The Wire

Season 5 Episode 8


Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 24, 2008 on HBO

Episode Recap

McNulty is briefing the police brass and the Mayor about the progress of the Homeless Killer investigation at a Comstat meeting. Carcetti asks McNulty if he has any leads on the missing homeless man, Mr. Butler, and McNulty informs him that no new leads have materialized, despite diligent police work. Rawls inquires as to whether a profile has been developed and Daniels reports that he has arranged for his people to visit the FBI HQ at Quantico, and that the Bureau has been very accommodating. Rawls remarks on the strange nature of the killer's M.O.: "I mean, I'm all for a little kinky shit now and then, but chewin' on a homeless fella?" When asked by Daniels what else he needs, McNulty requests surveillance teams to track known sex offenders and suggests Sgt. Carver be detailed to Homicide to coordinate them, explaining that he chose Carver over someone more local to the areas in which the murders occurred because he had worked with him in the past and Carver was familiar with surveillance tactics. He also tells Daniels that he needs good undercover cars for the surveillance but that he has had trouble getting them. Rawls begins to explain that it will be difficult to find cars, but Carcetti interrupts, saying that he will give the Department anything it needs and telling McNulty to "go to Avis if you have to, Hertz", before hurriedly leaving the meeting.

Walking down the street kicking a can, Dukie stops at a Foot Locker- sporting goods store to ask about a job. Poot Carr, the salesman there, informs him that the manager won't hire anyone under 17. As Dukie turns to leave, Poot recognizes him as someone who used to run with Namond Brice. After briefly reminiscing about his days as a corner boy before he got tired of the game, Poot gives Dukie a questionable bit of advice: " I guess you need to bang a while longer, then come back and see if we got something".

McNulty meets with a wary Carver to ask him to lead the surveillance detail. Carver, fearing that this is "some fucked up, McNulty shit" tells McNulty that he does not want to get himself or any of his people burned. McNulty reveals that he is diverting resources assigned to the homeless murders investigation to assist Freamon in the Stanfield case. When the perceptive Carver guesses that Lester has a wire up on Marlo, McNulty denies it, even though he knows Carver is correct. McNulty sweetens the deal by offering to handle all of the paperwork and promising to supply rental cars. Carver finally accepts the position, with a pleased smile at the prospect of doing real police work again.

Later, Carver meets with his newly assembled surveillance teams. They are initially surprised when he informs them that they won't be exclusively assigned to the Homeless Killer case (they will also be helping the Major Crimes Unit with a drug investigation), but they are pleased to learn that unlimited overtime is available, and delighted when Carver gives them the keys to the "rented wheels on the back lot".

Carcetti and his Chief of Staff, Steintorf, are meeting with the budget advisor to discuss ways of returning the police department to full funding so they can reduce crime stats and catch the Homeless Killer, making Carcetti look good for his upcoming bid for Governor. They decide to cut back on snow removal and public works fleet maintenance, but to avoid cutting school funding any further, since that will make Carcetti politically vulnerable. When the advisor remarks that Carcetti is gaining political traction with "this homeless thing", Carcetti proudly outlines his plans to address a candlelight vigil for the homeless on the steps of City Hall the next night.

Norman walks in to deliver some bad news: a Prince George's (PG) County politician named Dobey is planning to take Carcetti on in the Democratic Primary for Governor. Even worse, Congressman Upshaw has hinted that he may throw his support to Dobey because Carcetti is seen to have snubbed the black constituency when he visited PG County the previous month to drum up support, but failed to visit Upshaw or any other black leaders. Carcetti: "Fuck! I gotta kiss a ring, don't I?" Norman: "More than a ring, actually."

Gus Haynes, Jeff Price and Bill Zorzi are smoking on the loading dock of The Baltimore Sun, discussing Scott Templeton's series of stories on the Homeless Killer. Zorzi asks Haynes if he thinks the paper is "hyping this thing" or if he believes Templeton is telling the truth in his pieces. Gus replies, "The police say it's real." When Zorzi predicts that they will now be writing about the homeless until December, Price asks what he means. Gus explains that Pulitzer Prize submissions are accepted on a calendar year, so the paper will now remain focused on the homeless until the end of the year in hopes that their body of work will secure a nomination.

