POSTED BY STUART LEVINE
The timing seems fortuitous that last night's brilliant episode of "The Wire" was televised the same day James O'Shea was ousted as editor of the L.A. Times.
For me, the best parts of the episode took place inside the fictional Baltimore Sun newsroom, as editor James Whiting gives his speech about "finding ways to do more with less" as he announces the paper is cutting foreign bureaus all over the globe. And then lets his staff know that more "voluntary buyouts" will be necessary.
Interesting, isn't it, that he felt the more important news -- the lede as we would say here in the news game -- was that the worldwide offices would be closed rather than people losing their jobs in Baltimore.
Scott must be a good reporter -- as he's worked his way up on smaller papers to reach the Sun -- but making up quotes out of thin air means there's something in his journalistic DNA that is going to bring about his downfall in a big way. Editors have to have faith in their reporters to be truthful in their stories and assignments, so I feel for Gus here, and he may also suffer down the road as well even though he's starting to have serious doubts about Scott's ethics and way of doing business.
Other thoughts while wondering if McNulty has begun humming a reworked Tony Orlando staple: "Tie a red ribbon round the dead man's wrist..."
-- Watching Bunk's faces as McNulty gets deeper into his self-made serial killer case is priceless. When he thinks Lester's on his side, but then Lester says McNulty needs to make the phantom killer even more bizarre, Bunk almost loses it.
-- You have to hand it to Stan Valcheck, who figures the best way to keep the cops and City Hall humming along is to make himself interim commissioner. Carcetti's amazed at Stan's audacity, and coming from a politician, that's saying something.
-- Journalists are notorious for trying to save a buck here and there but it seemed a bit of a stretch that Alma wouldn't get home delivery because she gets the Sun in the office. Usually reporters like to have a read of their own paper first thing in the morning, especially if they're a reporter intested in seeing how their story was edited and the placement it was given. How much could a weekly Sun subscription be, $4 or $5? And it's tax deductible! Alma, live it a little, will you?
-- Loved McNulty's line about the incompentence of the Baltimore PD homicide detectives while pleading his case to Bunk: "Most of these guys couldn't catch the clap in a Mexican whorehouse."
-- After 25 years working at newspapers, I can tell you whenever you see the editor in chief walk in to the middle of a newsroom with his lieutenants and procede to stand on top of a desk to address the staff, it's never good news.
-- Norman knows what it takes to get a story in the paper. Not only does he give Gus a scoop on Daniels (photo above) becoming the new police commissioner but he gives Gus art to go with it as well. "I always like photos with my story." He's got a job on the layout desk if he ever retires from politics.
-- Even when McNulty's working a murder -- or a fake murder in this case -- he's on the prowl for sex. Alma was smart enough to see through his male posturing, although she doesn't realize she's still being played. "What kind of name is Alma?," he asks. "I have a boyfriend, detective." "Is he bigger than me?" All work and no play makes Jimmy a dull boy.
-- Speaking about McNulty's passion for play, flashing his badge while having sex with a blonde he met in a bar is an example of Baltimore PD's motto as McNulty would interpret it ... to protect and screw. Hell, he's not getting paid, he figures being a cop has got to be good for something.