'The Wire': The Last Edition

There's no such thing as a happy ending in this world. The wicked don't always get theirs. The good find that trying to do the right thing is, at best, a quixotic quest. There's no such thing as karma, because in David Simon's cynically humanistic view, cause and effect intersect in perverse ways. The existence of Crime does not mean there will be Punishment.

Clarke Peters, left, and Dominic West in the finale of "The Wire." (Nicole Rivelli -- HBO via Associated Press)

In other words: Yes, Marlo walks.

Scott wins the Pulitzer.

Gus is "exiled" to the copy desk.

And not all is well in the world.

There were no Clay Davis sightings last night, no moments of His Royal Corruptness stretching out the sibilant sound of his favorite expletive to musical effect. (Did you guys catch the HBO On-Demand Clay medley? Brilliant stuff.) Still, Clay's presence was felt, a sort of unseen Greek chorus -- because this is a Greek tragedy, remember? -- commenting on the action:

You think Carcetti's not above juking the crime stats, the better to seal his bid for the big house in Annapolis? (Insert Clay expletive here.) You think the muckety-mucks at the Sun will care that their golden boy Scott is a fiction writer? (Clay expletive here.) You think that Levy will be disbarred once it's revealed that he's a mendacious son-of-a-gun who's not above bribing the good officers of the court? (Triple Clay expletive.)

Here, even the good ones have a whole bunch of bones in their walk-in closets. Everyone from Carcetti to Rawls to Cedric to Rhonda knows that McNulty's homeless serial killer is a mere figment of his whiskey-soaked imagination. But to "out" Lester and McNulty is to let fly Pandora's box: Carcetti would look stupid for using the serial killings as an excuse to open a can of "whup" on the governor. Rhonda, through no fault of her own, could end up getting fired for authorizing the illegal wiretap that she didn't know was illegal. McNulty and Lester won't be prosecuted for doing their dirty deeds because everyone else would go down with them, the guilty and the innocent alike.

The result: the coverup to end all coverups. All is tainted, from the cop shop to City Hall to the Baltimore Sun to the Corner. Or, as a laughing Norman puts it: "[McNulty and Lester] manufactured an issue to get paid. We manufactured an issue to get you elected governor. Everybody's getting what they need behind some make-believe." (Reg E. -- the man's got a way with words.)

Cedric's pressured to "swallow the lie," and so he does. But he remains resolute in his determination not to cook the books, as Burrell did. Except there's the little matter of some dirty dealings he did back in the day with his wife. He could expose the City Hall coverup and let the chips fall. But he loves Rhonda, and he doesn't want to see her hurt. So he's faced with a choice: Put out or quit. He quits.

So though there are no happy endings, there are tempered ones, cautiously optimistic ones with open-ended possibilities. Prez makes a brief appearance with a new look and a new attitude. He's no longer at the mercy of his students, and maybe, just maybe, he can make a difference. Or not.

McNulty and Beadie make up, sitting on the front stoop of their house, leaning in close and watching the clouds pass across a full moon. Will they stay together? Will McNulty stay sober? It's anyone's guess. Bubbles agrees to let Mike Fletcher (the fictional counterpart of my colleague, the real Mike Fletcher) print his story and reconciles with his sister, who finally lets him out of the basement; Bubbles ends up eating at the dinner table with his sister. Will he and his sister continue to break bread together? Will Bubbles stay straight? Again, it's anyone's guess, but we hope so, we really do.

There are semi-happy endings for those who like to see the wicked get theirs. Kennard, the homicidal preteen, torturer of alley cats and slayer of Omar, gets busted. Chris does serious time with no hope of parole. (And what are we to make of his confab with Cutty in the prison yard?) Cheese, talking smack and wielding a gun, gets taken out by Slim Charles, who tells his twitching corpse, "This is for Joe." (RIP Joe.)

There are bittersweet endings for those who like to see life in shades of mottled gray. By a weird twist of fate, a homeless guy kills a couple of his vagrants, tying a ribbon around their wrists when he's done. He's a copycat killer, and he's perfectly willing to confess to whatever McNulty wants him to confess to. Rawls is perfectly willing to let McNulty hang all the "serial killings" on the homeless guy. But that's one line that McNulty won't cross.

McNulty and Lester don't get indicted. They don't get fired, either. But Rhonda makes it clear that they can't ever do real police work, either. So they quit . . . to do what? We're not sure. But after a riotous send-off at Kavanagh's Irish pub, they both make peace with the cards they've dealt themselves.

Gus fights the good fight for journalism. Gus is armed with evidence of Scott's misdeeds (Scott faked a kidnapping of a homeless guy! The cop shop called to complain!) only to be told by the managing editor, "This is getting personal between you and Scott and it's affecting your judgment."