As Haynes returns to the office, Jay Spry stops him to relay a message from the reception desk � someone is in the lobby demanding to discuss Templeton's story about the homeless Iraq War veteran with one of the editors who worked on the piece. When Gus suggests that the man meet with Templeton, Jay explains that the man said that Templeton has stopped accepting his calls. With a sigh, Gus heads downstairs to meet the visitor.

Michael meets up with Chris and Snoop to tell them about his close call with Omar. He expresses his relief that Omar didn't recognize him from the ambush at Monk's apartment and reports that Omar is limping badly and using a crutch. He tells them of Omar's claim that he killed Savino and of his threat to kill more of Marlo's muscle if he doesn't answer Omar's challenge and face him on the streets. When Michael begins to question Marlo's lack of response to Omar's brazen challenges, he draws Snoop's ire: Michael: "If I was Marlo�" Snoop: "Motherfucker, you ain't!"

Officers Truck and Dozerman have stopped for a snack, when a limping and disheveled Omar approaches them. He describes two drug dealers on a nearby corner and informs the cops where they can find the thugs' weapons. As the officers arrest the dealers, Omar approaches the corner through a back alley, passing Kenard and a group of other children who are dousing a stray cat with lighter fluid and preparing to torture it. When Omar's presence is announced, all of the kids run away in fear, except for Kenard. With the muscle out of the way, Omar chases the remaining dealers off of the corner and throws their ground stash down a storm drain. Walking down the block to the stash house, he demands the rest of the stash, banging on the boarded-up window and threatening to start shooting. When the frightened crew surrenders it, Omar throws it down the drain too, calling Marlo a "straight-up punk", and continuing to bellow his challenge for Stanfield to meet him on the streets.

Omar later walks into a corner store and orders his usual soft-pack of Newports. While he is waiting at the counter, the door opens, signaled by a bell hanging on it. Omar turns to look, casually notes that it is Kenard entering the store, and turns back to the counter window. As he is about to order something else, a shot rings out and Omar falls, shot in the back of the head and killed by Kenard, who is holding the gun with a stunned look on his face. As the Korean woman at the counter screams, Kenard first points the gun at her, then lowers it. He approaches Omar's body and pokes him to confirm that he is dead, then drops the gun and flees the scene.

On the fifth floor of the Police HQ, in the Homicide office, McNulty is on the phone with Freamon, discussing the new recruits assigned to the Major Crimes Unit. Bunk reluctantly approaches McNulty with a lab-processing request to sign, and McNulty silently gloats at this development. Kima approaches and tells McNulty they need to get on the road to Quantico to meet with the FBI profiling team. McNulty is dismissive of the process, but tells Greggs that they will follow through with the meeting just so they can report that they have done so.

Bunk personally delivers the DNA-comparison request to Lowenthal at the crime lab, insisting that his investigation is now tied in with the "serial killer thing", and demanding quick results.

In the lobby of The Sun, Gus discovers that the visitor is Terry Hanning, the homeless veteran profiled in Templeton's story. Hanning is upset and refuses to shake Gus' hand, calling him a liar. Haynes arranges a meeting between himself, Hanning and Templeton where Hanning angrily accuses Templeton of making up the part of his article that details Hanning's unit being in a firefight. Templeton insists that his notes of the conversation with Hanning support the story as he wrote it, but even after continued interrogation by Gus (including pointed questions about Hanning's alcohol consumption), the vet insists that he did not embellish the story he told to Templeton with the addition of the firefight incident. In a last tense confrontation with Templeton, Hanning expresses concern that one of his Marine brothers who were there at Fallujah will read the doctored account and be offended. Outside the room Haynes tells an incredulous and dismayed Templeton that he will fully investigate Hanning's complaint and print a correction if the details of the story don't stand up to scrutiny.

