The Wire season five episode seven review

Dominic West - aka McNulty - steps into the director's chair, as The Wire fires on in its usual brilliant way...

The Wire: with McNulty behind the camera

Episode 7 is directed by Dominic West, who plays Jimmy McNulty. The title ‘Took’ seems rather obscure but all is made clear at the end of the episode when Gus is having a conversation about Templeton at the Sun. It is clear that Templeton made an error in a story the previous year when he was deceived by a woman who was the subject of the story. A reader got in touch to point out the error and Templeton was sent to re-check the story but didn’t bother. Worse, he lied about it to Gus.

Gus knows that ‘all reporters get took once in a while’ but if Templeton would lie about something that didn’t matter, what might he do to make a big story look even better?

That conversation takes place at the end of the episode after Gus has suffered the pain of seeing Templeton on the front page of the Sun with a ludicrous feature that suggests he has an inside track on life with the homeless. This has gone down incredibly well with the managers of the Sun but Gus and the real journalists are appalled. Templeton is clearly being set up for a fall before the end of the season – the question is whether justice will be delivered but I have a horrible suspicion that Templeton will prosper. Remember, it’s not only cream that rises to the top. Shit also floats.

We’re getting ahead of ourselves. The episode opens with McNulty making a call to Templeton posing as the killer. He tells Templeton that it’s the last call and from now on he will only send pictures and then sends a couple of images of the missing homeless guy. The call is trapped by the Police and sets wheels in motion that leads to McNulty getting the warrant that he needs to allow Lester to illegally monitor the mysterious pictures that are being sent to Marlo’s cell phone.

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Meanwhile Carcetti is having a busy morning raising money to run for Governor when the call comes in that the killer has kidnapped one of the homeless. This rains on his parade in no uncertain terms and he goes on the offensive by telling the Police to find the serial killer with no expense spared.

There follows a lovely scene that cuts back and forth with Gus briefing the staff of the Sun while Daniels does the same with the Police. The briefings are surprisingly similar as the killings are a top priority and both groups have been promised overtime!

We have a side story in the shape of Clay Davis talking to his attorney. Money is tight because his friends and financiers are running for cover but as Davis puts it‘They thinking short when they should be thinking long – shameful shit’The story gets a bit weird at this stage as Davis goes for trial and seems to do an OJ Simpson in less than a day which results in a verdict of Not Guilty. You’d have thought the case would have rumbled on for many weeks but it seems to be buttoned up within a day. So Davis is as free as a bird and that particular thread of the plot seems to have come to an end but we have no idea why the story ever ran in the first place.

The Davis character is colourful and fun but the story hasn’t led anywhere as Davis hasn’t given up any politicians or money men. We have to hope that there will be a revelation of some sort before The Wire comes to an end but it may just be that Davis is being used to show that crime does pay.

Bunk is working a cold case and calls Michael in to quiz him about the murder of his step-father the previous year but doesn’t seem to make any progress.

Omar takes down one of Marlo’s stash houses and flushes four kilos of drugs and then sticks up one of Omar’s muscle. It’s a guy called Silvino who wasn’t part of Butch’s murder. Omar tells him ‘I know who was there. So you’re innocent? But you’re Marlo’s muscle so if you were there what would you have done?’

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After a moment’s reflection he shoots Silvino in the head. Later he passes the word that he will keep on killing Marlo’s muscle until Marlo meets him in the street for a confrontation. The irony is that he passes the message to Michael and the kids on his corner unaware that Michael was in the ambush that tried to whack Omar in the apartment.

Bubs is serving lunch at the soup kitchen when Mike Fletcher of the Sun calls by to get background on the homeless and find out how the other half lives in Baltimore. We get the impression that the black Fletcher is the acceptable face of journalism while the odious white Templeton is badness personified.

Kima Greggs has her kid staying overnight and needs some furniture. She goes to Ikea on McNulty’s advice and then goes home ‘Got shit to assemble – you didn’t tell me that part mother fucker’

On the wiretap Lester has seen that the mysterious messages to Marlo consist of a picture message of a clock. The clock appears to indicate a meeting time but the hour comes and goes and Marlo’s gang doesn’t move. Clearly the clock is a code so they’ve taken a step but how long will it take? The other cops are all going to McNulty for resources to work their own cases. This is the reason that McNulty invented the serial killer in the first place – to do Police work – but it’s getting silly and McNulty is desperate to wrap up the case as soon as possible.