The Wire More With Less Recap Season 5 Episode 1 – What better way to open Season 5 of “The Wire” than to have laid back Bunk Moreland calmly dishing the facts to a young law violator who thinks he’s smart?
The Wire More With Less Recap Season 5 Episode 1
Dumb and Dumber
Moreland’s playing the perp with the oldest trick in the cop repertoire. You get one suspect in a room with one officer, his cohort in another room with another cop while telling your guy that his partner had ratted him out. To further prove the point, the partner in crime is paraded before the other suspect with French fries, a milk shake, and some quarter pounders. When the guy folds, the cops are laughing about it. Detective Morris explains it this way: “Americans are stupid people by and large. We believe whatever we’re told.” No one’s ever accused “The Wire” of mincing words.
Dozerman and McNulty meanwhile are on surveillance, frustrated by two things. Slick drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield and his thugged out female sidekick Snoop Pearson are too smart to be caught out into the open. Marlo and his friends know where the surveillance teams are located and move to out-of-the-way places for important meetups and trade.
The other source of frustration is mentioned first by Dozerman who says “This wouldn’t be so bad if we were being paid.” The scene introduces another major theme in Episode 1. In previous episodes, the dock workers on the Baltimore Piers were suffering from the economy and political chicanery. This time it’s the Baltimore police.
The Check is in the Mail
Baltimore city budgets are strapped. The mayor’s up for reelection and figures his best chance is to starve the police budget in favor of the city schools budget. His political flaks are touting a fractional increase in student testing scores, while the city is awash with drug crime.
The police department is understaffed and instead of new hiring the police are being asked to work overtime. Overtime may add to the bottom line for many police officers but only if they’re getting paid. The Baltimore Police Department is paying overtime with IOUs and morale is in the tank.
Sergeant-in-charge has to put down an open rebellion among the officers at the start of another day of policing. Sgt. Carver is a cop’s cop however, and goes to Major Mello to plead for his troops. When McNulty and the other cops can hardly find a car that works, you now the situation is dire.
The Top Brass
Later on the episode, we get to listen in on a meeting of Baltimore’s top brass. Mayor Tommy Carcetti asks Police Commissioner Burrell if he can make further budget cuts.
Typical of many big city politicos more concerned with image than doing what needs to be done, the mayor wants to draw attention away from a series of homeless murders. He’s also desperate to show a double digit decline in the crime rate only to be told that crime was on the increase. “For God’s sake, you gotta’ be able to show us some kind of reduction. I campaigned on that,” bubbles Mayor Carcetti, which reveals the kind of joke that many politicians are.
The ugly facts of a crime-ridden city are hidden behind a curtain of political chicanery. Once again, the mayor promises pay raises for the cops “next year.” The mayor’s chief of staff, Michael Steintorf is slithery too, worming his way into the conversation by asking the police commissioner “Where else can you guys trim?” Rawls kisses up to the mayor and his cronies, suggesting they can suspend the murder investigations.
After Rawls and Burrell leave the meeting the truth comes out in the blunt reckoning the mayor’s aide Norman Wilson. Facts are that Mayor Carcetti puts his ambitions to become governor before anything else that needs doing. Reg Cathey plays the sober-minded Norman Wilson character, telling the politico that he’ll never become governor if the crime rate continues to go up. “He’ll never become governor anyway, just a weak-assed mayor of a broke-assed city.”
News, Weather, and Sports
The police department isn’t the only institution hurt by an economic downturn. Behind the Baltimore Sun’s newspaper plant’s loading dock, middle management is grousing about impending budget cuts, buyouts, and layoffs. The once global newspaper has closed its foreign offices.
The dismal economic future splits the newsrooms into old-guard and “twenty-somethings” as nobody knows where the axes will fall. How this plays into the large plot is a matter of how much people want to know about the world they live in. Does the suburban middle class want to hear about fires burning or homeless murders in the troubled inner city neighborhoods?
There’s a lot of tragi-comedic humor injected into the mix, and City Editor Gus Haynes is at the center of it. In this era of “fake news,” the retired series still looks fresh. You can see how the news is not only reported, but how it is cooked, influenced, compiled, and sometimes ignored.
One of the unique things about “The Wire,” is the way it takes on the tangle of interlocking political, social, and economic interests represented by the mayoral clique, the state of Maryland, the drug empire, and the law enforcement authorities.
At a summit of big city drug dealers, Prop Joe and the others confer on how to handle city development deals.
At the same time the mayor is meeting with a state’s attorney trying to fix political damage incurred by the city government’s collusion with a politician who takes bribes. The newspaper does what it can in the way of responsible journalism but the efforts are not always noble. The police are corruptible too, a corruption that can be accelerated since ‘ a fish rots from the head down.
Whereas other series of its type can only manage one of these entities separately – police, governmental bodies, media, and criminal organization – this first episode put all the elements of a big city into an amazingly coherent episode. “The Wire” is fictional, but as I look at the activity and headlines in the city where I live, this episode looks awfully and horrifyingly real.