Driving to Quantico, Greggs and McNulty discuss their failed relationships with Cheryl and Beadie, respectively, acknowledging that their "doggish" ways were responsible for each of their relationships' failure. Kima shares with McNulty that she has developed a strong bond with her son, Elijah.

Bunk arrives at the scene of the Omar Little shooting, where a crowd of spectators has gathered outside the store. Detectives Norris and Crutchfield, the responding officers, brief him: The storeowner stated that a short boy with a big gun shot Omar. Young hoppers then descended on Omar's body and raided it for souvenirs, including his shotgun and his pistol. Bunk notices a piece of paper on Omar's person and picks it up to examine it. On it is a list of Stanfield soldiers, including Savino, whose name is crossed out. Bunk addresses Omar's body curtly: "Back on the hunt, were you?"

Scouring the streets in search of Omar, Chris and Snoop receive a coded telephone message from Marlo to meet him. At the meeting, Marlo informs the crestfallen pair that Omar is "bagged up", shot dead by an as-yet unidentified young hopper. The jubilant Marlo reminds Chris of their previous plans to go to Atlantic City to celebrate Omar's death.

Lester intercepts the cryptic message (a picture of a clock face) Marlo sent to Chris. He calls Sydnor to check the status of the surveillance teams and Sydnor reports that they are still setting up. Sydnor, with his team assembled, displays impressive command skills as he briefs them and assigns them to tail the various members of the Stanfield crew.

At the meeting with the FBI profilers, Greggs and McNulty are introduced to the unit's pompous, name-dropping deputy director Arthur Toland, who brags about the books he has written, his talk-show appearances and his work on prominent cases and television series like CSI. The detectives are unimpressed, and Toland leaves, his ego deflated.

The agents lay out their profile of the suspect:

A white male in his late 20s to late 30s who is not a college graduate but feels superior to those with advanced education. Is likely employed in a bureaucratic entity, possibly civil service or quasi public service, from which he feels alienated.

Has a problem with authority and a deep-seated resentment for those whom he feels have impeded his progress professionally.

Possibly sexually inhibited; the sexual nature of the killings is thought to be a secondary motivation, and the lack of DNA or saliva in the bite marks suggests possible post mortem staging.

The suspect is described as having trouble with lasting relationships and is possibly a high functioning alcoholic, with alcohol being used as a trigger in the commission of the crimes.

The suspect's apparent resentment of the homeless may indicate a previous personal relationship with a homeless person or the targeting may simply be an opportunity for the killer to assert his superiority and intellectual prowess.

As they leave, Greggs asks McNulty what he thinks of the profile (which he is uncomfortably aware is a spot-on description of him), and he responds sarcastically that it is "in the ballpark".

Haynes compliments Mike Fletcher on the "sense of place" he evokes in a piece he wrote about homelessness in the city. Fletcher talks about Bubbles, his source for some of the details in the story, and states that Bubbles would be make a good subject for a profile. Gus encourages him to spend time with Bubbles and develop the piece. Alma Gutierrez arrives with a couple of late breaking police reports � a 34-year-old black male (Omar) was gunned down in a grocery store and a row house fire has killed two people. Due to a lack of space in the Metro Digest, Gus instructs her to omit the shooting and write up the house fire�Omar's demise will go unheralded.

Carcetti and Wilson make the journey to PG County and meet with Congressman Upshaw. Carcetti promises to do whatever he can to win back his support and plays on their mutual dislike of the incumbent Republican Governor, asking Upshaw to help the Democrats present a stronger, united front. Upshaw seems amenable, but warns Carcetti that it's going to cost him if he wants to win back his endorsement.

McNulty returns home to a strangely empty house. He finds a note on the table from Beadie that reads, "Jimmy, one possible future. Be back tomorrow or the next day. Or not. Think about it." McNulty looks surprised and dismayed.

