The Wire season five episode eight review

After this, there are just two more episodes ever of The Wire to go. Fortunately, season five continues to deliver...

This episode is titled ‘Clarifications’ which is a polite way of saying that Templeton has started to trip up so Gus at the Sun feels the need to make some clarifications. These are real clarifications rather than the Sir Humphrey type where you ‘clarify’ something in an attempt to cover your back which probably means things become less clear.

At the end of episode seven we had three main story threads that centre on Marlo. Omar is hunting Marlo and his crew, McNulty has his fake serial killer investigation which is opening up resources for Lester in his illegal investigation into Marlo. The third story is Scott Templeton at The Baltimore Sun.

A few weeks back it seemed to me that Templeton might get away with the embellishment of his stories. In a lesser TV show he would be held up as an example that ‘crime does not pay’ but The Wire ploughs its own furrow so Clay Davis got a Not Guilty verdict and it would be no surprise if Templeton also got a walk. Hell, he may even get promotion.

Despite my cynicism I was taken by surprise this episode. It started conventionally with McNulty briefing senior Police officers and Carcetti about progress on the serial killer. He has asked Carver for some patrol officers for surveillance duties and Carcetti authorises the Police to spend whatever it takes to catch the killer.

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Meanwhile Michael tells Chris and Snoop about Omar’s claim that he had killed Silvino. Their reaction makes it clear Omar was telling the truth but Marlo won’t be coming to the street to face Omar down.

Bunk uses McNulty’s authority to rush an old case through the lab which ties Chris Partlow to the murder of Michael’s step-father the previous year. He’s ecstatic about this result and feels that he owes McNulty a favour.

Omar tells two cops about some of Marlo’s guys who are hanging around on the next corner. After the cops run them off the corner he takes down a stash house with the minimum of trouble. He goes in a Korean grocers store for cigarettes and as he waits to be served a young kid walks in and shoots him in the head. Omar’s dead, just like that.

When the police attend Bunk finds a list of names on Omar’s body which he passes to McNulty who passes it on to Lester. It’s a list of Omar’s targets and includes Cheese who is Marlo’s man in East Baltimore since Prop Joe was killed. Lester didn’t know Cheese was on Marlo’s crew and it fills out a piece of the Marlo puzzle. The clock pictures refer to map references in Baltimore but some of the messages have no connection to the people that Lester has under observation. It’s likely that Cheese is the missing link.

Outside the Sun the guys are talking about Templeton getting a call from the serial killer – “weird shit talking to a psychopath”, and the retort “I interviewed Dick Cheney once.”

Terry Hanning the homeless Iraq war veteran visits the Sun and takes Gus and Templeton to task for falsifying his story. “A lie ain’t a side of a story. It’s just a lie.”

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Templeton embellished the story by adding a fire fight that hadn’t happened but he flatly denies this and sticks to his story. Gus is unconvinced.

McNulty and Kima Greggs visit the FBI at Quantico to get a profile of the serial killer that turns out to be disturbingly close to the bone. ‘Rebellious, feeling of superiority, works in an office job, high level functioning alcoholic, no real sexual motive to the killings.’ Ouch.

On the political side of things the Senator of Prince George County is pissed off with Carcetti and wants to run Dolby against him, just to teach him a lesson. Carcetti is forced to make deals with everyone, including Clay Davis, to maintain his support. It is clear that Carcetti’s sole motivation is political advancement and he has no concern for the consequences.

A candlelit vigil is held outside city hall and Carcetti gives a speech. Templeton’s lead story on the event is spiked because he come sup with a quote from an unnamed homeless woman. Gus Hayes is certain it is a fiction and the Metro Editor backs him.

Lester visits a federal prosecutor to see if he can bring a new case against Davis. He is turned down flat as it is clearly an attempt to bring a white jury into the fray after a local black jury acquitted Davis. He goes to a bar where Davis is dining and hands him the dossier and suggests he talks to his attorney ‘to see how exposed he is’. He is clearly trying to railroad Davis as he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

So where do we stand with two episodes to go? We’d like to see Templeton get his comeuppance and we know that Carcetti can’t be elected Governor before The Wire ends. Lord knows what angle Lester is working with Clay Davis but we have to hope that there’s a clear resolution to the Marlo story.

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My prediction? I reckon McNulty will get arrested.