Watching The Wire: Episode Thirteen: Sentencing

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"All in the game..." - Traditional West Baltimore
Written by David Simon & Ed Burns
Directed by Tim Van Patten

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)

Michael Hyatt (Brianna Barksdale), Tray Chaney (Malik "Poot" Carr), Michael Kostroff (Maurice "Maury" Levy), Domenick Lombardozzi (Det. Thomas R. "Herc" Hauk), Peter Gerety (Judge Daniel Phelan), Seth Gilliam (Det. Ellis Carver), Jim True-Frost (Off. Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski), Wendy Grantham (Shardene Innes), Clarke Peters (Det. Lester Freamon), Benay Berger (FBI Supervisor Amanda Reese), Eric Ryan (Michael McNulty), De'Rodd Hearns (Herbert De'Rodd "Puddin'" Johnson), Robert F. Colesberry (Det. Ray Cole), Susan Rome (Asst. State's Attorney Ilene Nathan), Doug Olear (FBI Special Agent Terrence "Fitz" Fitzhugh), Michael B. Jordan (Wallace), Delaney Williams (Sgt. Jay Landsman), Maria Broom (Marla Daniels), Edward T. Norris (Det. Edward Norris), Melanie Nicholls-King (Cheryl), Leo Fitzpatrick (Johnny), J.D. Williams (Preston "Bodie" Broadus), Hassan Johnson (Roland "Wee-Bey" Brice), Michael Kenneth Williams (Omar Little), Michael Salconi (Det. Michael Santangelo), William Shipman (Philadelphia Detective), Stephen F. Schmidt (Wee-Bey's Attorney), Curtis Montez (Sterling), Terrence Currier (Roy Brown), Pete Burris (Federal Judge), Kirk Penberthy (FBI Special Agent Arnold D. Paulette), Toni Lewis (F.B.I. Agent) and Jarvis George (Ronnie Mo)

The Summary:

Greggs finds the strength to finger "Little Man" as one of the men who shot her. Daniels and McNulty go to the feds with crushing evidence about some Baltimore politicians tied to Barksdale, thinking they finally have him. However, the Feds only want the politiicans and not Barksdale. D'Angelo can't swing a deal, and agrees to a possession charge and 20 years hard time after a talk with his mother. As the show concludes, business resumes in the pit with Bodie and Poot leading the way and using some of D'Angelo's wisdom and tactics.

Read about taking it federal, car alarms and unexpected returns beyond the link...

The Recap:

Kima awakens in the hospital to find Bunk and watching over her. Bunk talks with her a little before she looks at the spreads and ID’s Little Man. But when asked if she can ID Wee-Bey she hesitates before admitting she’s unable to do so. Bunk tells her just how close the case if where Wee-Bey is concerned, how good it would be if she’d ID Wee-Bey as well and the risks that will occur if she doesn’t provide a positive ID. Without Kima’s positive ID on both of them the case will be at risk, but Kima refuses to provide the ID, saying “Sometimes things just have to play hard.”

Hit the credits…

Herc and the uniforms are picking up many members of the Barksdales including Ronnie Mo, Carver saunters up to Herc and confirms that they’ve managed to round up everyone. Herc feels the need to assert his soon to be assigned authority, reminding Carver that Herc passed the exam. Carver’s expression is pretty comical.

In the basement, Prez is updating the list of arrests. They have twelve of the nineteen they’re after and it looks like there’s little chance of sweeping up anyone they don’t have already. Avon and Stringer look like they’re going to be walking and they need a new wire. But there’s little hope of managing anything as Burrell wants everything shut down. The phone rings for McNulty, it’s Ronnie telling him D’Angelo wants to talk.

Avon leaves the lock up and rolls with stringer and Levy to talk in a car park. Levy correctly suspects a wire and bugs because the information is too comprehensive and wide sweeping. Avon confirms that he never talked over the phones and instead talked in the back of the club, which is when they all suspect that the bug may have been placed there. In truth – as we know – there is a bug there, but it isn’t the thing which did the damage. None of them can figure out why Stringer wasn’t arrested and they then talk about Dee, Avon is convinced Dee won’t flip on them and he’ll come around. Levy starts talking about damage limitation.

Bunk talks to McNulty about Kima, asking if he’s been to see her yet and McNulty confirms he hasn’t talked to her yet but plans to. Bunk then tells her about Kima’s reluctance to finger Bey. Ronnie arrives dropping off some stuff; she gives McNulty a cold stare before smiling warmly at Bunk. Once again McNulty is in her bad books, which isn’t a surprise.

