The Wire

NYC does eat its young (the t-shirt logo above) except on HTMIIA where NYC eats cannabis tincture spray.

HTMIIA’s 2nd season has gone by in a blink. While we like it enough to write about it, some of it, for a city boy, is imminently despised. Let’s talk Domingo first.  Kid Cudi.  Wow. This guy plays a clown.  Maybe the show wanted a clown in which case then he’d be a fine clown indeed.  But we only like funny clowns and not the kind of clown Domingo is…a THC tincture spray making/selling, red jeans shorts wearing, friend’s girl fucking moron.  By the way, we just pulled up that track “All of the Lights” that he raps on, for fair measure, and we had to turn it off after 45 seconds and weren’t even able to get to Cudi’s rap because it’s about as bad a song as we’ve ever heard.  Word.

Tincture spray?  This is not Cali, Vancouver, or Amsterdam, and as big as we may think our weed scene is here, it simply isn’t as big as it is in places where cannabis is legal.  NY-made tincture made for mass production underground?  Please.  And Domigo’s got the spray bottles all whipped out with the artsy Rasta Monster labels.  Please give it up.  What a retarded storyline. The diehards are cringing.  Domingo is also the kind of punk that defies the guy code. That says it all.  Why did he do it (fuck Rachel)? Because he thinks his own shit is always more important.  It just happened?  That’s a cop out on both their parts.  Cam (Victor Rasuk) and Ben (Bryan Greenberg) should lose his number.

BTW, what kind of whore is Rachel (Played by Lake Bell, who did a nice guest spot on an episode of The League, which we just talked about yesterday in this space.)?  Bad instincts, bad judgment, bad friend, skank. Bad.  How does she leave a job like that in design with a boss that’s so cool, who is her friend, really her only girlfriend, who is giving her good advice, and throwing her nice swanky birthday dinners as well? How does Rachel not just quit but blow up her friend’s entire business?

Because she’s Rachel and her tits are beautiful and her pussy is “hot cakes”?  These things seem to give her license to do whatever, whenever.  Or else she is just too flighty to put her life together correctly and too unlikable for us to care.  And yet she’s giving Ben shit about his career, within the context of the back story and early episodes of Season 1, like only the King of England would be good enough for her.  At the end of the day though, she simply kisses off her career because of a bad romantic choice, runs away, then says fuck it, I’ll just become a magazine writer, like she’s all along been the embodiment of hot shit, this raw naked talent, and now she’d just channel her inner Tom Wolfe.  Yeah, but in the HTMIIA world of happy endings, that stupid article she wrote on that moron from Brooklyn (such bad casting with James Ransone as James Dean) that got her fired will be picked up by someone like the president of Random House who will find the piece accidentally and offer her a 3 book deal like she’s James Joyce.  Back to Rachel as a whore.  She obviously has fallen for Ziggy from The Wire even though she is fucking Domingo so that was justice when that jap got japped in the steam by a real Brooklyn girl and cracked her head.  But seriously, for her to fuck Domingo, a close friend of Ben, and then to target the Neanderthal kid, who Ben despises, is not just skeevy but also pathetic psychologically.

Speaking of whores, um, Gina Gershon.  She’s ancient and her skin looks like leather and she trapped Ben up similar to how Rachel got trapped up last season by the rich fag, by blurring romantic and career lines.  BTW, how did that guy think he could get away with making out with a dude while rolling in a club, right in front of his girl?  Anyway, we just had to ask.   Frankly, the similarities between Ben’s love life this season and Rachel’s last season reeks of deus ex machina.  For the laymen, that would be bad writing.  Lazy recycled plot lines with predictable outcomes.  And if that means that Rachel ends up on Ben’s doorstep, or vice versa, at the end of this week’s episode, entitled “What’s in a Name?”, then we’ll puke our guts up.  If anything is to be read into the show title then we may assume that Ben and Cam will let Yosi have the name Crisp, and then they will re-brand themselves and start a new line.  That would be a nice turn about, especially since we are so tired of the ‘we need money’ storylines, and think it would be fun to see the guys party like rock stars next year, while Domingo is off walking a French poodle.  Maybe Ben can find some young ass then too, like the kind he never ever should have turned down (especially not OUT OF TOWN ASS!).  Instead of going off to fuck one of those young blond buyers, he instead opts to go make faggy candlelit smooth smooth romance with an old married hag.  What an idiot.

But we like Ben.  He’s human.  Everybody gets schooled sometimes.  He is usually smarter than that, and was right to blow off Rachel, who turned out to be a megawhore and he is the creative talent behind Crisp. With all the neat ‘everything works out in the end’ nonsense that Mark Wahlberg has imported from Entourage, we see things working out rather well for him.

