Two Faces Of The Same Coin

Welcome back folks,

Hope you’re well on your way to get all your holiday shopping done (cause God knows it ain’t about the holiday anymore…). If you got a minute, I’d like to let you in on a little (not very secretive) secret.

I like the bad guys in books and movies.

I have nothing against a good hero (as have been documented on this blog, more than once… Or twice…), but as likable, capable or strong as the on-screen good guys are, the protagonist is only as good as the antagonist makes him. Want to test this theory? Let’s look at some of the best protagonists:

  • Clarice Starling / Hannibal Lecter – How good is Jodie Foster’s character in this story? You got it. As good as Anthony Hopkins’.
  • We sure loved Jack Nicholson’s McMurphy as opposed by Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher).
  • Dr. Richard Kimble was framed and threatened by some devious men, making his flight and fight far more interesting.

We could run down the imdb database for hours here, but instead I wanted to talk about one “bad guy” in particular. Well, “bad guy” is not really doing him justice. He’d prefer “Outlaw“, or if you insist, a man living truly by his own set of rules.

Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins)

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(Image credit: http://www.breitbart.com)

I love Raylan Givens’s character. I love Timothy Oliphant’s job as the Marshal. But try to imagine this with a lesser rival than Boyd. Not only is this a match made in TV heaven, a phenomenal casting job. It is first, and foremost a well crafted character.

A villain can be extremely malicious, cruel, even psychotic. He can be a megalomaniac, demonic and a generally nefarious prick. But every once in a while, you find a villain who is not as extreme. In fact, sometimes, the better villain is someone who is just bad enough to oppose our hero but not very far at all.

The reason I love Boyd Crowder as an antagonist (again, with all credit to Walton Goggins) is that when things are said and done, he is Raylan’s childhood friend. He is a lot like Raylan in many ways (least of which is his attitude towards “norms”). He is nothing if not your normal small town Joe. Sure, he’ll go outside of the law to achieve his goals, and do some really bad things in the process. But not only does he truly believe what he does is right (my favorite kind of villain – a villain who thinks he’s not one), he always play right around the line between right and wrong. Is he hurting people? Yes. Is he looking to hurt people? No. Stay out of his way and you’ll be fine.

Put a Hero who’s all of the above, just inside the confines of law, and you have conflict, but with so much room for story development. These guys can interact in ways that others can’t (not believably anyway). You have freedom to explore developments which may put these rivals on the same side of a fight, while putting their own rivalry “on-hold”.

The amount of banter gold (see a few samples below) couldn’t have possibly be written in, unless there was a significant familiarity and shared experience (and shared partners).

Justified – one of my all time favorite TV shows – ended aptly, with these two friends doing what friends do. Sit down for a chat. There was no real need for these two to go out guns a blazing. It was never their weapon of choice anyway. Raylan might be the fastest gunslinger east of the Mississippi and Boyd was an explosive expert, but what they got, they normally did by using their deep well of words.

And on that note, allow me to end this post by sharing some of these words (credit: imdb.com):

Raylan Givens: I’m Raylan Givens!
Boyd Crowder: No, I’m Raylan Givens!
Raylan Givens: Are you trying to be funny?
Boyd Crowder: A little.

Another one:

Raylan Givens: You didn’t happen to bring your rocket launcher, did you?
Boyd Crowder: I didn’t think to pack one.

Another:

Boyd Crowder: Truth always sounds like lies to a sinner.

And another:

Boyd Crowder: Well if my survival is a happy bi-product of my selfless act, so be it.

One last time…

Raylan Givens: Well, I suppose if I allow myself to be sentimental, despite all that has occurred, there is one thing I wander back to.
Boyd Crowder: We dug coal together.
Raylan Givens: That’s right.

Boyd Crowder: We dug coal together.

If you haven’t watched Justified, too bad. Go watch it. Now.

Until next time,


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What Would Jack Bauer Do?

…I don’t have much time, work is plenty, 24 has 8 season and some change, and the weekend is only so long.