Avon and Stringer arrive in a funeral parlour to judge it’s suitability for a new headquarters. Avon is content with the place before Brianna arrives to talk with them. Avon wants to keep rolling and get everything back up fast, Brianna and Stringer disagree, they want him to take some time away from the business until things blow over. He agrees but wants good strong product put out. Brianna then tells Avon she’ll sort out Dee.

Dee is meeting with Ronnie and McNulty to provide information on the Barksdales. Ronnie makes it clear that he’s been helpful but they need more, they need information on the murders. Dee denies knowing anything about the death of Gant and is then shown photos of the security guard, Orlando and poor Wallace. McNulty can’t understand why Wallace was shot, Dee then hears the taped phone conversation about Wallace’s problems with Brandon’s murder and they slide across a photo of Brandon after he was dumped. Dee admits that Wallace fingered Brandon but didn’t know what would happen, Dee then goes on to admit his involvement and what happened and how it affected Wallace. How he attempted to protect Wallace and how he feels about this.

Bunk goes on to push, wondering why the young kids who lived with Wallace were missing (Poot moved them out) and then he’s shown pictures of Little Man and Wee-Bey. He tells them Wee-Bey is in Philly and asks if they’re finished. Ronnie reminds Dee and his attorney that this is entirely based on full cooperation before McNulty produces a photo of Dierdre and punctuated it with three taps on the table (the same “Tap, tap, tap” Dee vocalised when talking about her shooting), Dee correctly identifies her and then Bunk and Dee repeat the tapping. He then goes to talk about what happened, how he was used to set up Diedre for the fall. Gradually he describes what happened and the pieces began to fall into place, how the story he told to the lads back in the Pit was actually Wee-Bey’s story. Finally they have something they can hold over Avon.

Dee talks about his life, his family and his situation, explaining that this life is all he knows, all he lives with and how he’s tired of it all. He wants Wallace’s deal; he wants a fresh start where he can become a regular man. If he gets that he offers to give them everything.

Daniels receives a phone call about this interview; he’s thrilled because the case has broken open. But rather than use it to get back into Burrell’s good books he plans to instead reach out to the Feds and see if he can get them to pursue the case further. He then admits that Burrell knows about Daniels’s money but also that Burrell seems unwilling to push it further.

Ronnie is sitting in the car with McNulty and she’s completely thrilled with what’s happened. The case is massive and she’s willing to go federal with the entire thing as it’s a career case. McNulty attempts to talk to her about what happened at Levy’s before she pounces on him and they both celebrate in a very personal fashion.

Bunk and Freamon arrives to talk about a trap and trace in order to get after Bey. They’re told that it’ll take time and as they turn away they’re asked to explain why this case is so important. They do.

McNulty is meeting with Agent Fitz about turning the case federal, but Fitz tells him the FBI aren’t chasing after drug cases anymore. Fitz asks him why they don’t go through the DEA and McNulty admits he’s trying to do this without his bosses finding out and shutting it down. Fitz agrees to set up a meeting after McNulty vouches for Daniels.

Stringer is in the photocopy shop and a bag is passed over to him, in the back office he talks to one of his men about how to cut the drugs until they get a new stash up.

McNulty, Freamon and Daniels are meeting with the FBI who confirm that it’s a great case. There are a few missing pieces, the lack of evidence leading towards the supplier is a problem and then Fitz tells them they can’t go any further unless the case links to priority post-9/11 targets. Unfortunately for the Detail they don’t have anyone like that in Baltimore they know of, certainly not involved in the case so far. The word corruption is mentioned during the conversation and Daniels moves on it, asking what kind of corruption is needed.

In the Pit Bodie asks Poot if the re-up has arrived, they’re having problems with some other dealers who’ve arrived on their patch selling yellow tops. Bodie is tossed a baseball bat and they approach the new dealers. He hits one of them and tells them to get lost; the other dealers are unwilling to leave as the Barksdales have no product to sell. A fight breaks out while Herc and Carver watch from a nearby car. Carver comments that this is why the police can’t win; the pushers face far worse consequences for failure than the police force do (and also have greater rewards for success).

