-Bey lays out how it happened, noting that the girl wasn’t an intentional shoot. Stringer lets Wee-Bey know that the girl was a cop; Wee-Bey just doesn’t believe it at first. Which isn’t surprising because shooting a police officer is stepping into a whole new spotlight, the police won’t rest until they have their man. Stringer is also concerned about Little Man, he’s unsure that he’ll handle this right and tells Wee-Bey that Little Man is done and Wee-Bey might have to flee.

Carver arrives outside Kima’s apartment and turns to leave, but the door opens and Cheryl walks out. Carver hesitantly tells her without actually speaking the words, she realises what’s happened quickly.

Freamon is up with a uniform checking out the payphone used to page Stringer, he also notices a can (dropped by Little Man) and has that dusted as well.

In the hospital Carver has arrived and asks Daniels if someone would talk to ‘Kima’s Girl’ Burrell is confused at this and mistakenly assumes that Kima has a daughter. Daniels describes her as ‘a roommate’ and Burrell turns around to talk to the Commissioner who seems reluctant to talk, so Burrell does it himself. Carver comments on this in a derogatory manner.

In the basement McNulty arrives and is greeted with the sight of Kima’s hat, he heads over to clean himself in the washroom and changes clothes before heading over to stare at the Barksdale notice board. Prez watches him and the two exchange glances.

In homicide Landsman, Cole, Norris and Bunk still have no idea where Savino is. While they have some trace evidence that will help tie the suspects to the case they don’t have a clue exactly who performed the shooting. They’ve confirmed that there were two shooters and that’s as far as they’ve got. But then Freamon rolls into the room with a confirmed print hit on Little Man from the soda can. The phone had no useable prints but at least they have one shooter bang to rights when this information is used in combination with the wiretap pager call.

In the Pit Dee, Poot and Bodie are all talking about the shooting. They echo Wee-Bey and Stringer’s conversation here, confirming that contrary to what Hollywood and wannabes would think you don’t go shooting at the police. There’s no profit in it, and all it’s going to do is cause problems for business. They’re interrupted from their orange couch conversation by the arrival of a phone call for Poot, its Wallace who apparently phones Poot twice a day to talk.

Kima’s clothes are being bagged as evidence when her pager goes off. Its Bubs, and moments after he made the call several black and whites arrive. He’s grabbed and hauled off downtown literally moments after paging. This is a prime example of how effective the police force can be if properly funded and motivated. Sadly it’s taken an officer being shot to cause this to happen. You can’t help but wonder what Baltimore would be like if it had a police force that was this effective all the time.

Poot picks up the phone and talks to Wallace, the lad is seriously homesick – he’s just not cut out for the country life. He runs out of money and the conversation is cut off.

Bubbles is still oblivious to his situation while he sits in an interview room. He protests that he isn’t being treated right and is warned by Holley that he has three seconds to explain himself. Tempers are understandably worn and thin on this subject and his confusion isn’t doing himself any favours. He’s still unaware of what’s happened to Kima at this point and that’s why he’s digging himself into a hole.

Bunk is outside talking about what’s happened on the phone when he’s disturbed by the sound of Holley beginning to apply a beating to Bubbs. Landsman and Bunk burst in and Bubbs demands to speak with Kima and when he’s told that he can’t he instead asks for McNulty.

Santangelo and Herc are up on the roof and they spot Bodie use the payphone. Freamon and Prez listen out for the call, but Bodie doesn’t dial out. A window is opened further up the building and a bag is dropped out for Bodie. Santangelo is bemused as to what it could be; Herc (for once) is in the know and explains, they’re up on the tower stash.

McNulty is drinking in the basement office, Daniels tells him to stop drinking and McNulty asks him how much of the case he’d give up to get the case back. Daniels tells him all of it, but that’s not the point. Kima is in a bad way and McNulty feels it wasn’t worth it. Prez comes in and tells them there’s a call from homicide for McNulty, Daniels tells him “Do your job.”

Bunk is on the other end of the line and brings McNulty up to speed on what’s happened in the interview room, McNulty confirms that it’s Bubbs and Bunk asks him to come up and quash the situation.

In Orlando’s Avon and Stringer are both rather… non-plussed about the situation. Avon is unhappy about how it went down, Orlando was not supposed to be shot if there was a witness about, they didn’t want any innocents in the line of fire and they certainly didn’t want a police officer being shot. Stringer confirms that Little Man is looking a little loose and ragged about this, but Wee-Bey has been sent to clean that mess up. Savino on the other hand is going to eat the charge in full and keep his story straight. Avon then goes on to note that the presence of the cash should have been enough to set alarm bells ringing, if he’d been in on this it’s quite possible that the whole deal would have been called off and Orlando would have been left to rot without any bargaining chips. Stringer admits that he’s made a mistake here. They head out and burn the trash, Wee-Bey is to deal with Little Man before he flees.