"Maybe you win a Pulitzer with this stuff," Gus tells him. "And maybe you have to give it back."

Next thing we know, both Gus and Alma, who had his back, have been punished for whistle-blowing on Scott. All Gus (acted by the wonderful Clark Johnson, who also directed this episode) wanted to do was be a witness to amazing things, and then write about it. In case we miss the point, Simon has him making this speech to Alma against a giant quote by H.L. Mencken: "As I look back over a misspent life, I find myself more and more convinced that I had more fun doing news reporting than any other enterprise. It is really the life of the kings."

There are heartbreaking endings, inevitable endings, for those -- like me -- who know that Simon is painting pictures of what's really going down in the streets. Michael takes over the void left by Marlo by ripping off Marlo's money man. "You're just a boy," the money man tells Michael. Bam! Said money man falls to the ground, crying in pain. "And that was just a knee," Michael tells him.

And we when we last see Dukie, he's hanging with the junk man, the man we thought would be Dukie's ticket off the Corner. He's hanging with the junk man, and the junk man's horse is hanging with them, too. And Dukie's wrapping a rubber band around his arm, and he's grabbing a needle. I watched that scene over and over again, rewinding and fighting the urge to cry. Because even though I know that there's no such thing as a truly happy ending on "The Wire," in this instance, I really wanted there to be one.

And we're left to wonder who came out older but wiser:
Scott? He might have won a Pulitzer, but that showdown with McNulty in the copshop was enough to make him fly straight from now on.
Marlo? The street might still seduce, but he's not trying to do time. He'll stick with being a "businessman."
McNulty? He just barely escaped being indicted. Beadie welcomed him back with open arms. He might not be a cop any more, but he'll always have Baltimore.

We welcome your votes, your comments and your memories of the show.


Editor's Note: Teresa Wiltz discusses the "Wire" finale at 12 p.m. ET.

Teresa Wiltz  |  March 10, 2008; 8:46 AM ET The Wire
Previous: 'Celebrity Apprentice': The Hallelujah! Edition | Next: 'Jericho': At the End of His Rope


Please email us to report offensive comments.

And by "Michael takes over the void left by Marlo," of course you mean the void left by Omar.

Posted by: Jon88 | March 10, 2008 8:02 AM

Also Chris Partlow saw Weebay (Namond Brice's father and Avon Barksdale enforcer) in the yard of the prison, not Cutty

Posted by: Phife | March 10, 2008 8:16 AM

That was Wee-Bey with Chris in the pen. I had to go back and confirm. There was no way I could have accepted Cutty falling from grace, despite how harsh the show is. Hard to focus through the tears, huh? I feel you. I'm still trying to process it all. Best television show of all time. See you in the chat!

Posted by: Rhome | March 10, 2008 8:18 AM

How can you synopsize the feeling this show has evoked over the past years? The only thing that I can say is that, eventhough I will think for a long time about the "what ifs", The Wire will be one of the very, very rare programs in television history because it will always cause its fans to look differently on the world.

Posted by: Jim in FL | March 10, 2008 8:47 AM

I would have loved to know what was in that damn file on Daniels!

Posted by: Chris Moore | March 10, 2008 9:06 AM

Sheeeeeet! This is one episode that I am glad wasn't available On Demand. Seeing Dukie become the new Bubs was heartbreaking when I really hoped that either Prez or Cutty would be there to help him. Watching as Gus is relegated to the copy desk and Alma is sent to Carroll County while Scott gets his Pulitzer just speaks volumes. Levy making Herc an honorary Jew. Hoping that McNulty finds a way to keep Beadie in his life. Valchek as commissioner? Priceless.

I would have liked to see some references to Season 3 in the montage, but overall a great series finale that was well paced. Would it have been better if David Simon had another episode or two? I really don't know, but I am pleased that we did not have another Sopranos.

Posted by: Lester Burnham | March 10, 2008 9:09 AM

Though the wire is leaving, I am satisfied with the ending and open ends. I would have changed/added only a couple of things: what happened to Randy? I was very glad to see Namond on the straight and narrow and wondered about Randy's fate. (Friends have said his transformation was unbelievable, but I am a believer. He wanted to succeed, just not in selling drugs.) It would have been sooo satisfying to see the demise of Clay Davis, but I think it's more significant that he lives to scheme another day. Crooked politicians like him rarely get caught, and for this character to get caught would mean Clay was breaking the mold...get it, Clay breaking the mold... hehehe. Couldn't resist that one. Anywho, lastly I would have enjoyed seeing more of...hmm can't think of anything else. The episode/season/series was great.

Posted by: satisfied viewer | March 10, 2008 9:09 AM

Excellent work, Teresa. Your synopsis mirrored my emotions to a tee.

