''The Wire'' recap: A cop breaks ranks | EW.com

TV Recaps | The Wire

''The Wire'' recap: A cop breaks ranks

Carver breaks ranks and writes up a fellow officer for excessive force, while Omar, back for revenge, spares a foot soldier; Marlo, however, shows Prop Joe no mercy

(Paul Schiraldi)

”The Wire” recap: A cop breaks ranks

Carver for president? Last night, The Wire paid close attention to our newly promoted sergeant in charge, played by Seth Gilliam, an actor with such smooth Hollywood looks that I wrongly dismissed both him and his character as one-note and uninteresting in the beginning. But with great patience, the writers have steadily revealed Carver to be as deep and nuanced as any of his flashier peers. The scene of him smashing his fist into his steering wheel after leaving Randy to rot in that terrible place may be the gut-punch moment of the fourth season. And so it was in Carver’s scenes this episode that we also got something of a remembrance of poor Randy, who our newly promoted cop unconvincingly tried to dismiss as “what’s his face.”

As everyone else with a badge bathes in disinterest or high dramatics, Carver seems to have found his moral code. On what should have been a routine roundup, with the corner kids getting the best of the fuzz by planting a bag of feces under a stoop, the unfortunately buzz-cut Tony flipped a lid and started walloping on an innocent teacher in his car. Cop loyalty demanded that Carver cover his boy’s ass, but he decided instead to write him up for excessive force and conduct unbecoming. Later, over beers with Herc, who’s now essentially Levy’s bitch, Carver finally confessed how his friend’s carelessness ruined a boy’s life. “It mattered,” he said. “It all matters. We thought it didn’t, but it does.”

Kima was also making amends for abandoning a child. Startled by the sight of her traumatized little witness, the boy who had hid in the closet while Marlo’s goons blasted through the house, she called up her ex-girlfriend and asked to visit with the boy who long ago spooked her out of a stable relationship. But while she played Legos with cherubic Elijah, elsewhere her colleagues were still skirting their sins.

Ervin Burrell, still unable to admit he cooked his stats, roared like a cornered lion until the chilling city-council president persuaded him to just take a fat pension and a cushy transitional D.C. job and leave his dirt on Daniels’ mysterious past buried. (Also, we learned from Prop Joe that they attended school together and that even back then Burrell was “stone stupid.”) Daniels, just this shy of simpering — “I serve at your pleasure” — again pleaded innocent of plotting against the commissioner. For now, the Eastern District incident remains cloaked in secrecy, and Daniels moved up and into Rawls’ desk. As he settled in, a rather distressing look of self-satisfied accomplishment crossed his gaunt face. Will power corrupt our good man once again?

McNulty, that bonehead, finally slunk home, and Beadie, she of those enviable arm muscles, confronted him. McNulty tried half-heartedly to dodge and weave, but she had him by the scruff of his neck. “I can smell the Jameson’s from here. Jamie and Listerine, your scent.” He wasn’t home for five minutes before the dog slunk out with his tail between his legs, blaming his absence on his hot chase for the serial killer. “Yeah, that’s not all you’re chasing,” his disgusted woman spat back. Change the locks, honey.

NEXT: Two very different villains