McNulty has arrived in homicide and Holley tells him what’s happened. He heads in to tell Bubbs what happened and the man is understandably upset. While Bunk watches through the interview window Landsmen tells him that there were no good latent fingerprints on the passenger side door. McNulty talks to Bubbs about his situation, but he misreads the situation and hands him some money instead of talking to him. If McNulty was a little more aware of how things had been going with Bubbs (like Kima was) and a little less self centred then he might have realised just how destructive he’s been here. He thinks he’s helping Bubbs but really he isn’t. This is another catalyst moment for McNulty, so many things cascade away from both large and even seemingly small actions on his part. McNulty heads out of the interview room and talks with Bunk before leaving to go direct to the source.

The source in this case is Maurice Levy, McNulty has arrived with Ronnie and the two of them manoeuvre in order to get Savino to hand himself in. While Ronnie wishes to be delicate about this McNulty is in no mood to mess around, he lays out in full just how much disdain he has for laywers in general and Levy in specific before making it clear that he’ll take it personal if Savino does not come in. Levy doesn’t once skip a beat, turning to Ronnie and asking her if the State Attorney’s office will back McNulty’s threats. She says that they will.

Outside Ronnie is less than impressed with McNulty’s handling method back in the office, Levy is important to Ronnie’s career, she can’t go pissing him off as he could potentially sink it before it has a chance. McNulty lets rip into Ronnie as well at this point, expressing his contempt for people who care more about their careers than justice. This is a fundamental concept for McNulty, he might be a gigantic arsehole squatting over anyone who gets in his way, but he does all of this for justice, because he still believes in the law. To the point that he doesn’t even care about his career, he would sacrifice it all to get the criminal behind bars and he has no time or respect for people who make concessions to further their own career. This belief of his is so strong he doesn’t even make a concession where the women he’s sleeping with is concerned and he isn’t afraid to tell her as much. It’s a strong set of morals, but an unwise head. Ronnie just retorts that he’ll use anyone to get what he wants.

In the basement, Prez has just made a discovery about the 07 code that appears on the pagers occasionally. Dee uses it, Stringer uses it occasionally, but there’s nothing else really to place it. Except Prez has managed to link it a use of it to the day that Stinkum was killed and Wee-Bey shot, which means that the 07 pager code is Wee-Bey. This means that they have the outlines of a conspiracy to commit murder which links all three.

Daniels is talking with Burell, Foerster and Rawls about the shooting, he passes on that the Commissioner wants everything related to the case busted and raided. It’s time, as he says, to get some dope on the table. In part this is a move to make the Barksdales hurt for what they’ve done, to cost them a lot of money and in part it’s a publicity move, designed to make the Balitmore PD look like they’re pro-active and not helpless. But it’s going to cause the wiretap operation to collapse before it’s had a chance to fully blossom.

Savino has arrived with Levy in order to meet with the police, they’ve managed to alter the facts sufficiently to lessen the charge that will be levelled at Savino. Claiming that Savino did not get the money and was planning to sell baking soda to Orlando, the State Attorney offers no charge plus witness protection if he hands over the shooters and testifies. But Levy reiterates that Savino is not going to cooperate and that the best they can do is charge him with a 286B (Distribution of sham CDS) which carries a three year maximum and a $5,000 fine. Because Savino left the money (and the tape confirms this) he’s clear on anything heavier. Savino makes it clear that he’ll eat the charge. Needless to say McNulty, Bunk and Landsman are not happy about this, but McNulty acknowledges Levy’s skill in legal manoeuvring.

Back near the tower Herc watches Poot pick up another re-up while in the Pit Dee and Bodie talk about Orlando’s demise. They’re noticing that a lot of people are getting stung or going missing lately. Bodie comments that people are going to get dropped when a messenger arrives, telling them that Stringer wants to talk with Dee. Bodie comments that Dee’s either ‘moving up in the world’ or getting taken out with the trash. Dee departs and Poot arrives, noting that Little Man has gone missing.

In the basement Daniels brings everyone back up to speed on Kima’s status, she’s in a bad way. Prez wants to know why the homicide department is being so slow and Daniels lets them know that every door is going to get knocked down except for the main stash house. This detail is going to be held back by Daniels as he feels he has more to gain by sitting on it for a while. This is quite a change from the Daniels we met originally; he’s become less concerned about his career and more concerned about getting the job done. Freamon fills them in with a few places that will do for hits and passes over to Herc who tells them about the tower re-up stash. Everything will be hit at eleven am and everyone needs to get cracking.

In the club Dee meets with Stringer who tells him he’s going with Wee-Bey. He throws the keys to Bey and tells him to keep it clean with no mistakes. Dee asks where he’s going and is told to just leave.