24

The following takes place between 8:29 PM and 9:29 PM

[Phone rings…]

Jack: “Bauer.”

Amy: “Hi, you’ve reached Ping networks, my name is Amy, how can I help you?”

Jack: “Amy, listen carefully because I will say this only once. I received the latest bill and it is precisely 2 dollars and 24 cents over what I was expecting.”

Amy: “I’ll be happy to help you Mr. er…”

Jack: “Bauer.”

Amy: “Mr. Bauer. I understand that you were billed more than expected?”

Jack: “2 dollars and 24 cents. Repeat 2 dollars and 24 cents.”

Amy: “I see. Well the amount you mentioned is showing up on your bill due to a purchase made through your TV, sir. It shows that on October 10th at 8:23 PM you made a purchase of 2.24 $”

Jack: “That’s impossible! I wasn’t even home on that day, I was on the Afghan border with New Zealand digging up a finger of a known terrorist which I was supposed to transfer to Chloe over at CTU Los Angeles in order to prove that the President of Bhutan was involved in an attack on US soil.”

Amy: “O… kay… that doesn’t make much sense.”

Jack: “It makes perfect sense! I saw him carry out the attack but couldn’t do anything about it because he had me hanging by my left testicle from a crane while Alligators were snapping their jaws three feet away from my face.”

Amy: “I… uh… I meant that Afghanistan doesn’t have a border with New Zealand.”

Jack: “They’d have you believe that. Listen to me very carefully now Amy, because your life might depend on it. I did not make that purchase. I suspect it might be the Bhutanese delegate to the peace talks with the Ukraine that made that purchase in order to overcharge me.”

Amy: “Why would he do that?”

Jack: “I don’t know but I’m gonna need your help Amy. Patch me over to your supervisor.”

241

[beep bop Boop Ring…]

Joe: “This is Joe, who may I have the pleasure of assisting today?”

Jack: “You don’t know me, my name is Jack Bauer and unless you do exactly as I say you may find yourself in enough pain to convince a social security officer to let you cut in line.”

Joe: “Please Jack, I’ll do whatever you say.”

Jack: “A purchase was made on my TV for precisely 2 dollars and 24 cent, I repeat…”

Joe: “No need to repeat sir I…”

Jack: “Don’t ever interrupt me again when I repeat, I repeat don’t ever interrupt me again when I repeat, do you copy?”

Joe:

Jack: “Joe! are you still there?”

Joe: “Yes sir, may I interrupt?”

Jack: “Go ahead.”

Joe: “Mr. Bauer, as a show of good faith and our hope that you’d continue to be a customer at Ping networks, I am going to remove that charge off of your recent bill sir.”

Jack: “You’re gonna do what!?”

Joe: “I’m going to…”

Jack: “I heard you the first time, that was just a trick to see if you’d repeat that information again. Now, how do I know I can trust you Joe?”

Joe: “Sir?”

Jack: “How to I know you’re not just setting me up on some trumped-up fraud charges?”

Joe: “Sir, I don’t understand…”

Jack: “You understand. I can’t let you take this charge off  of this bill. You put me in a corner here Joe and you’re going to regret ever trying to screw me, do you understand?”

Joe: “Sir, there’s no need to make threats…”

Jack: “That’s not a threat Joe, that’s a fact! I’m going to need the schematics to your facility patched over to my PDA now!”

Joe: “What for?”

Jack: “I’ll explain later, just do it!”

[beeps, pings, sounds]

Joe: “You should have it sir.”

Jack: “How did you know where to send it Joe? Are you in with the Bhutanese?”

Joe: “Sir?”

Jack: “I’ll cut you a deal Joe. Immunity for all the information you have on the Bhutanese president. Now this is your last chance. Do we have a deal?”

Joe: “Sir?”

[Call ends]

242

Joe: “Hey! Who are you? How did you get in here? and what is that smell?”

Jack: “You sent me the schematics, remember? I crawled in through the sewer system. What kind of amateur operation are you running here?”

