Watching the Wire: Season Three: Episode Two: "All Due Respect"

“There’s never been a paper bag.”
-- Major Howard 'Bunny' Colvin

Teleplay by Richard Price
Directed by Steve Shil

Dominic West as Det. James "Jimmy" McNulty, Jim True-Frost as Det. Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski, Wendell Pierce as Det. William "Bunk" Moreland, Clarke Peters as Det. Lester Freamon, Sonja Sohn as Det. Shakima "Kima" Greggs, Lance Reddick as Lt. Cedric Daniels, Corey Parker Robinson as Det. Leander Sydnor, Frankie Faison as Police Comm. Ervin H. Burrell, Domenick Lombardozzi as Det. Thomas R. "Herc" Hauk, Andre Royo as Bubbles, J.D. Williams as Preston "Bodie" Broadus, Deirdre Lovejoy as Asst. States Attorney Rhonda Pearlman, John Doman as Deputy Ops. William A. Rawls, Wood Harris as Avon Barksdale, Idris Elba as Russell "Stringer" Bell, Aidan Gillen as Councilman Thomas "Tommy" Carcetti, and Robert Wisdom as Major Howard "Bunny" Colvin

Chad L. Coleman as Dennis "Cutty" Wise, Jamie Hector as Marlo Stanfield, Al Brown as Major Stanislaus Valchek, Clifford "Method Man" Smith as Melvin "Cheese" Wagstaff, Melanie Nichols-King as Cheryl, Richard Burton as Shaun "Shamrock" McGinty, Tray Chaney as Malik "Poot" Carr, Anwan Glover as Slim Charles, Kelli R. Brown as Kimmy, Edwina Findley as Tosha Mitchell, Ernest Waddell as Dante, Brandon Fobbs as Fruit, De'Rodd Hearns as Puddin, Addison Switzer as Country, Shamyl Brown as Donette, Erik Todd Dellums as Randall Frazier, Joilet F. Harris as Officer Caroline Massey, Jay Landsman as Lieutenant Dennis Mello, Richard DeAngelis as Colonel Raymond Foerster, Ed Norris as Detective Ed Norris, Rick Otto as Officer Kenneth Dozerman, Melvin Williams as The Deacon, R. Emery Bright as Community Relations Sergeant, Justin Burley as Justin, Benjamin Busch as Anthony Colicchio, Norris Davis as Vinson, Nakia Dillard as Lambert, Barnett Lloyd as Major Marvin Taylor, Rashad Orange as Sherrod, Melvin T Russell as Jamal, Ryan Sands as Truck, Brian Anthony Wilson as Detective Vernon Holley, Jonathan D. Wray as Tank and Rashad Orange as Sherrod.

The Summary:

Omar continues his bold strikes on Barksdale stash houses, now heavily guarded. Under orders from Stringer Bell, Bodie faces Marlo, a fierce young dealer with lucrative corners near the now-toppled Franklin Terrace towers. McNulty launches his own reinvestigation of last year's prison suicide of D'Angelo Barksdale. Greggs' relationship with Cheryl and the new baby is shakey. Burrell is feeling heat from Councilman Carcetti and reaches an uneasy peace with the legislator. The street violence also presents Daniels with the difficult decision of whether to help end a drug war in the Eastern district, at the cost of giving up a months-long wiretap. Cheese loses more than a little on his bet at a bloody dogfight and later is hauled downtown for questioning as a murder suspect by Bunk and McNulty. A beleaguered Cutty seeks employment outside the drug world. Carver, Herc and the Western drug unit take to the street undercover, but a hand-to-hand drug-buy goes sour, prompting Major "Bunny" Colvin, the district commander, to question his thirty years on the force and the legacy of his career.

Read about paper bags, hard rain falling and shooting mah dawg beyond the link...

The Recap:

A couple of young hoods are talking on the street outside a stash house, they’re talking about Edgar Allan Poe’s house when a nurse rolls up with an apparently old gentleman in a wheelchair. The nurse asks them to help the man up the stairs and after they frisk him they do so. Inside it takes a moment before the gangers realise that they’ve been punked by Omar and his posse. One of the lads tells him “All due respect, but this right here… It’s a Barksdale joint, man.” Omar’s only response is “Do tell.”