In the basement everyone is busy typing up ready for the following day when Burrell arrives to talk with Daniels. The conversation is mostly muffled by the glass until Burrell raises his voice. When McNulty and Freamon go in to talk to Daniels it’s clear that they now realise there’s a leak in the department, he’s known about every major thing they’ve done (except one, but do you know which it is? If you do you’ll realise who the leak is). McNulty leaves and Daniels muses with Freamon about the presence of the rat as a replacement for Daniels’s pipeline to him.

McNulty has headed over to talk with Phelan, McNulty asks for Phelan to help get Burrell to back off over the main stash house. Phelan isn’t willing to do this for him, he’s just got back on the election ticket and he claims it was just a series of half-assed politics attempting to screw with him. Needless to say McNulty doesn’t believe him but it doesn’t matter either way as Phelan no longer has his back.

Dee is driving with Wee-Bey, Bey is talking about the situation as he gets Dee to drive into an alley. Dee hesitates and stops the car at the entrance to the alleyway. Wee-Bey tells him to head down then get out of the car and come along. Dee by this time is seriously unnerved; he’s sweating and clearly hesitant about doing anything. Bodie’s off-hand comments about his potential future combined with Wee-Bey’s words have got him worked up and he breaks down in the middle of a darkened room, convinced that Wee-Bey has been ordered to disappear him like Little Man.

But then the lights come on and Wee-Bey reveals that he needs Dee to feed his fish, it turns out that Wee-Bey’s hobby is tropical fish and in a very light-hearted and frankly funny scene he explains that he’s going to be heading out of state for a while and Dee is going to look after his fish. Dee is left standing surrounded by the tanks, simultaneously embarrassed and relieved.

In Kima’s apartment, Cheryl is sitting on the sofa and as she touches the marker pen stain from Kima (remember that?) She begins to cry.

In the basement Bubbs brings them all back up to speed with the changes that have happened on the street. It’s now clear to them that Wee-Bey and Little Man are the shooters. He thanks Bubbs for the help but he doesn’t have the time to listen to Bubbs the way Kima would. He cuts him short and leaves, telling him that Prez will give him a ride. Bubbs is left alone staring at the twenty.

Outside the police force meets up ready to perform the raids. They hit everywhere they know of at the same time. Knocking over everywhere including the main stash house, Herc and Carver find a huge amount of money while doing so and pocket a little for themselves. Clearly they were inspired by their previous close call.

The police get their big haul and dope on the table and the Commissioner is pleased with this photo/publicity opportunity. The detail watches his speech on a small black and white TV in the basement with less enthusiasm than most. The wiretap is pretty much down, Prez hears a conversation between Wallace and Poot. Wallace is coming back, Prez marks it as non-pertinent.

In the hospital we see Kima unconscious and attached to monitoring equipment…

The Catchphrases:
What the f**k did I do? x 5

The Review:

Has McNulty's catchphrase ever sounded so different and down before? The man is so egotistical that he immediately blames himself for Kima's shooting. But even more than that, the show reveals an extra layer to one of it's characters in the process. Now if the star thread and 'hero' of the series could be thought to be the Detail's wiretap work on the Barksdales then Rawls would be the traditional villain as he's sought to quash it at nearly every turn. Of course, that's not really the case where The Wire is concerned, Rawls isn't a one dimensional villain, he's just a product of the insitution he works for. He might hate McNulty, but it we get to see why he's held his position in this episode. He's not just a company line puller, he does know how to lead his men, the moment where he lays it all out for McNulty and explains that he hates him so much that if anyone could blame McNulty for what happened it would be Rawls. Then goes on to say that he can't because it really isn't McNulty's fault, well it's a great moment that really adds texture to Rawls.

There are also some really great moments for other characters, I very much enjoy Lester Freamon on screen any time, but at the opening of this episode where he talks to Carver, Herc and Prez - explaining just exactly how they can help productively and putting them all in perspective - is great. He's consistently just awesome throughout this season but in this one he really gets to shine, not only then but later when his deductive work pays off and he hands over evidence that points to Little Man.

Speaking of Little Man, he's gone. But did you notice just how cleverly he was offed? There was no big scene between Wee-Bey and him where we saw him shot. He was just passed aside and talked about 'not being around' and 'done'. It really made the moment where Wee-Bey takes D'Angelo to his house a lot bigger. The first time I watched it I was left wondering if Dee was going to get it as well, but then the moment when the lights come on and we learn an amusing little fact about Bey. His collecting and looking after of tropical fish is a great touch for a man who's essentially a mid to high level enforcer. It's also a pretty bad pun, Dee thought he was going to get killed but instead he ended up feeding the fishes. I don't have to explain that one do I.

There's only two episodes left in this season, but already the wiretap has begun to disintergrate due to pressure from the high ups in the department keen to just get something good into the paper to balance out the news of Kima's shooting. The desire to look effective in the short term has begun to sink all the hard work that has been put in. The institution beateth the man.

Have you figured out who the rat in the Detail is yet?


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