Joe: “Why didn’t you come through the lobby though?”

Jack: “I’m not as stupid as you might think. Now give up the Bhutanese president.”

Joe: “Mpphh…”

Jack: “I’m going to release the hold just enough for you to speak, now where is the Bhutanese president?”

Joe: “I don’t know, I don’t know anything about this.”

Jack: “I don’t have time to take you to CTU and question you so I’m going to ask you this one last time?”

Joe: “You said that the last time…”

Jack [Shoots Joe’s left knee]: “That was just a warning shot, now tell me what I need to know!”

Joe: “Alright! Alright… you got me. I’m the Bhutanese president. I’ve been working for Ping networks for the last 15 months trying to go under your radar.”

Jack: “Well, your rookie mistake with the 2 dollars and 24 cents blew your cover. You really thought I wouldn’t notice?”

Bhutanese president: “Let’s make a deal Jack, I can give you something bigger. But I want immunity Jack, you hear?”

Jack: “Speak.”

Bhutanese president: “I’ll give you the Danish assassin who murdered the undercover clown. He’s working at a bakery not far from here making strudel.”

Jack: “I hate strudel.”

Bhutanese president: “Well, who doesn’t? The point is… you let me go and I’ll lead you straight to him.”

Jack: “I need to make a phone call.”

243

[dials]

Jack: “Patch me through to the president.”

President Bronson: “Yes Jack, what is it now?”

Jack: “Are we on a secure line?”

President Bronson: “Yes Jack.”

Jack: “Mr. President, I’m sorry to bother you sir but it’s a matter of national security and there are many American lives on the line. I need you to meet me at an address I will give you in a minute.”

President Bronson: “Alright, I trust you.”

[call ends]

244

[At the bakery]

Jack: “Mr. president, are you alone?”

President Bronson: “Yes, what is it this time?”

Jack: “It’s the strudel Mr. president. You’ve never had strudel as good as that one I guarantee it!”

President Bronson: “Oh Jack, you outdid yourself this time. You saved me Jack. You saved me.”

Jack: “Sir?”

President Bronson: “The first lady wanted to start a ‘Homeland’ marathon. Jack… I don’t even have HBO. That’s one call I wasn’t looking forward to make. Thank god for Jack Bauer.”

242

[Jack’s phone rings]

Jack: “Bauer!”

Chloe: “Jack, this is Chloe.”

Jack: “Are you tracing this call?”

Chloe: “No. why would I do that? Listen Jack, you’ve gone completely off topic. You started off with some bogus bill, then railed off on a tirade about the Bhutanese president. Jack, Bhutan is a monarchy.”

Jack: “So the president fooled us.”

Chloe: “He’s a king Jack. Kings rule in a monarchy.”

Jack: “Mr. president, we’re going to have to skip this strudel after all.”

President Bronson: “What do I tell the first lady?”

Jack: “Chloe are you still with us?”

Chloe: “Yes Jack, but you still don’t get it. How did you get from a surcharge of 2.24$ to strudels with President Bronson!? And your clocks are all messed up, this was supposed to be between 8:29 PM and 9:29 PM Jack.”

Jack: “Chloe, I want you to do exactly as I say. Please head directly over to the white house, Agent Piece will wait for you and sneak you in. When you’re in position, I want you to hack into Ping network database and make sure that President Bronson has HBO. Call me when you’re done.”

Chloe: “Jack, that makes no sense, He could just…”

Jack: “Just do it Chloe. Do it for me.”

Chloe: “Alright Jack.”

Jack: “Mr. president. Your strudel sir.”

President Bronson: “Hmm… that IS the best strudel I ever had Jack. But you know what that means Jack.”

Jack: “Yes sir, for the best of the country I’m going to have to disappear with as many strudels as possible and over the next 6 months I’ll keep them hidden in an underground bunker just off the border of Turkmenistan, where I will grow a beard and help a local woman with her sheep. I won’t contact Kim, as I don’t want to put her in danger of gaining weight, eating too many strudels. You have my word, sir.”