Cue the credits…

In the Baltimore city morgue an officer is giving a talk to a group of young lads when McNulty arrives intending to talk to the mortician Dr. Randall Frazier (remember him from the previous seasons?) He wants to talk about D’Angelo’s suicide – have the case looked into and ensured that it was a suicide and not murder.

At county Stringer and Avon are talking about the situation on the street, forming a plan of action now the towers are down and gone. Avon wants to push forward and ensure that the Barksdale name rings out, but Stringer wants to do it without dropping to many bodies, because, as he points out, its bodies which got Avon locked up in the first place. Drug dealing tends to be ignored by the police apart from the occasional bust, but homicide gets their attention. Add to this a general loss of muscle with little fresh replacements and they have every reason to be a little cautious. They then move on and talk about Avon’s parole hearing, it’s looking good for the man – he’ll probably be out soon thanks to his hotshots and Levy’s silvered tongue.

Across the city the same story replays over and over, Stringer’s boys move into the corners not with muscle but with product. Good product at low prices, it gets the attention of the other dealers. But Bodie isn’t having it as easy, he’s been asked to talk to Marlo, but Marlo’s boys aren’t willing to let him know where their boss is.

Major Valchek is meeting with Carcetti, Valchek sees the direction that Carcetti is taking things and he’s looking for an angle to play for himself.

Bodie;s still trying to figure out where Marlo is, but he believes he has it nailed.

In a warehouse a ring is set out and a scoreboard put up.

Bodie sets up on the street and waits.

Cheese arrives at the warehouse, it’s a dog-fighting competition and he bets heavily on his own pooch ‘Dawg’.

Herc and Carver are sat in the car talking their usual trash. This time Carver is asking Herc what woman he’d like to have as his sexual slaves (he goes with the Olsen twins) and what guy he’d do once, one time, in order to have them. Herc is a little reticent to reply to this, he’s convinced that it’s a trap. Carver pushes him and Herc clarifies that he wouldn’t be catching, he’d be pitching.

The dog fighting is about to reach full swing, the corner men step out and the two dogs fight. Cheese’s brown Dawg and a vicious white brute. After a short fight Dawg is badly injured and Cheese is out twenty five thousand. Cheese picks up Dawg, collects his gun and walks out of sight. A shot rings out.

Herc is still unwilling to name a guy, he tries to bargain for an “unbearable looking woman” instead but Carver demands a guy. No compromises. A lad walks past with his cap on the side and Herc calls him over, asking him where the lad gets the caps which go on sideways, because he can only find “the ones with the bills in the front.” The lad answers without realising Herc is being facetious, explaining that it’s the same kind of cap but just turned sideways. He then marks Poot out.

At the corner where Bodie is hanging out Marlo arrives in his SUV. Marlo tells the boy who called him up to get back to work and then rolls past Bodie without stopping.

Down at the waterfront Burrell is meeting with Valchek, they’re talking about Carcetti. Valchek explains the lay of the land. Burrell needs to placate Caretti in order to avoid being screwed hard, but as Burrell notes, he can’t go back-dooring the mayor and get away with it. Carcetti arrives and Valchek departs, leaving them to talk with.

At the funeral home Stringer and his lieutenants are discussing how the situation is playing out. It’s hard work, especially for Bodie who can’t even get near Marlo to talk. Stringer tells him to get out and look for Marlo. Stringer then moves on to talk about the Omar situation. It’s clear to them that Omar has a hard on for Stringer and they need to shore up against him.

Carcetti and Burrell talk about their situation. Carcetti admits that he’s screwing around with Burrell and the police force because he’s bored. Burrell decides to softly play ball and asks Carcetti to try and sort out the problem he’s having with car repairs.

Marlo is at the auto shop, talking about the potential situation with the Barksdales. If he’s not willing to work with them he’s going to have to saddle up for a storm.