McNulty arrives in Kima’s room to talk with her, he briefly mentions her inability to ID Bey and then she asks about the case. He admits that the wire is dead and then provides good news about Dee’s flipping. Kima’s girlfriend Cheryl becomes angry at this and storms out of the room, Kima then confesses that Cheryl is indeed exceptionally angry and wants Kima to quit working as police. McNulty agrees that she’s probably right, because the case wasn’t worth Kima being shot. Kima then has a go at him for failing to turn up earlier, McNulty starts to admit that he feels guilty about the whole thing and if he could redo it he’d change things. Kima tells him that if she could do it over she’d tape her gun better. She then asks for a favour.

McNulty meets with Bubbles (Kima’s favour) to hand him over some money, Bubs takes some of it and then hands the rest back. McNulty asks if he’s sure and then Bubs keeps the whole lot before passing on his wishes, asking McNulty to not tell Kima that he’s using again.

In the basement Herc is disappointed because he isn’t getting his promotion where as Carver has managed to get it. The phone rings and Prez answers while Freamon walks in with Shardene, it is clear his moves have worked on Shardene. Prez walks over to him with the number for Bey’s house and Freamon closes the door while Carver stares with an incredulous look on his face.

The Detail (Freamon, Daniels, McNulty and Ronnie) are meeting to see if they can further the case on the lines of corruption, they talk about what they’ve found out about the various properties and the FBI agent admits that while it’s a lot to work with, it is enough. But the key question is if Dee can finger the senator or provide stuff on the money. It becomes clear that the FBI want to turn Barksdale, Stringer and the others into cooperators with the intent of going after Clay Davies. To say that the Detail is less than happy about this is an understatement and they quickly decide to go elsewhere to push their case.

Brianna meets with her son Dee, she tells him that Avon will take the fall if Dee is ready to step up. Dee tells her he’s no longer willing to do that and instead he’s been offered a chance to start afresh. Brianna attempts to guilt him into doing the right thing by Avon and her.

Carver and Herc are preparing in the basement for Wee-Bey’s arrest when Daniels comes in and asks to talk with Carver privately. Daniels asks Carver if there’s anything he wants to admit, he then goes on to tell Carver that he knows there is a leak in the Detail heading directly to Burrell and additionally last week’s bug caught Burrell on the hop. This means whoever was reporting to Burrell wasn’t present that week, Carver was away at this time. Carver is the leak in the Detail and he confesses. Daniels talks to him, telling him that he’s going to be in command soon and that Carver will be showing these men the way they should work, he’ll be the example they follow. He tells Carver that eventually he’ll have to decide which is more important, the Law or the promotions. Daniels then heads out to talk with Prez about Bey’s arrest and to hand him back his gun.

In Philadelphia the Detail and uniforms set up to catch Bey, they do it by having Carver break the window of Bey’s car to draw him outside. After a struggle Bey is caught, he’s not happy they busted up his car to arrest him.

Ronnie is having breakfast when she receives a call about Dee, apparently there’s a problem with the Lawyer regarding Dee. Unfortunately Brianna’s talk with Dee has turned him back and it’s Levy on the phone now.

McNulty arrives in Rawls’s office, Rawls tells him he heard about Bey’s arrest and he’s pleased with the clearances. But also he’s heard that there are people are less than pleased with McNulty and his decision to try and take the case federal. Rawls tells him he’s a good detective and tells him he wants to see McNulty land ok. He asks McNulty where he doesn’t want to go.

Levy is meeting with Ronnie, Daniels and others about the case, Levy is confident that they can’t touch Barksdale. He goes on to explain how things will most likely go down, including various sentences on lower level dealers and of course Mr Brice (Wee-Bey as Daniels explains to Ronnie) on murder charges and Kima’s shooting. Wee-Bey will offer sole responsibility for many murders and also a lot of assests are offered up, but most of the money and real estate will remain on the streets in the hands of Stringer Bell (and of course Levy). It seems Avon is just getting a few years.

Avon is eventually charged with possession of a kilo of heroin and a seven year sentence. As Ronnie reads out the charges Stringer, Brianna, Dee and McNulty all watch. McNulty leaves, disgusted.

Bunk is talking with Bey about the shootings, he’s looking at life with no parole and in order to get parole he has to offer Avon or Stringer up, which he’s unwilling to do at all. He’s then told by his lawyer that anything he doesn’t confess to here won’t be part of the deal. So Bey confesses to additional murders in exchange for some more food. These include Little Man, the security guard and William Gant.

Ronnie Mo is now being sentenced for conspiracy while everyone watches in court.