President Bronson: “Actually, I meant that we’re gonna have to bring some back for the first lady when we’re done. Not to mention Mike Novik. Can he wolf down a strudel he he he.”

Jack: “But… the American people.”

President Bronson: “Nahhh, Jack. Think about it. We don’t have enough for all of them.”

24

You can patch this through Facebook, twitter or any other social media outlets, just make sure the line is secure with a V400 CTU protocol. If you like it, Jack will know! If you want to leave a comment, go ahead, repeat – go ahead!

This is Bauer out.

A Big Ball Of Wibbly Wobbly… Time-y Wimey… Stuff

Welcome back everyone.

Been busy this past week, so you got “only” one post. Alas! If I’d have a time machine, I’d be happy to go back and add another post or two. But as it stands, I’m only human. Unlike the subject of this post – a man with no name (well, we don’t know it) or home, otherwise known as “The Doctor“.

Doctor Who?

Netflix added the latest season of this magnificent TV series a few weeks ago, and with season 9 just around the corner… Well I just had to embark on a Dr. Who marathon that spanned the full 8 seasons (We’re talking about the modern Doctor here, not the older series).

Here are some favorites of mine:

Favorite Doctor:

4. Christopher Eccleston (A.K.A The 9th Doctor)

eccleston-doctor-who-9th

It’s not about the actor. They are all good actors and I absolutely loved all of these incarnation of the doctor. It could very well be the fact that Eccleston had only one season, or scripts, but I didn’t connect as much to this doctor. On the flip side, It hooked me enough to become a fan. In any case, the doctor with the northern accent and the wild look in his eyes was a good one!

3. Matt Smith (A.K.A The 11th Doctor)

mattsmith

Again, Smith was an excellent doctor, with fabulous story arches and a unique twist. He also had two seasons and really good companions to feed off of.

2. Peter Capaldi (A.K.A The 12th Doctor)

capaldi

Capaldi just got started, but I’m loving every minute of it. A phenomenal actor and with the established rapport of the doctor’s character. Comedy? Right on the button! Drama? Did you see these brows? These are attack brows! Is there anything Capaldi cannot do? I can’t wait to see more of him.

1. David Tennant (A.K.A The 10th Doctor)

david-tennant-doctor-who-50th-anniversary

Working with multiple companions, including the unforgettable Rose Tyler, being possibly the most human-like doctor and having two great seasons to work with, Tennant, a great actor regardless of this role, is my favorite one to date, with Capaldi potentially catching up.

Favorite Companion:

5. Martha Jones (A.K.A Freema Agyeman)

martha

Here too, the issue is not with the actress. Heck, I think Agyeman is very good (check out Sense8 on Netflix). It’s about not feeling the same connection to the character as I did with some others. I guess it could be that – much like her character – she came after Rose

4. Donna Noble (A.K.A The runaway bride, A.K.A Catherine Tate)

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To be honest, I actually did not like Donna when she first showed up (“Whot? Whot? Whot???”) but she quickly remedied that by being a pretty well thought out character with a whole case of attitude and layers to her. Possibly the first companion to tell the doctor “what’s what“.

3. Clara Oswald (A.K.A The impossible girl, A.K.A Jenna Coleman)

clara

The impossible girl is impossible not to be liked. with a very wide range of character and significance to the doctor.

2. Amelia Pond (A.K.A Amy, A.K.A The girl who waited, A.K.A Karen Gillan)

amy

Amelia Pond, The girl who waited. The girl who almost caused the doctor to stay out of human kind’s business forever. What a fabulous character (and a shout-out to Rory – or “Mr. Pond“). Part of one of the most intricate story arches of the whole series. If it wasn’t for my actual favorite, Amy would be it.