Bunk, summoned by Lowenthal, returns to the police lab to find that the DNA comparison he requested matches Chris Partlow to DNA found on Devar's body. Bunk's elation is tempered by an admonition from Lowenthal, who has figured out that Bunk's case is not connected to the homeless killing, and who chides Bunk, warning him not to deceive him again.

Lester meets with the Maryland Deputy US District Attorney. Freamon presents the evidence file from the Clay Davis investigation, hoping that the feds will take the case now, since City Prosecutor Bond failed to convict Davis. The DA belligerently refuses: "Now, after you city sons of bitches have managed, in a single week, to transform Clay-fucking Davis into Martin Luther King Jr.-you NOW come to me with this?" FBI agents Reese and Fitzhugh, who are also in the meeting, seem embarrassed and surprised at the fury of the outburst. Freamon leaves, chagrined and empty-handed.

Back at the Homicide office, Bunk tells McNulty about Omar's death and shares Omar's hit list with him, citing his gratitude for McNulty's help in expediting the lab results. When Bunk announces that he is about to seek an arrest warrant for Partlow, McNulty begs him to hold off to give him and Lester time to finish making their case against Marlo. Bunk reluctantly agrees to do so, but can't resist rubbing McNulty's face in the fact that he got the goods on Partlow by means of, "No shuckin', no jivin', just good ol' police work. How about that, Jimmy?" After Bunk exits, McNulty is approached by Ray Barlow, who asks him to sign off for a hotel room and rental car so Barlow can check out a lead in South Carolina that he says is related to the local shooting of a transvestite. When McNulty takes a look at the out-of-town case and refuses the request based on glaring differences in the circumstances of the two cases, Barlow admits that the real reason for the trip is a golf outing with his brother-in-law at a dream course in Hilton Head. He threatens to expose McNulty's shady allocations of the detail money if he does not grant the request, so McNulty unwillingly gives in.

Back in the Major Crimes Unit office, Lester intercepts another picture message from Marlo with a clock face showing 10:55:34. He calls Sydnor to see which of their subjects is on the move, and the two determine that Monk and Marlo are about to meet on the West Side. A surveillance team heads to the location. They are observing the meeting when Lester intercepts a message coming into Marlo's phone, a clock face reading 4:40:35. Since none of the other subjects are moving or using their cell phones, Lester deduces that there is someone else on the network that they don't know yet.

Continuing his fruitless job search, Dukie encounters a junk man, or Arabber, struggling to lift a refrigerator onto his horse-drawn junk cart. When Dukie helps him, the man offers to pay him ten dollars if he works the rest of the day. At the end of the day, the Arabber drops Dukie off at Bug's school, and Bug looks on proudly as Dukie hops off the horse cart. The Arabber offers more work the next day and instructs Dukie to meet him at the stables on Bruce Street before 9 a.m.

Carcetti meets in his office with Nerese Campbell and Clay Davis to enlist their support in the effort to neutralize the threat from Dobey. They seem agreeable, but again it's going to cost Carcetti: Nerese demands Carcetti's endorsement to replace him as Mayor while Davis asks for three seats on the liquor board. When Carcetti makes a counter-offer of one seat, Davis offers to raise funds for Carcetti in exchange for a second seat. Carcetti agrees, remarking that he is afraid of the damage that Davis can do with two seats on the liquor board.

As McNulty prepares to go home he sees Kima coming in with a stack of paperwork. She announces that she is going to spend the evening re-working the serial killer case for new leads. Guilt-ridden, McNulty pulls Greggs into an interview room and confesses that he cooked up the Homeless Killer ruse, so she need not waste her time. A horrified and incredulous Greggs tries to tell McNulty he cannot carry on with his plan but he tries to sell her on the viability of his scheme, even offering her resources for her other cases.

As Freamon intercepts another clock-face message reading 5:15:35, McNulty walks in to inform Lester about Bunk's warrant on Partlow and about Omar's death. He shares Omar's hit list with Lester, who determines after seeing Cheese Wagstaff's name on the list that he is now a part of Marlo's crew. McNulty also reveals that he has come clean to Kima about the Homeless Killer scam. Lester is upset that yet another person is now in on the deception.