We love Luis Guzman who is perfect as Renee and his posse is also all quite good.  Of course we love Kappo (Eddie Kaye Thomas), and we would be very worried about him in Otisville if we thought he was actually going away, though we are quite certain things will work out for him too. Cam, Ben, Renee, and Kappo make this show, and the others, while bad, are at least tolerable.

Sure it’s all fantastical pastry puff bullshit at the end of the day where faggy weed dealers are handing out herb like nothing  in the big green cloud of smoke they call NYC–where in reality you may have to work 6 days a week for 10 yrs to catch a break, but where Ben and Cam can’t walk a block of city without running into the hottest designer that minute doing threads who is willing to toss them a bone without even sniffing the hint of a sample–but it has enough funny moments to tolerate its drawbacks.

It definitely is not actually how to make it in America, though the blueprint does seem like the plan for how to make it on HBO these days…the new HBO…which despite the drop off in creativity, numbers of and quality of shows, still manages to entertain us a lot of the time.

Crack (

While we were glad to see a sorely missed Entourage return to the Sunday night HBO airwaves and re-enter the fray of stiff programming competition that always seems to make Sunday nights so strong, we’ve been vastly underwhelmed with the storylines so far, and the curious jumping in point for this season–Vince’s return from rehab.  In fact, all of the characters except Drama (Kevin Dillon) and Ari (Jeremy Piven) have come in at weird places when considering what could have been. 

We are very displeased at how Doug Elin and company have glommed over Vince’s (Adrian Grenier) arrest, Eric’s (Kevin Connolly) breakup with Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara…Brooklyn holler!) and his adventures in his new Tequila venture.  As far as Turtle goes, in the past two seasons he was finally given more to work with than his loyal but stagnant pot smoking lackey, and in an end eerily familiar to season six’s, the writers have chosen to make him all about some annoying Mexican chick who won’t call him back.  So far.  But we think, with Mark Cuban and his business manager, played by one of our favorites, Bob Odenkirk, getting involved as investors in Avion that Turtle could be doing much more right now than waiting by the phone for Alex to call. 

As far as E goes, he had come to a very compelling time in his relationship with the ultra hot Sloan, refusing to sign a pre-nup as we knew the stubborn E would.  But for the show to just pick up 3 months later with him and Sloane separated and little to no information given aside from the unsigned pre-nup that we know about it, strikes us as lazy writing.  Are they attempting to tell us their story with some out of sequence method?  If so, we would think that to be untrue to Entourage’s established style of story telling which has evolved in the last four seasons to make it one of the premiere shows on television.

The show, in our minds, had gotten out of the box originally as a sluggish male themed rip of Sex and the City, with a Hollywood, celebrity cameo laiden twist.  And then, when Vince began to go through some of the downs of the Hollywood movie star life, and the lives of Drama, E, and Ari were featured more prominently, the show became a much more interesting, layered, and gritty product.  In truth, we had totally given up on Entourage but felt we had to give it another shot because of the dearth of quality television in general and on HBO in specific at that time.  We were glad that we did give it another shot because Entourage had found a nice rhythm which it carried on, especially in depicting the rockier moments in Vincent Chase’s life.  Until now. 

To go from depicting Ari’s marital catastrophes to the hollow Mrs. Ari/Bobby Flay nonsense, to skip out on Vince’s troubles with the law and make his rehab seem like a vacation, and to gloss over formative moments for Turtle and E for what feels like the same old Sloan and Meadow Soprano nonsense are all bad shortcuts.  Do they feel that because they have shown enough of Ari’s agency in its various stages of growth and development, that they were doing us a favor by not showing how Scott Lavin (Scott Caan) can walk up to E and tell him that he was taking down Murray, their boss and Sloan’s god father, and E telling Scott he was in, to 3 months later and the takeover mysteriously completed without nary a word as to how?

And we love Scott Caan on Entourage and feel that the takeover could have been well interwined with Eric’s personal life, where they have also left us in the dark.  Back to Vince’s rehab for a second.  Would it be wrong for us to assume Vince will slip up and relapse like just about every other person who has ever been to rehab?  Because if that’s the case, then doing more than showing Vince giving his goodbye to crackheads speech would have been appropriate, and if it’s not the case, then showing some of the travails his brush with the law and addiction had taught him would go far in making a permanently clean Vince more believable.

It’s always hard to see a favorite show come up short.  We were extremely disappointed to learn that Entourage was not returning on the same night as Curb Your Enthusiasm, and even more upset to learn that Entourage was only back for a slate of eight episodes in its final HBO season.  But then, with the news that Scott Caan and Rhys Coiro (Billy Walsh) would be regulars and that another of our favorites, Andrew Dice Clay, had joined the cast as himself, we pencilled Entourage in to go out with a bang.