Posted by: Bill G | March 10, 2008 9:12 AM

I actually woke up today sad that The Wire is over. I'm sad due to the fact I've grown to love the characters, both recurring and season-specific, of this show. But I'm also sad because it leaves me with a hopeless feeling when one considers our viewing options now that the show is over. Guess I'll have to learn how to read...Thank you, David Simon.

Oh, and McNulty's "wake" truly brought a smile to my face as it was a great sendoff to one of my favorite characters.

Posted by: Matt | March 10, 2008 9:24 AM

Great finale. I would have liked to have seen Cutty in that montage though. I guess he's living a contented life, training the boxers and spending some QT w/ that nurse.

Posted by: Bug | March 10, 2008 9:32 AM

As a couple epople have mentioned it was WeeBey in the cut with Chris, not Cutty who has been out of jail for three seasons. Also, as another person also pointed out, michael becomes the stick up boy, thus filling the void left by Omar.

Every season ended with a montage so you can't feel like it was a copout. That being said, 10 episodes just wasn't enough for the newsline arc. The writers tried to do "more with less" but I feel they failed. Still seeing Chris and Bey in the cut was so hard. Bodies for Burgers.

Posted by: Timmy | March 10, 2008 9:43 AM

All in all, it was one of the best series finales I have ever seen. However, it left me so disturbed that I tossed and turned throughout the night. First, it infuriated me that Scott was rewarded for his lies, while Gus and Alma were sent to a proverbial Siberia. I have to use my imagination here and believe that Scott--and his editors--will be exposed and have to give the Pulitzer back (ala the Washington Post's Anita Cooke). And yes that was Weebay in the yard with Chris--not Cutty. I would have liked to have seen Cutty and poor Randy included in the montgage. I thoroughly enjoyed McMulty's "wake" and it seemed like a wrap party for the law enforcement side of the cast. I was heartbroken by Dookie's fate but I knew he was lying to Prez and didn't like the looks of him when he appeared at the school. Unfortunately, my worst suspicions were confirmed. Am angry that Marlo walked but am thrilled that Cheese's big mouth was his downfall. Some of us predicted that Michael would become the "new Omar." I was so hoping we were wrong. I missed Clay Davis last night, too. And I just knew that Madame President was going to make her move.

I thought the montage of B-More during the summer was brilliantly done. Very good show!

Posted by: jrobinson3 | March 10, 2008 10:12 AM

First of all I have to question the writer who was allowed by the Post to write this piece. Its like life imitating art, because you do not have your facts straight like Templeton. First of all, Chris was talking to WeeBey not Cutty in the prison yard, WeeBey was locked up in season one for taking the weight for all the bodies just like Chris did in the finale. I still don't know why Levy did not pass some of those bodies onto a dead Snoop when negotiating the deal with Ronnie but oh well. Second, Michael replaced Omar as a stick up kid since he could not go back to hustling anymore to make money. The hoodie, shotgun motif, robbing dealers that was all Omar, Michael was a street kid who still had some moral code like Omar. He did not fill Marlo's void. Have you been watching the show since season one or are you another I just hopped on Wire bandwagon in Season five who speedily read the cliff notes? Interesting that even in life, newspapers allow the Templetons of the world to exist. Get your facts straight. Yes Dukie replaced Bubbles can you see the parallels now? So long and farewell to the best show I have ever watched on television.

Posted by: Philly's Finest | March 10, 2008 10:12 AM

My bad--I missed the call. You are right--it was Wee-bey in the yard with Chris, not Cutty. And as I mourn the show's departure, I'm reminded: Part of my deep connection to the show is that I profiled Felicia "Snoop" Pearson and spent time on the set, on the final day of the shooting of the final episode. So it was weird watching last night, remembering where I was when they shot the showdown between McNulty and Scott.

Posted by: Teresa Wiltz | March 10, 2008 10:47 AM

We saw Randy interviewed mid-season by Bunk in the group home and he was clearly a changed kid who had to seriously toughen up in order to survive. My guess is that he is let onto the street at 18 without much of a support system or structure. Very sad when he and Dukie had the most potential.

Posted by: Lester Burnham | March 10, 2008 11:54 AM

I was sad not to see some sort of resolution for Clay Davis and Levy, but I was satisfied with the final episode. I will truly miss "The Wire" and I really am shocked that a large portion of mainstream America is unaware of this masterpiece of a program. I really wish they could give us a 2-hour special or movie on HBO; but I know this is fools' gold. I was happy that Lester and McNulty did not go down hard and that made viewing some of the "criminals" escaping vengeance a little less painful. Except Cheese of course, who I am sure everyone watching was happy with that result! On to Season One for my last Wire fix for a long time....

Posted by: cad1945 | March 10, 2008 12:30 PM

I guess the errors about Cutty/Wee-Bey and Omar/Marlo are an unavoidable consequence of Gus' reassignment.