Cedric is met by Cantrell, who has been promoted into the Major’s position which was originally offered to Daniels. His decision to follow the case has cost him the promotion. He then walks into his offices and hears Herc talking to a bunch of newish recruits about the job, Herc is clearly proud about his involvement in the Barksdale case.

Outside the court room McNulty is sitting when Stringer walks out, Stringer leans over and tells him “Nicely done” before leaving.

Bodie is out in the Pit talking on the phone about the situation, he’s waiting for a re-up, clearly working as a lieutenant for the Barksdales now.

Rawls is talking to Freamon, it turns out that Freamon’s hard work and intelligence in the case has been noticed. He’s getting the position that McNulty is vacating.

In the Pit Poot is sat on the couch watching. He notices one of the lads who works for him taking the money and serving him at the same time. He passes on the same advice and orders Dee did near the start of the season; one man takes the money, the other serves. Poot’s learnt from working under Dee.

Outside the courtroom Judge Phelan walks past McNulty and congratulates him on the case before leaving. Inside the room Dee is being charged as McNulty sits back down. Dee is being punished for going back on a lot of his willingness to help and he’s now facing the maximum twenty years. Bunk arrives to tell McNulty that Wee-Bey has taken the fall for a huge amount of murders including William Gant. It’s clear Bey’s just taking the fall for the murders because there’s nothing worse he can face. This way Bird might be released on Gant’s murder charge.

As Avon walks out of the courtroom he nods acknowledgement to McNulty. Bunk and McNulty exchange catchphrases and we reach the end of season montage.

• Johnny and Bubs are still grafting for copper pipes.
• Santangelo is now working the beat in uniform.
• Carver is promoted to sergeant thanks to his leaking information about the detail.
• Prez packs up the board putting the money train trail to rest before switching off the lights
• Kima stands at a window in the hospital, watching the lights of a patrol car head past outside before walking off aided by a frame.
• Bunk and Freamon head over to see McNulty who’s been sent out on a boat, exactly where he didn’t want to be.
• In the funeral parlor Stringer now heads the Barksdales.
• On the streets nothing has changed, money still changes hands and drugs are sold.

Finally a familiar refrain is whistled in the streets, Catcher in the Rye, and the man whistling it speaks in a distinctive voice. Throwing down his hood suspicions are confirmed. Omar has returned…

Happy now bitch? x 4
What the fuck did I do? x 6
The Review:

So that’s it, that’s the finale episode of the first season finished and as such the first chapter in the show brought to a close. Next week I’ll review the season as a complete entity and also look at the journeys some of the characters have taken during these thirteen episodes but for now we’ll just focus on this final one.

Sentencing is best looked upon as an epilogue to the season, many of the major events occurred during ‘Cleaning Up’ and as such Sentencing serves more to show us the repercussions of various events which were brought to a head in the previous episode. As you can see, in The Wire not everything runs smoothly for the "good guys". Stringer and Levy are still out and pretty much untouchable, Avon is only doing seven years with potential parole in three or four and Bird may even end up back on the streets.

You really do have to echo McNulty's sentiments here, was all of this worth the cost? Daniels has lost any chance of a promotion, McNulty is stuck on harbor patrol, Wallace is dead, Bubs is back using, Kima will be in physio for a long time and might not even return to duty and Santangelo, who really hasn't done much wrong was caught in the crossfire and is now a beat cop, which is a huge fall from Homicide. Just about the only members of the Detail who have made progress are Freamon (for his brilliance) and Carver (for his betrayal).

Everything could have been left wrapped up after this first season, it's a very complete structure in itself, yes there are threads hanging loose, but that's life. Nothing wraps up neatly in life and The Wire reflects this. But fortunately for those of us who've enjoyed this first season and come insync with it we have another four seasons to watch after this one and they're brilliant.

Next Sunday will be a season reflection involving a semi-review and a look at each major character in the series, what happened to them, why and what this means.


3 comments so far.

  1. Sonia 7 May 2009 at 12:40
    Its an nice episode of this show and I saw its all episodes. If you wanna Download The Wire Episodes then go through the link and get it now with each and every episode.
  2. Anonymous 7 November 2010 at 19:03
    I would say only one word for The Wire TV Show, Its really outstanding show.
  3. martins 4 March 2011 at 16:58
    The Wire TV Show has a nice plot to present in front of odience. I am very impressed by the storyline and I like this show very much.

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