Archive for category: Television

Down To the Wire

11 Feb
February 11, 2008

Almost six years after “the best show on TV” began, the man behind the series comes clean about why he did what he did.

From Baltimore Magazine, Feb. 2008
Reprinted with permission.
David Simon, The Wire. Credit: Frank Stockton

ART CREDIT: FRANK STOCKTON

“We want to be out of The Wire business,” says the mayor of Baltimore, repeating the affirmation that began this call twenty minutes ago, stalling us in the Safeway parking lot on Boston Street.

I am curbside at the grocery, caught between a cup of carryout coffee and an afternoon writer’s meeting, cellphone hard against my ear, playing liar’s poker with a politician.

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Best Deleted Scene from The Wire Fifth Season

19 Sep
September 19, 2007

Reprinting with permission, The CityPaper, Baltimore, Sept 19, 2007

We received the below in an e-mail from The Wire co-creator/executive producer/writer David Simon on Labor Day, the Monday after shooting for the show’s fifth and final season concluded the previous Friday. It’s a four-page insert scene the writing staff intimated was coming on the penultimate day of shooting, adding more work to an already packed final production day. According to Simon, rumors of the additional pages started seeping from the production office to the set, instigating some minor grumbling about cramming yet more scenes into a final episode that Simon suggests is already about 50 percent longer than ordinary. But everybody reacted professionally to the schedule changes–assistant directors inquired about what the actors needed, production managers ordered additional film, cast members were told where they needed to be to work on dialogue. And then the pages arrived and as cast and crew read through the scene it slowly became apparent, amid growing laughter, what the pages actually were–a sly thank you from the writing staff to the entire cast and crew responsible for five seasons of one of the finest dramas the small screen has ever seen.

Insert scene: A60-

FOR PRODUCTION, TO FILM 8/31.

 

INT. INTERROGATION ROOM #1/HOMICIDE UNIT – NIGHT

BUNK, MCNULTY sit, worried. A long beat of frustrated silence before MCNULTY leans back in his chair, speaks.

MCNULTY

If they were going to do me, I’d be done already.

BUNK

Now, later. They’re gonna do you.

MCNULTY

I’m not so sure.

BUNK

You really think we need to discuss this some more? Whatever’s gonna happen is gonna happen.

MCNULTY

What are you saying?

BUNK

I’m not sure this conversation is going anywhere, Jimmy.

MCNULTY thinks on this, nods.

BUNK

I’m sayin’ this like that song by whatshersame, you know? Whatever the fuck is gonna be is gonna be.

MCNULTY

Doris Day.

BUNK

Say what?

MCNULTY

Doris Day. Que-sera-sera?

BUNK

The fuck are you going on about, motherfucker?

MCNULTY

That’s the song. Que Sera Sera, by Doris Day. Whatever will be will be.

BUNK

The shit that’s clogged up in your fuckin’ head. Amazing.

MCNULTY

You brought up the song, bitch. I’m here trying to figure out whether or not I’m gonna get done and you’re talking in gay-ass clichés.

BUNK

You ain’t goin’ to get done.

MCNULTY

How do you know?

BUNK

How do I know?

MCNULTY

Yeah. Which god came down to Baltimore and gave you the power to see the motherfuckin’ future. This is my life on the line here.

BUNK

Calm the fuck down.

MCNULTY

How can I?

BUNK

Look, you know the rest of the story.

MCNULTY

I do?

BUNK

Motherfucker, they done moved the whole script. And you read to the end of this shit, right?

MCNULTY

I know what it says so far, but all these fucking revisions. They’re up to cherry-colored pages . . .

BUNK

Buff.

MCNULTY

What?

BUNK

Buff pages. Last revision was buff.

MCNULTY

Fuck buff. These pages right here are second white.

BUNK

That’s what I’m sayin’, Jimmy, we’re far along in the process here.

MCNULTY

But they could still revise it more. Like this scene here . . .

BUNK

They ain’t gonna shoot this bitch.

MCNULTY

You sure?

BUNK

Motherfucker, they lookin’ at a seven-and-a-half page day tomorrow already. Simon tries to add this shit to that sked and the crew will bank his white ass.

MCNULTY

I dunno. I think that cocksucker has been asking for impossible shit so long, he just figures . . .

BUNK

He is a motherfucker, but Jimmy, this one would go too far.

MCNULTY

So we’re done?

BUNK

Done. These pages ain’t gonna actually get shot, Jimmy.

MCNULTY

So we’re just talking here.

BUNK

Talkin’ shit about ourselves for ourselves. We a drunkass pair of meta motherfuckers right now.

MCNULTY

I love the way you say shit like that.

BUNK

Well, it’s the script.

MCNULTY

But you make the shit sound good.

BUNK

I do.

MCNULTY

Profane, but poetic.

BUNK

Yeah, fuck.

MCNULTY

Motherfuck.

BUNK

Fuck me.

MCNULTY

Fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck.

BUNK

Aw fuck.

MCNULTY

Yeah. Fuck, yeah.

On MCNULTY and BUNK, nodding in fucking affirmation of just how fucking good The Wire crew is, just how fucking grateful the writers are, how there is not–we repeat, not–another scene remaining that we could ask you to shoot,

FADE TO:

THE END

Busted: Confessing to Crimes of Fashion

15 Jan
January 15, 1988

This ran as an essay that accompanied photographs of “Homicide,” “NYPD Blue” and “Law & Order” actors dressed magnificently.  My own attempts at the sartorial are no longer even comic to those who know me.  In fact, the only hyperbole in the piece is that I gave Terry McLarney more credit for being anything more than a kindred soul.  McLarney once confided to me that when he had to iron one of his own shirts, he only did the front:  “With a sportscoat, that’s all they’re ever gonna see anyway.”

DS

 

FROM DETAILS MAGAZINE -1994

Reprinted with permission.

Investigations Division: a cubicle containing two chairs, a couple of filing cabinets, and a government-issue desk. Behind that desk sits Colonel Richard Lanham, who is giving me official notice that the Baltimore Police Department will allow me to shadow a shift of homicide detectives for a year and then write a book about it.

“With certain stipulations,” says the colonel. “First, you agree to follow departmental rules and regulations at all times. Second, you obtain signed releases from any officer named in your book. Third . . .”

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