1. Rose Tyler (A.K.A Billie Piper)

rose

Could it get any better than this? Seemingly, the most ordinary one of the doctor’s companions, Rose starts as a clueless blond but by the end of Season one she’d already sent herself messages throughout time and space, absorbed the time vortex, saved the doctor and the world, and by the end of the second season, we all cried as she was forced to forever part ways with the doctor. We all saw the doctor disappear before he could answer Rose, but we all know which 3 words he was saying. It all started with Rose and though other companions made cameos as well, none were as touching as hers. The one. Rose Tyler.

Best Adversary:

3. The Master (John Simm)

the-master9

A worthy opponent of the same skills, powers and wit. A mad man with a plan (or three) of preposterous magnitude. An adversary, so like the hero that it makes him almost the best adversary. Almost, because…

2. The Daleks

dalek1

If The Master was an adversary who resembled our hero to a great extent, who shared characteristics with our main man, how about the Daleks? and they’re not time lords, which puts them almost at the top of the list.

1. The Weeping Angels

Angels_in_Byzantium

Ooohhh…. Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey…. scary, unstoppable, intangible and single-minded. Capitalizing on potential life energy, can only move if you don’t look. Responsible for the death of Amy and Rory. You could argue that they actually beat the doctor. Definitely on the personal front. So do yourselves a favor and… Don’t blink! One blink and you’re dead!

Favorite Episode:

1. “Blink” Season 3, Episode 11

blink

Favorite Season:

Season 2 – Rose Tyler, fresh out of saving the doctor and the universe, David Tennant killing it as the doctor, great season finale, Aliens, Cybermen, Ghosts and some foundations for later references and plot twists.

Doctor_Who_Series_2

Favorite Season Finale:

Season 2, “Doomsday”

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What a heart breaker on the one hand, but Rose Tyler upping the ante even compared to her first season finale. Sacrificing everything. The doctor showing the most human sides to him.

Favorite Quotes:

Season 3, Episode 11 (“Blink”)

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.

Season 4, Episode 5 (“The Poison Sky”)

Are you my mummy?

Season 1, Episode 2 (“The End Of The World”)

What are you going to do – moisturize me?

Season 5, Episode 1 (“The Eleventh Hour”)

Amy Pond, there’s something you’d better understand about me ‘cause it’s important, and one day your life may depend on it: I am definitely a mad man with a box!

Season 5, Episode 12 (“The Pandorica Opens”)

Never ignore coincidence. Unless, of course, you’re busy. In which case, always ignore coincidence.

Season 8, Episode 1 (“Deep Breath”)

Who frowned me this face?

Season 8, Episode 1 (“Deep Breath”)

Oh no, that’s good! Ooh ooh it’s good. I’m Scottish. I’m Scottish. I’m Scottish. I can complain about things. I can really complain about things now. Give me your coat.

Season 8, Episode 12 (“Death In Heaven”)

I’m not a good man! And I’m not a bad man. I am not a hero and I’m definitely not a president. And no, I’m not an officer. Do you know what I am? I am… an idiot… with a box, and a screwdriver.

Well then, I could go on and on about this, but you know… wibbly wobbly, timey wimey… got to go. 
Until next time, feel free to comment, like and share. 

More TV, Doctor Who

Season 9 trailer:

Be A Party Pooper!

Welcome back one and all.

I think it’s about time we open something up for discussion. It’s a little nagging (mis)behavior that quite frankly gets on my nerve. It might be the most irritating when it manifests over the internet, but it most definitely isn’t limited to the confines of cyber space. We witness it on a daily basis on TV, in the papers and in our own water fountain chats.

rightleftIf you were paying attention to this blog this last year or so, you’d know that I do not believe in the division of population based on “Left” and “Right“. You’d likely notice that I think that’s a trap we all seem to have fallen into in our ignorance.

 

 

 

 

I participate less than ever in political debates because I came to realize that these are no longer debates at all. No. These are not conversations where we dare challenge our intellect in any way, nor is it rising above the level of pre-elections propaganda. Mostly, these so-called “debates” are regurgitation of slogans. Bad ones at that.