Other episodes of The Wire reviewed on TV Eskimo:
The Wire More with Less Recap Season 5 Episode 1 characters and cast include:
Jimmy McNulty – Dominic West (Chicago, The Affair, Money Monster, Burton and Taylor, The Hour, John Carter, 28 Days, 300)
Tommy Carcetti – Aidan Gillen (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Game of Thrones, Quantum Break, Calvary, Blitz, The Dark Knight Rises)
Proposition Joe – Robert F. Chew (Something the Lord Made, Jamesy Boy, Homicide: Life on the Street)
Rawls – John Doman (Gotham, The Affair, Person of Interest, House of Cards, Damages, Borgia, Blue Valentine)
Norman Wilson – Reg E. Cathey (The Mask, American Psycho, The Machinist, Seven, Outcast, House of Cards, Banshee)
Bunk Moreland – Wendell Pierce (Parker, Ray, The Gift, Suits, Ray Donovan, Treme)
Cedric Daniels – Lance Reddick (Fringe, John Wick, Bosch, White House Down, Lost)
Duquan ‘Dukie’ Weems – Jermaine Crawford (DC Noir, Damsels in Distress, Twelve, An American Affair)
Kima Greggs – Sonja Sohn (Bringing Out the Dead, Shaft, Slam, Luke Cage, The Originals, Domain)
Herc – Domenick Lombardozzi (Frank and Ava, Rosewood, Bridge of Spies, Boardwalk Empire, God’s Pocket, Breakout Kings, Public Enemies, Phone Booth)
Michael Lee – Tristan Mack Wilds (90210, Half Nelson, Red Tails, Shots Fired)
Gus Haynes – Clark Johnson (Alpha House, Magnum Opus, The Shield, Homicide: Life of the Street)
Rhonda Pearlman – Deirdre Lovejoy (The Blacklist, Bones, American Gothic, Beauty Mark)
Scott Templeton – Tom McCarthy (Win Win, The Station Agent, Spotlight, The Lovely Bones, Boston Public, Michael Clayton, Duplicity)
Marlo – Jamie Hector (Bosch, Max Payne, Queen of the South, The Strain, Quarry, Power, Person of Interest)
Lester Freamon – Clarke Peters (Notting Hill, London Spy, John Wick, Chance, The Tunnel, Jessica Jones, Show Me a Hero, Midsomer Murders, Treme, People of Earth)
Sgt. Carver – Seth Gilliam (Starship Troopers, The Walking Dead, Still Alice, Nurse Jackie, Teen Wolf, Change in the Air)
Burrell – Frankie Faison (The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Luke Cage, Banshee, The Thomas Crown Affair, Red Dragon, My Other House, The Good Fight)
Cheese – Method Man (The Deuce, Rebel, Blue Bloods, Keanu, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation)
Bubbles – Andre Royo (Empire, Hand of God, Fringe, Prime Suspect, In Security, The Spectacular Now)
Off. Anthony Colicchio – Benjamin Busch (Bright, Generation Kill, The West Wing)
Dozerman – Rick Otto (Bosch, Red Tails, Trouble Sleeping)
Omar Little – Michael Kenneth Williams (Hap and Leonard, The Night Of, Ghostbusters, Boardwalk Empire, Inherent Vice, Kill the Messenger, RoboCop, 12 Years a Slave)
Sgt. Jay Landsman – Delaney Williams (Law & Order: SVU, Blue Bloods, The Punisher)
Michael Steintorf – Neal Huff (Spotlight, Moonrise Kingdom, Big Daddy, The Mist, Billions, The Affair, The Wannabe, Show Me a Hero, Fringe, The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Chris Partlow – Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Taking of Pelham 123, Mercy Home, The Savages, Edge of Darkness, The Deuce, Home, Nurse Jackie)
Snoop – Felicia Pearson
Clay Davis – Isiah Whitlock Jr. (The Mist, Cars 3, Atlanta, Chi-Raq, Veep, Rubicon, Cedar Rapids)
Slim Charles – Anwar Glover (Jamesy Boy, 12 Years a Slave, LUV, The Deuce)
Maurice ‘Maury’ Levy – Michael Kostroff (The Blacklist, The Good Wife, The Deuce, Molly’s Game, The Wizard of Lies, Banshee, Show Me A Hero, Damages)
Alma Gutierrez – Michelle Paress
Beatrice ‘Beadie’ Russell – Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone, Win Win, Birdman, Escape Plan, Bridge of Spies, The Office, Changeling, Dan in Real Life, Capote)
Nerese Campbell – Marlyne Barrett (Heist, Chicago P.D., Kings, American Crime, Damages, Chicago Med)
Thomas Klebanow – David Costabile (Breaking Bad, Billions, The Post, Suits, Damages, Flight of the Conchords)
James Whiting III – Sam Freed (Coneheads, American Gangster, House of Cards)
Rupert Bond – Dion Graham (Madame Secretary, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Malcolm X, Third Watch)
Bubbles’ Sister – Eisa Davis (House of Cards, Blindspot, Hart of Dixie, Law & Order, Soul Food)