As someone else posted, I guess I'll have to hit the books. Too many things would have to come together for there to be another show as good as The Wire to ever be produced. It would be foolish to wait for that to happen.

No Sopranos, no Wire...time to research some good authors, I guess. I need a drama fix and the only other thing on TV that was must-see for me is The Shield on FX, which is pretty good, but it ain't no Wire. Nothing is.

With HBO's best shows now in the archives, I'm really going to have to examine whether or not I need to keep this satellite service. I went with only network TV for about five years until around 2005. On many occasions, I've taken note of how many times I go through all those channels and there is nothing on TV. With this NetFlix subscription, I can catch up on any good TV series after the season is over. I may well elect to do that.

Man, the end of The Wire is really making me re-evaluate how much I'm willing to pay for TV. When you think about how great The Wire is, the rest of the crap on TV looks even crappier. Why in the heck should I keep paying for it?

Posted by: Back to the Books | March 10, 2008 1:11 PM

"The Wire" ended it's series in a satisfyingly triumphant way last night with most story lines tied up in plausible fashion (unlike the "Sopranos"). It was good to see most regulars landing on their feet (except for Duquan, unfortunately). The Irish wake for McNulty was a touching send-off to The Wire's most fiercely independent , doggedly honor-bound 'murder police.' Glad to see Lester showing up with his lady Shardene in tow (the wonderful Wendy Grantham from season one). Having recently revisited the first episode in season one, it was great to find Bunk reprising his memorable first episode line to McNulty (this time to Kima) "There you go giving a [bleep] when its not your turn to give a [bleep]." A fitting coda to a terrific 5 seasons of the best show on TV.

Posted by: the Wireholic | March 10, 2008 1:14 PM

I keep seeing people hoping for a Wire movie. Please people NO MOVIE! A movie for a show like this is not possible and it would have to be condensed too much. This TV show does not translate to a movie in any way. If Simon were to do anything, he should write a book that is a continuation of the series.

Posted by: Arlington | March 10, 2008 1:27 PM

Wait -- Marlowe is clearly not going to be a businessman. He left the fancy party and went to the street, felt his power again by chasing off the two punks and even laughed when he realized his arm had been slashed. He smiled as he looked around, as if to say, yeah, this is my home, for better or worse.

Otherwise I think your summary was apt.

Posted by: Monk | March 10, 2008 1:43 PM

I can only sum up the series finale in one word "Breathtaking". I was moved by the series finale of The Wire. This was an emotional rollercoaster slowly coming to an end after 5 seasons. The characters you become very familier with and look forward to every Sunday night (a week early if you have On Demand)From the timely demise of Omar (Oh so sad) to the hands of Kenard (a little boy I couldn't stand)to Snoop's unpredicted death, and ultimately the life sentence of my husband character Chris Partlow. Some deaths were deserving (Cheese) , while the physical deaths that lie ahead were sad to see (DuQuan). I will truly miss the most underated television series of all time that is by far legendary in its on likeness and accord

Posted by: Chris_wife | March 10, 2008 1:55 PM

Clearly, Marlo hasn't become a legit businessman. The streets are all he knows and he has $10M to make sure he stays out of jail.

Posted by: DC Girl | March 10, 2008 2:00 PM

What about Avon? Was he killed & I just forgot? I was expecting to see him in the finale...

Posted by: Cat | March 10, 2008 2:59 PM

This show may have lost some ratings but is still the best damn cop show i ever saw. they hit all angles in our society. this showed scared alot of people. as a cop i was impressed by how the writers and producers made the top brass and poloticians real. because if those in the general public dont get it they do now.

shame on thise who vote for emmy's you really missed this one.

Posted by: doug | March 10, 2008 3:34 PM

second that! michael is taking over the void left by omar.

And did I hear that correctly from Levy as he left the cell after talking to Marlo? Herc warned Levy about the wiretap? True?

Posted by: erc | March 10, 2008 3:49 PM

Your assertion that Michael is like Marlo is way off. Marlo is a complete sociopath with absolutely no morals whatsoever. How can you compare Michael to Marlo and not Omar?

And Marlo as a businessman? No way. He went right back to the streets and busted up that conversation the corner boys were having about the rumors surrounding the murder of Omar. Marlo is way to concerned and addicted to the drug game and was going to fight hard to clear his name.

Cutty was not in the prisonyard. Kenard did not "get busted" as you say. The low level crime fighting continued with cops targeting corner boys.

Loved the earlier comment about mistakes here attributed to Gus' reassignment.

Posted by: rob | March 10, 2008 4:20 PM

Chris does serious time with no hope of parole. (And what are we to make of his confab with Cutty in the prison yard?)

You mean Wee-bey - that wasn't Cutty in the priosn yard it was Wee-bey. Cutty has the bocing gym for the corner kids...

