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Predicting ‘The Wire’: A Talmudic Reading of HBO's Full-Page Ad

Courtesy of HBO

The final season of The Wire starts Sunday night on HBO, and we couldn’t be more excited. But since we’ve already watched all four previous seasons twice through, how to satisfy our jones for McNutty, the Bunk, and Kima? By carefully probing the full-page ad for the series that appears in this week’s New York, of course!

In the ad, the title of the series is spelled out in newspaper clippings. But unlike many such ads, the clippings aren't written in fake gibberish text, nor do they consist entirely of "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Instead, each article is actually a piece specially written for the show, from the show's version of the Baltimore Sun — a clever nod to the fact that The Wire's fifth season is centered in the newsroom of that very paper.

"Read between the lines," the ad urges us. And so we will!

Our predictions are after the jump; all spoilers are completely coincidental.

What happened to Major Crimes?

“Weekend Violence Claims More Lives,” says the headline in the letters H and E. And there’s a picture of Kima, the Bunk, McNulty, and (we’re guessing) Lester, identified as Homicide detectives. If McNutty’s back on Homicide, Rawls must have eaten his own middle fingers.


Red-Herring Alert: Serial Killer

Someone is murdering Baltimore’s homeless, which makes us fear for dear Bubbles. But a serial killer? Seems too tacky for David Simon and we’re not going to buy it. But we’re guessing that the season premiere centers on one very bloody weekend.


Carcetti Takes Annapolis Money

When the schools faced a deficit of over $50 million last season, new Mayor Tommy Carcetti refused to take bailout money from the governor. But the T article indicates Carcetti is restoring funding to homeless shelters. Considering “Schools Budget Raises Issues” in the I and R article, Carcetti must be getting money from somewhere. Our guess is the statehouse. Wonder how long they made him wait this time? And if they're mentioning the schools, does that mean we get a little more of our beloved Prez?

Marlo Leaves Co-op, Goes Through the Ports

Marlo Stanfield was taking meetings with Spiros “Vondas” Vondopoulos last season, and the W article tells us “Revitalization Disappoints” and reports mixed results at the ports. What better way to keep the I.B.S. going than shipping drugs through the port? Vondas could ditch his partnership with Prop Joe for a more profitable, secure deal with Stanfield.

Rawls Works at a Gay Bar!

Possibly our single favorite frame of The Wire ever was a brief glimpse of hard-nosed deputy commissioner Rawls happily having a drink at a Baltimore gay bar. His sexual proclivities are hinted at only there (unless his love for the word “cocksucker” is more literal than we imagine), but the second E's article suggests that Baltimore cops can take second jobs again, so what better place for Rawls to earn some extra scratch than as a bouncer at his favorite watering hole? Lester already has a booming dollhouse-miniatures business, and Kima has been relieved of child support, but every cop could use some more cash. Oh, the pathos of Herc bagging groceries! —Aileen Gallagher