One of the otherwise-engaging newsroom scenes in last night’s Wire premiere stuck in our craw: David Simon's grammar lesson. Remember? The go-getting young reporter played by Michelle Paress gets chastised for writing that (paraphrasing) “the Fire Department evacuated 120 people” during a fire. “You evacuate a building. You don’t evacuate people,” Old Curmudgeon Editor grunts. Cut to Paress’s character looking in some sort of reference book, then admiringly muttering, “He’s right, you know,” to a fellow reporter. But is he really right?
Like eight of the eleven other journalists that make up the show’s core audience, we’re slightly worried that Simon’s take on a world we sort of understand (or at least understand better than the world of narcotics sales and policing) will ring false, thus undercutting our awe at the realism of the show’s first four seasons. And we took the admiring “he’s right” to indicate that the Old Curmudgeon is supposed to be one of the wise, principled characters the viewer supports against the forces of institutional dipshittery. But we're pretty sure you can evacuate a person or a group of people, and so Curmudgeon seemed like an ill-informed, bullying blowhard.