Posted by: Esq. In Annapolis | March 10, 2008 4:37 PM

As I consider season Five in its entirity I think The Wire was appropriaely brought to its close. The quality of the story telling tells me they simply ran out of stories to tell. We got several story lines that simply lacked the ring of truth. It is unlikely to me that three branches of city government - the police, the mayor and the states attorney would convergence to cover for homicide detectives fabracating the serial killings of the homeless men. The ramifications are far too great. Anyone remember the 39th district police scandale in Philadellphia in the mid 1990's? You would have to disclose and disclose as quickly as possible! What if a disgruntled player leaked what happened? Would you really be able to keep something like that quite in a major American city? I also think its' unlikely a major newspaper would cover up a serial liar trying to win a Pulizer. As Gus said, "you can give it back." Oh, btw, didn't the Post have to return Janet Cookes'? Or was she simply nominated? Omar's head first leap from a third floor balcony only to disappear into thin air also was not believable to me. And he walks away with maybe a broken leg? Maybe inernal injuries, maybe not? And how does Marlo's crew fail to look in the most obvious place for him? The apartment laundry room, inches from the landing point after his leap! Finally, a 12 year (preteen) with the hardness of soul to shoot a man in the back of the head...how likely is that? True we do see depraved preteens, but I think to accept that Kenard would do that shows us the absoulte worse in the human experience. I know of no cases where a preteen has killed that wontonly. Simply put, I don't think that would happen! While I belive that overall this season five failed to measure up to the previous four seasons, I give the creators of the The Wire credit for telling the story of urban America. I think to some extent it is a video version of "A Prayer For The City," which followed Ed Rendell for his two terms as mayor of Philadelphia. The Wire is a great counterpart to that book as far as telling the story of what an urban mayor has to deal with. To sum up, they ran out of stories, the ring of truth was simply not there, so it is appropriate to put The Wire to bed.

Posted by: jrr42 | March 10, 2008 4:54 PM

"(Insert Clay expletive here.)" Brilliant! Worthy of Simon, himself.

Posted by: bfulton | March 10, 2008 4:57 PM

Interestingly, no links on Romenesko on last night's show till a few minutes ago. Was disappointed that Scott Templeton didn't get caught. Gus's character was terrific: a reporter's editor, the kind that'll pick your brain and praise you only when you truly deserve it. Rare in a newsroom. Was heartbroken by the scene with Duquan, and hopeful about Bubbles. The city montage was lame and unnecessary and took momentum out from what was otherwise a really good episode.

Posted by: Margarita | March 10, 2008 5:08 PM

While I thought the finale was great the Post's assignment of Teresa Wiltz to "cover" the Wire was idiotic at best. I have followed her blogs and her latest discussion and the amount of stuff she misses is laughable. She was not aware of the parallels between Syndor going to the Judge and McNulty going to the Judge? Come on! This is just one example but I could go on. Like McNulty and more like Templeton she is a joke! For a real blog go here: http://sepinwall.blogspot.com/2008/03/wire-30-farewell-to-baltimore.html

Posted by: Wiltz is a joke | March 10, 2008 9:51 PM

Way to summarize the episode Teresa! Little insight none of it very intelligent but you can write a summary! Even if you get some of the characters names wrong it was still a hell of a summary. It reminds me of third grade when we had to read some thing and then summarize. No insight needed. Way to go Teresa!!!!

Posted by: Scott | March 10, 2008 9:59 PM

A masterpiece. From episode 1 through the final show. Doesn't get any better.

Posted by: Wire Head | March 10, 2008 11:15 PM

I was moved by this episode and the entire series. In addition, it moved my wife who tuned in for Season 4. There will never be another TV show like this one. It was perfect! The next shows will either be overly violent to the point of absurdity or just plain weak. Baltimore and the entire MD/DC/VA region was well represented - till the very end! Well Done!

Posted by: AJ | March 10, 2008 11:41 PM

Those of us lamenting the end of "The Wire" would do well to remember that it was the writing that made it so good. Check out the books of contributors David Simon, George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane, and Richard Price. I particularly commend you to the books of Pelecanos, who writes crime fiction set in the mean streets of DC.

Posted by: The Wireholic | March 11, 2008 10:58 AM

Every season has ended with a montage. That the last episode ended with one doesn't surprise in the least. I'm not sure what ham-handed editor made up the poll question but they don't know jack about The Wire.

Posted by: Matt | March 11, 2008 11:46 AM

It ended the way it was supposed to: with questions. The real world is not black and white, it is gray. You wonder what happens in the future, these are possibilities.

McNulty will be in the straight and narrow. The FBI forensics test put things in perspective. He learned that what he loves best: detective work, is killing him and everything around him, so he is leaving at the right time. He will lounge around the house with his wife, become a port authority officer or security guard and live his life with his natural and adoptive kids in peace.