I used to pay extra attention to some of the more educated people and hear their observations, as they were expressed at great length in clear, stylish language. These folks know their political science, I thought. These guys didn’t just spew out the first thought that came to mind. They actually made a sincere effort to think it through.

I thought.

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But the more I listen, the more I read, the more I’m convinced that it is these intellectuals who betray us all. And many of us follow their lead. That is their biggest sin.

 

 

 

See, I don’t need a person with a phd to tell me what the party-line is. I get that from the politicians. I don’t need an artist reading slogans out loud, even if the soundtrack is magnificent. I get that from a fresh-out-of-college-political-aid-to-a-local-senator.

The role of intellectuals is different. It is to challenge conventions, to stimulate discussions beyond the norms. Otherwise, with all due respect, they are nothing but parrots with (or without) an ivy league degree.

I’d like to quote Ray Bradbury:

I hate all politics. I don’t like either political party. One should not belong to them – one should be an individual, standing in the middle. Anyone that belongs to a party stops thinking.

See, having an intellect doesn’t mean having the ability to “choose” a “side” and represent it via superb vocabulary and style. It also doesn’t mean bending all logic and reason to “prove” your “side” is right. It is definitely not ceasing any introspective process and giving up doubt. Quite the opposite.

So, what am I saying here? I guess I’m saying – Be a party pooper, not a party member. Dare to challenge conventions and norms. Refuse to participate in political argument, unless the purpose is to enrich the discussion. There is no “winning“. Even when you think your “side” prevailed, the truth is that everybody keep losing. It’s not about one “side” winning over the other. There can only be one kind of “win” – It is when we find the way to close the gaps, to come together and unite. When we – at long last – realize there is no “us” and “them”, “right” and “left”. We keep hearing the term “Think outside of the box“, but… can we actually do that?

outbox

Until next time, feel free to leave your comment, like and share.

House Of Cards – Season 3 SPOILER alert

Welcome ladies and gentlemen.

Let me spend this paragraph warning as clearly as possible, that this post contain MAJOR SPOILERS for House of cards – season 3. If you’re like me (i.e. big fan of this series) you’ve likely already binge watched this season, but for the rest of you folks – if you did not watch it – this post WILL SPOIL things for you. One more time – SPOILER alert issued.

Ok, I hope that if you’ve read so far, it is safe to talk about this season freely.

I’ve watched the British version of The house of cards before watching the first episode of the American one. I would say this – though the British version is excellent, the first 2 seasons of the American one were on par. That’s why I was both excited about and a little concerned about season three which was released by Netflix this last Friday.

Let me say this clearly. I could watch Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright for another 10 seasons and still enjoy their acting. Though President Underwood is an admittedly certifiable asshole, he’s one hell of a TV personality. The problem is not the actors. It’s a really good cast.

No, the problem is this.

The first two seasons were building up nicely to a satisfying climax. About 3/4 of the third continued on that path. Then came the last couple of episodes where a suspicion started creeping up on me that a climax was not coming. I was starting to fear a “Dexter”, if you know what I mean…

Then during the very last episode of the season I realized that we’re not going to get a Dexter type ani-climax… We are not getting a climax at all… Yes friends, looks like Netflix have seen the ratings, heard the critics and… decided not to conclude this in three seasons.

I have to say that in doing so, they kind of spoiled it a little.

I could be wrong of course. In fact I really hope I am wrong. But judging by the developments in season 3 and the end of its last episode, I really think that they wasted a really good build up.

So, expect more Spacey and Wright on your screens. I just hope that the writers will come up with something spectacular for season number 4. Because unless it’s spectacular, it would just feel like an unnecessary delay of what we all know is the inevitable. In short, season 4 would determine whether season 3 was indeed a spoiler.

That’s all for now.

What did you think of the season? Feel free to comment down here, like or share.

