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Red Right Hand: MFE: THE WIRE: "Old Cases"
*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.


MFE: THE WIRE: "Old Cases"

Moroccan Fez Exchange?

My Favorite Episodes.

I will not even get into detail about this particular first season episode of The Wire. There's a lot to this series and it just doesn't break-down so easy. It is a unique beast in series television that expects you to pay close attention to every episode, doesn't cheat real-life at all (meaning it can pace out slow and it doesn't care) and pays off big at the end.

This one (by David Simon) is singled out for the scene. The fuck scene. Not a sex scene. Detectives Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) and Bunk Moreland (Wendell Pierce) examine a cleaned-out, vacant apartment, trying to piece together a murder that happened there from old crime scene photos. The only dialogue in this entire scene is the word "fuck" and variations thereof. A couple dozen-plus times. Each one means something, but they do not tell the story.

Television is a visual medium and a writer must not forget that. This is the ultimate (well, it's up there) example of show, don't tell. We see an entire crime reconstructed by two guys walking around a small apartment and explaining nothing. Their dialogue (such as it is) serves to tell us about them as they move through the story of a young woman's last moments.

This one, however, has a great example of "tell, don't show." When a character relates an anecdote. In this case, Lester (Clarke Peters) relates to McNulty the story of how a good police winds up working the pawn shop unit for fourteen years. Some things are a story to be literally told. It's also the source of a great callback nine episodes later.

BTW, if you were a fan of Homicide: Life On the Street and you're not watching this, on either cable or DVD, then...seriously...what the fuck be wrong with you? This like Homicide II!
©2024 Michael Patrick Sullivan
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