Scott received validation for his efforts. He will likely move on to the Washington Post or New York Times and become a more influential "mud-racker" until his ego gets him in trouble and he ends up becoming Jason Blair and falls as a journalist and becomes a multi-millionaire selling his biography that becomes a bestseller.

Marlo dies. Marlo is no longer the king, he never really was, he ruled a Baltimore after the game changed and never truly assumed Barksdale/Bell's kingdom. Marlo made a lot of mistakes and it is only a matter of time before a new person looking to take the crown comes after him. He no longer has Chris and Snoop to put the fear of god into West Baltimore. He does not have Prop Joe to teach him how to survive the drug business without going to prison. If he is lucky he goes to prison, where he will likely be killed for killing far too many people for inmates to forget or more l likely Avon will have someone do the deed to prevent Marlo from trying to be the "authority figure" in the inside, more likely someone from the street will put him out of his misery out of revenge or simply to be the new king.

Posted by: Carlos E. Beato | March 11, 2008 12:19 PM

What I found interesting was that all the drug kingpins in B'more together couldn't come with $10 million. Guys were only sitting on a few hundred thousand. That was a fine point by Mr. Simon that I think went over people's heads.

Posted by: Through the Wire | March 11, 2008 12:31 PM

I made no attempt to fight back against the tears running down my face for Dukie.
I gave up after Michael dropped him off in front of the junk, or junkie to be more precise, man's stables in the episoode before this one. I gave up after he, already on the road to Bubsville, conned Presbo for a couple hundred.

I just gave up.

As a cat from the hood, I would've thought I would be somewhat immune to these everyday-esque tragedies. Kudos to David Simon for reminding me to never be so.

One of the greatest shows I have ever had the pleasure (and pain) to witness.

Posted by: Philly Slim | March 11, 2008 12:48 PM

Powerful show, thank you for letting many of us witness close up the real deal in our cities, not the crap we get fed by the controlled media and politicians.

Posted by: SnakeKatcher | March 11, 2008 1:22 PM

Obviously, they did come up with the needed 10 mil otherwise there would have been no sitdown with the euros.

Posted by: SnakeKatcher | March 11, 2008 1:24 PM

What kind of dumb poll question is that? Every season the Wire ends with a montage. It wasn't "six feet underish" it was "wireish".

Posted by: GotTaGetGot | March 11, 2008 1:51 PM

I can identify with all of those who lost sleep after this episode. I work with young people & it breaks my heart to see Dukie's life turn out that way. It is unfourtunate but true life in many communities around this country. Yes there are 12 year old shooters in this world. There are promising kids who become drug addicts along with numerous other tragedies.

One point Simon makes, and it is very subtle, involves Namon. The only person who could make a difference in these kids' lives was Colvin. It was only by direct involvement that one could be rescued. Each of the other students we came to know (& love) fell victim to a system that does not (& in many cases cannot) help them break this cycle of despair.

It hurts, because it is real.

Posted by: Big T | March 11, 2008 3:08 PM

I don't know how they came up with the $10M or even if they came up with all of it. Marlo likely took what they had. Plus the Greek and Vondas needed to sell their product in B'more to somebody. Who says they didn't seek out the co-op members on their own. The fact remains that before Cheese got popped they were still short even with the $900K he brought to the table.

Posted by: Through the Wire | March 11, 2008 5:29 PM

Michael is like Marlo. He's a clinical sociopath. He is filling the void left by Marlo using Omar's tactics. The circle of the ring complete. Marlo/Omar L... it's an anagram. They are connected. Two sides of the same coin. In Michael, we see the spirit of both Marlo and Omar unleashed. Michael knows Marlo is out of the game now. He takes advantage by robbing one of the old-heads. Vinson is another Butchie. Like his mentor Chris Partlow, Michael mercilessly guns down the old man and ruthlessly takes what he wants. Michael, like Marlo, wasn't meant to play the son. This new stick-up kid won't be whistling "Farmer in the Dell" and handing out drugs to fiends. He is a new breed. A generation without nostalgia.

Posted by: John K | March 11, 2008 7:03 PM

"Chris does serious time with no hope of parole. (And what are we to make of his confab with Cutty in the prison yard?)"

That's not Cutty in the prison yard with Chris, it's Weebay!

Posted by: Diane | March 11, 2008 7:15 PM

My "WIRE" Gone By, I Miss It So.

The best show on television, the best of all times.

Posted by: dino | March 11, 2008 8:04 PM

Kennard is the next Marlo. A consciousless sociopath. After a brief stint in juvi, its back to the block with a rep as the stone killer who took down Omar.

Posted by: Bodie told me | March 11, 2008 11:04 PM

All the comments are very interesting. I am a former Baltimore resident, born and raised, so this show had a very special appeal to me. I'm much older now, early 50s, so the game was much different when I came up.