McNulty is drinking with Bunk and they’re talking about Dee’s “suicide”. Bunk somewhat agrees with McNulty about Dee, he doesn’t see it as a suicide, but he’s cautious about sticking his neck out. McNulty then spots a cute woman and asks Bunk to help him out with a “number three”, which turns out to involve Bunk hamming up his drunken state to allow McNulty to introduce himself.

In the street one of Cheese’s corner boy – Tri - is shot dead in mid sentence.

Cutty talks with his parole officer about what now, he’s told to stay away from criminals and “get a job”. But that’s as far as he’s going to be assisted.

At the mortuary McNulty and Dr Frazier are discussing Dee’s injuries, things don’t quite add up right.

Tri’s shooting runs up the wire and Caroline translates for Freamon and Prez.

On Poot’s corner Herc and Carver arrive, Poot calls for a time out to his boys and is then picked up by the dynamic duo. Herc and Carver talk with Poot about the situation, Poot plays it hard and the pair let him go with nothing for their troubles. They then move back to their previous conversation, Herc asking if a hand job would be enough.

At the Office things are heating up, Peanut’s dead now as well and then another voice cuts across the wire. It’s Cheese, he’s having trouble sleeping since he shot someone, his dawg. The detail are thrilled, they have an angle on Cheese now. Then another wire barks up and they here someone get shot. Freamon calls Detective Norris and tries to pass on the good news – Norris hangs up on him.

In the western district stats fixing is under full swing. While Herc and Carver meet Poot and Bodie at the cinema, it’s almost like co-workers meeting.

In the offices Freamon is checking out the pictures of the bodies from the shootings.

At home Kima and Cheryl sit on the sofa, conversation is forced and strained between them after the birth of Cheryl’s baby.

The next morning Cutty finds work labouring while Kima and Freamon bring the recording of Cheese on a platter to Daniels. At the moment they’re looking to hold onto the recording for as long as possible, because once they give up the wiretap by collaring Cheese then the jig will be up and the remaining dealers will switch up their communication methods.

McNulty is over at Donette’s house, he asks her about her opinion on Dee’s sucide, and extrapolates a little on his suspicions and explains why he’s doing this. She’s clearly not happy to have him there and so he leaves his card then departs.

The majors are in for their briefings, Rawls is roasting one of them over his (lack of) knowledge over the shootings in his area. Colvin watches from the sidelines.

Marlo arrives on the corner and Bodie clocks him, he gets up and walks over to talk to the man. Marlo ignores him initially, but then tells Bodie to walk off and leave. Bodie sighs, turns and leaves.

The Major Crimes Unit meet with Ronnie about the wiretap and the bodies. McNulty wants to hang on, but Daniels points out that the unit is about the violence, not the drugs. So they plan to use the tap and try to roll up Cheese.

Cutty is working in the garden, the owner of the house talks to him and the other gardeners in broken Spanish. Cutty can only star incredulously at this assumption, he doesn't even look the least bit Spanish.

At the MCU Office things are a go. They pick up Cheese, planning to break him and move up the ladder towards Prop Joe and Stringer Bell.

Outside the western district Herc and Carver are still talking about Herc’s decision, Herc has increased the list to four women and finally settles on Gus Triandos. Carver doesn’t rip into him over the choice and then turns to address the men. He tells them they need to keep their incident numbers sequential, photograph everything before bagging it and to make sure that their cameras are loaded with film.

In the interview room Bunk and McNulty interview Cheese, he doesn’t even flinch so Bunk pulls an impression of him on tape talking about shooting his dawg. Cheese shakes his head and tells them the truth; that he thought he was being punked and lit up his dawg. McNulty and Bunk offer to let him go if he rolls up on this shooting. Cheese doesn’t roll and tells them that the body is in the warehouse. Everyone looks pleased and happy outside the interview room until Bunk and McNulty walk out. They can charge Cheese with ‘improper disposal of an animal’ and ‘discharging a firearm within city limits’, maybe even ‘animal cruelty’. As you should have figured by now, Cheese was talking about having to shoot Dawg, his dawg. Not any person. The wiretap is screwed.