Sydnor has lost sight of Marlo, who he was trailing. He calls in to the members of the surveillance team to check the locations of the other subjects. When Snoop is reported in a location that he doesn't recognizes, Sydnor resorts to a map atlas to find it. In doing so, he stumbles onto the secret of the clock code: The meeting location corresponds to the clock hands. The second hand indicates the atlas page, the hour hand indicates the longitude and the minute hand indicates the latitude.

Carcetti gives an emotional speech at the vigil for the homeless. He returns home and excitedly reviews a replay of his performance on television with his wife, who asks about his activities during the day. Engrossed in watching his speech, Carcetti fails to take note of her growing disappointment as he details the compromises he has made to further his ambition, particularly his promise to split federal funding for schools and crime with Upshaw. He answers her concerns with a weak rationalization.

Lester confronts Clay Davis at a bar, where he has followed him. He threatens to haul Davis in front of a federal jury to retry him on the fraudulent loan application (even though he knows this will not happens since the DA refused to take the case). An obviously shaken Davis asks what Lester wants in return for sitting on the case, assuming he wants money. Freamon surprises him by telling him that he will return in a couple of nights with questions- and that Davis had better have answers.

Gus Haynes calls Metro Desk Editor Steven Luxenberg over to his desk to inform him "before the fireworks start" that he is spiking Templeton's lead story from the homeless vigil because he is uncomfortable about a quote from an unnamed source in the article. He asks Luxenberg if he will back his decision, and Steve agrees to do so. Gus calls Templeton over and explains his reason for striking the story. Templeton tries to defend the story, citing the quality of the quote, but Gus stands his ground, explaining "We have a standard here that we follow, and I'm gonna follow it". Templeton loses his temper and walks away, spitting at Gus, "To hell with you if you think I made it up." Returning to his desk, Templeton throws a fit, which draws Managing Editor Klebanow's attention. He talks with the agitated Templeton, and then approaches Gus to question his decision and suggest that he discuss it before he takes action. Haynes firmly explains that he has already discussed it with Luxenberg. He re-states that he is following the paper's own sourcing policy, and pointedly suggests that if Klebanow wants to go another way, he can pull the story back and re-edit it himself. Grabbing his jacket, Haynes strides purposefully out of the newsroom, bidding him goodnight.

Beadie returns home with her kids to find McNulty sitting on the front steps, waiting for her. She sends the children to bed, and McNulty asks where she has been. Her angry reply stings him: "That's none of your business, really, Jimmy. Next time I'm not going anywhere. The next time you're going to be out on your ass, because that is my fucking house!" She continues, warning McNulty that his family and friends are the only people who will remember him when he is gone, not his barfly buddies or even his fellow cops. When he comes clean to her about the serial killer scam, she becomes even angrier and leaves in the middle of his attempt to justify and explain his actions to her.

Sydnor is at the Major Crimes Unit office explaining to Lester what he has figured out so far about the clock code. He wonders how the crews know what time to meet since the code only gives the location of the meet, not the time. Freamon deduces that the Stanfield crew has an understanding that the meetings will occur within an hour of the coded message, since the meeting locations are all within a half-hour of each other. He also connects a previous message that he intercepted, but that none of their other subjects responded to as being meant for East Side kingpin Cheese, meaning that Marlo has the drug trade for the entire city sewn up. At this point, an angry Kima bursts into the room. Quickly surveying the wire setup, she rips Sydnor and Freamon for cooperating with McNulty's plan, and lets them know she is not okay with it at all before leaving in a huff.

Omar's corpse is at the morgue being processed by the medical examiners. One of the staff notices, when unzipping body bags, that a tag, which lists Omar Little as an AAM (African American Male), has been put on the wrong body bag, one that contains an older white man, and vice-versa. With a bemused smile, he switches the tags, correcting the error. He zips up the body bags again.

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