Most of the boys on the street still fought with their hands as opposed to the gun being option number one. But what can you say, it's a new day. The one real point I'd like to make here is the brilliance of the cast members acting out their parts.

Most of these actors/actresses were non-descript background players in the industry. There were a couple of veteran actors in the show that I recall from other movies/TV, Commissioner Burrell, Bunk, etc. Otherwise, this series was full of brilliant casting, acting, storylines, directing and on.

HBO will have a hell of a time topping this series.

One last thing, does anyone remember from season 2 or 3 when Brother Muson was trying to run down Omar by sending his boy to Gay bars and Rawls was spotted hanging out in one of them. Of all the characters, Rawls would be the last one you would expect to have gay tendencies.

Posted by: Wayne Walker | March 12, 2008 2:13 AM

Kenard did "get busted" for murdering Omar. The subtle but definite evidence is that Det. Crutchfield is on the scene of the arrest (although it is a uniformed patrolman putting on the bracelets and leading him into the squad car.) Crutchfield is a homicide detective and more specifically one of the two investigating Omar's murder. No reason he'd be on the scene for the regular corner busts.

Posted by: Motch | March 12, 2008 4:30 AM

I have been telling people for years to watch The Wire. People look at me and are like...Yeah I think I have heard of that show. I am astonished more people have not seen this show or are die hard fans such as myself. When people tell me they have never seen an episode I always bust out the Clay Davis line...."Shyyyyyyit."

What a true and real depiction of inner city life. From city schools, to corner boys, to Mayoral elections, and police culture. I always felt this show was like a painting. It should be considered a piece of art. Something to reflect on and examine our social disfunction. Maybe Bunny Colvin had it right? Hamsterdam?

As far as the last episode...I loved it. I kept hoping it would continue and not end. I would love to see David Simon finished the story in a book.

Posted by: Christopher | March 12, 2008 6:39 AM

The final episode left me wondering whether the producers simply wanted to summarize how each character's life might possibly end. I felt that it was a rather inconclusive ending, in that the mayor and his entourage all attempt to cover up crime for which the city will ultimately have to deal with at some level. As for the all of the street characters; it was a truly an eye opening awareness to see them in action. It appears that education in the 'hood' isn't likely to take precedence when all one has to be able to do is stand on a corner and either be a look out or seller for the commodity that keeps them entrapped. The soldiers who maintain control will always be there to protect the investment of crime in the 'hood' so where's the logic in trying to convince young Black boys that education will move them away from this environment? For the people who have to live in this environment, it makes for hard choices and even disproportionate amount of energy to maintain some sense of hope in this environment that ultimately has no happy ending for many of its occupants who called this home. So the anticipation I had for watching the ending was somewhat a let down because I had hoped to see a more positive image of the characters and what they believed. The message left me wondering do all politicians make these types of deals to further their ambition and rise to greater power. In the end, who is left to feel the impact behind by their decisions, deceptions and lack of moral behavior that affects all?

Posted by: Ms. Wonderful | March 12, 2008 8:59 AM

I was disappointed that we didn't see an appearance by Avon Barksdale while in jail. Chris was feuding with Avons crew when Avon was put away... so why not have a Avon/Chris staredown in jail instead of weebay... maybe elude to the fact that Chris is gonna have to settle some differences in order to survive. Even still, It was interesting to see both Lieutenants in jail. The Wire might have ended.. but Simon did a great job showing how the streets of Baltimore keep rolling with the game, no matter what side of the law you are on

Posted by: Ryan | March 12, 2008 11:17 AM

Can anybody think of a more important piece of American media (T.V., movie, or print) in recent history?

Posted by: Matt in Bmore | March 12, 2008 11:52 AM

Outstanding blog!

Did anyone catch the argument between "the Bunk" and Greggs at the end about whose turn it was to investigate the murder scene. To me it had a striking resemblance to the argument Bunk and Mcnulty had in Episode one of Season one even quoting Bunk when he said "there ya go giving a Sh--when it ain't your turn to give a Sh--." It seemed that Greggs has filled Mcnulty's shoes as Bunk's partner.

Also, I disagree with your comments about not portraying a happy ending. Anyone from B-more knows that it was as happy of an ending that anyone could hope for. It was certainly happier than I expected.
Let me explain...Cedric seemed happy to continue his career in law. Rohnda got promoted to Judge. Carcetti got to the State House. Ralls got the M.S.P Super job. Mcnulty and Lester don't go to jail and Greggs gets forgiven for ratting them out. And through it all the streets remained the streets. Just like everyone in the co-op wanted!!!!
I will truly miss the series, It is by far the most realistic, true to life police/political/gangster (gangsta) drama ever made.
Thanks for reading my thoughts!!!
Oh and of course a big "SHIIIIIIIII.......!!!" to the creators, actors and everyone involved.