Bowling for Bawlmer

Hello all and welcome back. Today, a little thought I had. And at the end, perhaps it could be put to good use in writing. We shall see…
I (as was sufficiently documented on this here blog) am a binge TV viewer, as in – don’t have cables, watch everything on Netflix/Amazon etc. – and as one, I’m pretty much always on “catch up mode” with the rest of the western society. Sometimes, the catch up would be on some pretty recently finished show (as was the case with say… “Breaking Bad“) and sometimes a long overdue TV-fest (Such as “The Sopranos” or Dexter).
One TV series I watched in “real-time” (or as close as it could, being in Israel at the time) was Homicide: Life on the street. I have already crowned this one the best ever in a previous post, (though I’m almost tempted to bring in Breaking Bad in, as a late entry).
I was reminded of this one a few weeks ago, as I was binge watching “The Wire“.
Now, here comes the thought – The two best police TV dramas are based in where? New York? Los Angeles? Miami? Chicago? Nope… in little ole’ Bawlmer!
What is it about Baltimore that makes that so? What is it about those two shows that couldn’t have been done in a different – more “sexy” – location?
These two shows have some things in common and some pretty big differences. I’m not really trying to compare the two, just to see what was it about them which would likely work better in this not trivial location.
Frank Pembleton/Tim Bayliss Vs. Jimmy McNulty/Lester Freamon – I know there are other very good characters on both shows, I just used these “couples” because in a way they’re the same though different. Black/White aside, those are detectives who care about “real police work” and are willing to push the boundaries of that term to solve the crime. Homicide’s Pembleton and The Wire’s Freamon are philosophers, who “know better”. Their approach to policing is based on a well-defined thought process, at the end of which they get results. Bayliss and McNulty of course differ in – where McNulty is a veteran who’ve seen it all, Bayliss is learning to be “real murder police”. But they both show the stubbornness, if not obsessive drive to get to the truth.
Villains – In The Wire, leaving politicians aside, the villains are the drug kings of Baltimore, and there were a few. I would choose to focus on the more interesting one – Stringer Bell (Yes, Avon Barksdale was the target, but we all know who really made that empire). In Homicide, it wasn’t so much about a specific villain, but if one had to choose a significant foe, one would have to choose Luther Mahoney of course. In an ironic twist of coincidence, Erik Todd Dellums who was Mahoney in Homicide, was also Dr. Randall Frazier of The Wire. But the more interesting point is that these two villains shared some things in common. Both viewed themselves as businessmen, entrepreneurs first, and drug dealers second. Both would use violence when deemed necessary and thought nothing of it, but as backup for when the business approach failed. Both fronted in some social capacity and were literally untouchable. Both of course shot to death in a somewhat unresolved manner (in terms of law and order). A side note: The wonderful Clark Johnson also featured on both shows, as Meldrick Lewis in Homicide, and as Augustus Haynes of The Wire.
Now, thinking about the characters, the plots and the style of these shows (which is the reason I love them so much), one would have to come to the conclusion that it couldn’t have been achieved on any other location. NY and LA are just way too big for this to work. These shows required a smaller, less “shiny” location and, all due respect to the city of Baltimore, one couldn’t really find a place which answers all of the criteria required to make these shows maintain credibility. Just try to picture any of this in any big city, or a smaller one without the rep this city has. It’s hard to picture these characters even existing. It makes some of these plots completely impossible if not downright stupid.
So what is it about Baltimore? I guess it boils down to this – If you want to create a TV police  drama which gives time for a story line to evolve over a season or even two – without the distractions of a huge metropolis (many crimes, little patience) – and yet have time to bring out multiple characters at great depths, I guess Baltimore is a no-brainer.
Oh, and there’s also the fact that both shows are based on David Simon’s Homicide: A year on the killing streets 🙂
I guess the lesson for today is – locations could be of great significance for the plot to work, for characters to evolve and even give the right “atmosphere”.
So, to wrap this up for today, let me quote probably the best TV detective character of all times (Credit: Planet Claire Quotes):

Wait wait wait. That doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot of sense. What does life and homicide have to do with each other?

Frank Pembleton

Until next time,

More on “The Wire” and “Homicide”: