Episode 10: Wire Blog

Two of the season’s main plot-lines – Cutty’s attempt to move further on to his new life as Dennis Wise, and the endangerment of “Hamsterdam” – are both put to the test, and moderately resolved in Episode 3.10 of The Wire.

With the fresh completion of his gym, Cutty attempts to bring youth in from the street.  When the youth show signs of resentment to his organized activity, he reverts to the street mentality and exerts himself as being more “tough”.  The youth’s response to this minor confrontation is to depart, thus again leaving him alone in the gym.  The gym is very Aristotelian in nature as he constructs it both to help himself by doing something with his time in a productive manner, while also helping them to do the same with a more organized, secure upbringing; he is willing them good.  The gym, although not as aesthetically appealing as the one Cutty visits for advice mid-episode, unifies success for both Cutty and the youth.

Ironically, the potential for the youth attending the gym would be through instruction in violence.  One might initially argue that teaching them to box is not better, as they may transfer that skill to the street.  However, boxing is significantly better for them in two respects; boxing under supervision of an adult with their best interest in mind is much safer than the threat of unorganized gang violence (and shootings), and boxing represents a more organized method of combat.  Boxing is combat in a controlled environment wherein there are enforceable rules.  Even the instilment of regulations initiates respect beyond the “no shooting on Sunday morning” rule – which is also neglected.

Colvin also demonstrates a high level of respect for his officer’s by supporting them in his meeting with Commissioner Burrell.  Telling them that they could not punish any of his officers puts him in a further difficult position.  In doing so, he respects the good intention showed by Carver in moving the body of the deceased man out of Hamsterdam.  While clearly a poor choice in that the investigation of the murder would be altered, Carver’s act is a demonstration of his dedication and defence of Colvin.

It is fitting that both Carver and Coleman make controversial decisions toward the benefit of a greater ideal.  Hamsterdam is the experimental acknowledgment that the drugs will be sold regardless of whether it is permitted or not and thus if better controlled and confined there will be less violence, crime, and destruction to the community; it’s immediate problem is that there is nothing being done to prevent the buying and selling of an illegal drug – this greatly defies the “letter of the law”.  Similarly, Carver denies the governing system’s standard analysis of a murder in supporting his leader.  It is logical that Colvin tells him that he will take responsibility for moving the body, as well as putting his neck on the line to prevent Carver from being punished as he began the series of events, and Carver was faithfully following him.

However, while the truth of Hamsterdam is finally learned by Colvin’s superiors, by the end of the episode its effectiveness does seem to be at least in the beginning stages of being recognized.  Burrell certainly is not pleased, but does not immediately fire Colvin.  The mayor also demonstrates a mild interest in the experiment.  Colvin’s 14% decrease in crime mirrors Cutty’s gym attempts of not trying to extinguish violence (for the time being) but to control it and form it into a more advantageous way for the problem to exist.

Tom C.


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