Posted by: (B)-more Ford | March 12, 2008 1:03 PM

To the poster called Phillys finest....Dude, she typed two names wrong. what the hell is wrong with you?

Posted by: Phillys biggest a$$ | March 12, 2008 1:20 PM

Great wrap up Teresa, and many excellent comments.
The Wire demonstrated what TV is capable of, which is both sad and hopeful.

I enjoyed some of the specualtion about the futures of some of the characters. Carlos, in particular, made some astute predicitions.

I'd like to offer a slightly different scenarion on McNulty however.
Carlos says he will "lounge around the house with his wife, become a port authority officer or security guard and live his life with his natural and adoptive kids in peace."

I'm willing to believe that Jimmy McNulty could straighten out with Bea's support (and probably membership in a 12 step program) but port authority or security guard? Can't see it.
My guess is McNulty will use his well developed powers of observation (and imagination) and his Irish facility for language to write crime stories, perhaps to consult on TV's next "gritty urban police drama"

Posted by: OlSloaner | March 12, 2008 2:40 PM

Can anyone explain why Levey seemed so happy with Hurc after Marlo walked. In his conversation with Marlo, Levey couldn't figure out who the "source" was for the wire tap on Marlo's phone! I thought maybe from that Levey figured it out but still commended Hurc on his efforts. That confused me. Did Levey leave marlo's cell phone number on his desk on purpose in hopes of Hurc taking it? Did I miss something? Can anyone help figure that out?????

Posted by: Hurc's Mom | March 12, 2008 2:48 PM

Several characters mistakenly identified in this mediocre recap.

The Big Message in this finale is: NOTHING CHANGES. Omar's dead, Bubs is redeemed, McNulty resigned, but Michael is the new ultra-violent Robin Hood, Duquone becomes a junkie and Freaman's young partner has seen enough to be as dogged and cynical as McNulty, even going to the same judge for some inside help! Meanwhile, govt. corruption continues, the drug trade trades on, etc., etc.

I've read a lot about The Wire's finale. This column was one of the weakest. Some good comments helped it, though.

Posted by: Scratching My Head | March 12, 2008 5:50 PM

I don't agree about Marlo's future as a "businessman", as surmised in this article. I think the scene between Marlo and the corner boys in the street clearly demonstrated that he, like Avon Barksdale, is "just a gangster". Money was never the object for him; his greatest desire was always fear and respect on the street. Though Marlo has dodged the justice system, but he will be doomed to a life of marginalization on the Baltimore streets, a life that he won't be able to uphold (resulting in death or imprisonment). It was also poignant how Marlo's conflict with the corner boys was prompted by his frustration with overhearing the boys discussing the growing legend of Omar's death. He asks "don't you know who I am?", but he seems to realize that since he has lost all of his muscle and connections, he now has nothing for anyone to fear or respect. I think there was a good deal of tragedy, not success, in how Marlo's story concluded.

Posted by: Erich | March 12, 2008 10:04 PM

Great piece but your analysis of Marlo getting "wiser" is way off. Didn't you see how he reacted when seeing the 2 kids talking about Omar? Marlo can't stand not be known - and feared on the streets and, if there wan another season, this would've been his demise. As apparent by the party he left, he is not one for the business world as Stringer Bell was.

Posted by: Boboli | March 14, 2008 12:55 AM

You must mean that Michael replaced Omar. The fact that he was ripping off other dealers with a hoodie and a double-barreled shotgun (just like Omar did in season 1), shot one of the dealers to give the others to give up the goods (just like Omar did in Season 1) and the fact that he worked with a fresh-faced accomplice (just like Omar in Season 1, Season 3 and Season 4) obviously shows that he was the new Omar. You never saw Marlo doing anything like that, just ordering people around and murdering them in cold blood when it suited him. The conflict Michael showed when killing Snoop, his strong sense of justice and the fact that he has half of the city criminals chasing him but still goes out of his way to rob them makes him a completely obvious as heir to Omar's throne. The only clear heir to Marlo was Cheese, and mercifully Slim Charles took him out before he could pose a real threat to him, a move that I'm sure Prop Joe wished he could have made before Marlo got too big. Fortunately, at least for now, there doesn't appear to be any kind of Marlo but Marlo himself, and it is interesting to imagine where he will go from here.

Posted by: michael is omar | March 16, 2008 7:01 PM

I seem to remember Marlo leaving the business gathering, returning to a corner, getting shot, getting the taste of blood and smiling. I have no reason to believe he'll be any better at business than String.

And what's a wrap without a mention of Barksdale? It's worth mentioning where Avon was left even if it wasn't in the finale.

Posted by: Marlo hates shrimp | April 18, 2008 1:23 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company