Herc and Carver are outside, Herc is asking Carver to let loose on him when Dozerman comes up and starts talking about Gus Triandos. Herc is not impressed.

At the bar the MUO are drinking in commiseration over their sorrows. They’ve lost the wire and Daniels is feeling a little sorry for himself. Ronnie soon turns things around for the man, by suggesting that he could still have his cake and eat it. She places a hand on his thigh.

Dozerman and Carver continue to rile Herc over his ‘confession’ while they work narcotics.

Burrell meets with Carcetti who’s managed to turn things around and get 20 squad cars back onto the streets by the end of the week. Burrell moves on to let Carcetti know that there’s no money for academy training of new officers. Carcetti offers to help out.

Kima arrives home, finding the place covered with baby stuff and Cheryl asleep with the baby. She turns away, fixes up her hair in the mirror and heads out again.

Dozerman makes the hand-off with the dealers and is then shot. Colvin is called about the shooting. Daniels brings Ronnie back to his place, it’s almost empty as he just got the lease.

It turns out that the shooting wasn’t fatal, Bunny tells them that they did good getting to him fast, but the shooter is in the wind. Dozerman has even lost his gun in the process. Bunny finishes his drink and tosses the can up onto the roof.

Kima is out at a gay bar, she’s caught the eye of an attractive young woman.

Daniels and Ronnie wake up in the morning and get reads to head out. Bunny rolls out on the street, meeting up with the Deacon to talk about what’s happened. He’s frustrated because he’s left almost nothing behind, the city is worse than when he started on the job. The Deacon tells Bunny that there’s nothing you can do to fight drugs.

In the MCU Office the wires have gone dead, Freamon is back to making his dolls house furniture. It’s all quiet now they’ve tipped their hand.

In the western district Bunny briefs his men. Dozerman is now in a ‘guarded condition’, but all hand to hands are suspended. Bunny then pulls out a brown paper bag holding a bottle and tells the story of the brown paper bag. About how the paper bag rose up as a compromise between the drinkers and the police, with the bottle inside the bag it meant that the officers could look the other way and not lose face.

There’s never been a paper bag for drugs. Until now.

Herc and Carver find themselves sat back out in the car, Herc is confused about Bunny’s speech. They roll past Bodie without busting him, Bodie nods acknowledgement to them and we cut to black…

The Review:

Well it didn't take long for things to turn sour did it? The wiretap is dead for no benefit, people are dying, the higher ups are in bedlam over what this means to stats and Herc is talking about screwing a baseball player. Still, it wouldn't be The Wire if things ran smooth would it?

For myself the main things I take away from this episode is the relationship between Herc, Carver, Bodie and Poot. In many other shows and even films the "confrontation" in the cinema would have been far more aggressive and possibly violent, but instead it plays out more like a meeting between co-workers. Bodie is quite civil, in truth he's genuinely surprised because he's never really thought of Herc and Carver in personal circumstances. To him they're the policemen who bust his head every day for no real reason. But here he's seen them as the men behind the badges, or at least had a glimpse and it's surprised him no end.

Apart from the collapse of the wiretap and the general personal things the other storylines start to build slowly. You can see how Marlo fits into this as an atagonistic element for the Barksdales, his presence has to be dealt with and can end in either co-operation or the destruction of one drug organisation. The political aspect of the show ticks along in the background, while politics is a huge thing, especially when you're dealing with drugs and law. But it isn't dominating the storyline.

Still, at this point there's not much more to write about, because the first few episodes of each season are mostly build up. And we've got plenty of that yet to come!

This episode quotes it's title three times in the episode and shares the name with the fifth season finale of The Sopranos.

Bunny's speech at the end of the episode is more or less taken direct from book The Corner and it can be directly attributed to ex-policeman and David Simon's writing partner, Ed Burns.

The Deacon is played by Melvin Williams, the real life inspiration for Avon Barksdale and crime lord until he was caught by Ed Burns and sentenced to 34 years in a wiretap similar to the first season's storyline. Needless to say some people were outraged that Melvin was "rewarded" for his crimes in this manner.

How great does Rhonda Pearlman look in this episode?


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