But the fact is, Sunday night, led by Breaking Bad, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Celebrity Rehab, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, are all already pencilled in as better shows right now.  Entourage’s lack of oomph has dulled our limited faith in humanity, making us think that the big screen version, already being touted by Elin will be nothing but a stale money grab which won’t even measure up to Sex and the City 2

Our criticism of Entourage can be extended out to HBO’s original programming in general.  Their 2 best newer comedies which were ready for both of the last 2 summers, Hung and Bored to Death are not ready for action.  True Blood is awful and has been for 2 years.  No word on season 3 of The Life and Times of Tim, or season 4 of In Treatment.  If not for Curb, which took its sweet time coming back, Treme, Boardwalk Empire, and Game of Thrones, we’d have nothing good to say about HBO compared to its glory days, which now see well removed.  And the latter three dramas, while all good, are nowhere near the level of The Sopranos, The Wire, and Deadwood.

And to pass on Mad Men and Breaking Bad?  With decisions like that, and weak reprisals like the current season of Entourage, people might soon be passing on HBO.  I mean, we can only stare at Islanders t-shirts and screen savers as long as the show is good.

Crack (,

Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) and Holly Flax (Amy Ryan).

Is it just us, or do you also look forward to the thought of Angela’s (Angela Kinsey) Christmas themed cat cards, Andrew Bernard (Ed Helms) a-caroling, and the dubious Todd Packer (David Koechner) and his drunken escapades?  If so, tonight’s our night with The Office’s special Christmas episode, “Classy Christmas”, on tap. 

While we may not have loved the acting performance Amy Ryan just turned in as Dr. Paul Weston’s (Gabriel Byrne) therapist on HBO’s superb 3rd season of In Treatment, just concluded, it’s hard to argue against Ryan reprising the role of quirky HR person Holly Flax, who, in 7 seasons of The Office, may have been the only cast member truly on the same wavelength of wacky Michael Scott.  We’ve read that Holly returns to the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin tonight to fill in for Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein), who is called away.

Michael is sure to go nuts over Holly’s return to Scranton from Nashua, as he’s only been pining for her from the second she left.  But how will Holly react to Michael, in light of her ongoing serious relationship with a Nashua branch salesman (last we knew), and in light of Michael’s rambling voice mail to Holly that we heard him record earlier in the season on which he insisted that he and Holly had been good together, that she was the only ex whom he had any good will toward and vice versa, and oh yeah–how she’d better head to a doctor and get checked for herpes?

Amy Ryan, who first came to us as port police on season 2 (“Nicky from the docks”) of our favorite all-time show, The Wire, who had, let’s call it an uncomfortable run on In Treatment, is sure to be back in her element once again in a large ensemble cast.  And we always love Dwight in elf ears.  Since The Office won’t be back after tonight until January 20th, we’re hoping tonight’s “Classy Christmas” is extra good.

Tonight @ 9 PM EST on NBC.  Happy holidays.

Crack (,

In recent weeks, the NYPD and Washington, D.C.P.D. grabbed headlines with high profile pot busts.  In New York, Kareem Burke, a former business associate of rapper Jay-Z, was one of several caught in an interstate sting, which put the dope on the table.  Before we quote the New York Daily News, let’s re-quote Treme and The Wire creator/executive producer David Simon, whom we agree with on his low opinion of dope on the table police work.

So, you have to look at what the Baltimore Police Department was doing in the war on drugs.  They were consumed by the idea of statistics.  Of dope on the table.  To this day, when a police department puts dope on the table or guns on the table, you know, ‘we did a raid yesterday and we seized these drugs and these guns’ and they call a press conference.  The city is awash in heroin, cocaine, and guns.  Any street cop can go out and make a gun case or certainly a drug case.  It’s like the entire city is swimming and they’ve literally put a beeker of water on the table and gone, look, we’ve done police work.  But dope on the table works.  The cameras always come.  The cameras always say ‘ah, they’re fighting the war on drugs’ and what they’re not doing is anything meaningful in the way of  police work.  They were locking up more people for drugs than ever before, the rates of violence went up, and their ability to solve those crimes of violence went down, because they had taught a whole generation of cops not how to do police work.  They taught them how to go up on the corner and jack a guy up, go in his pockets, get a vial here, a vial there.  To actually solve a string of robberies on your post, to actually solve a murder, to actually solve a string of rapes?  That requires police work.”

Now listen to this lying liar customs agent:

“This isn’t just a group that controlled one block, one neighborhood,” said Jim Hayes special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“They dominated the wholesale marijuana market in New York for 20 years.”

And then they put the dope on the table for all of us folks who missed the 2 second local news piece:

The investigation that derailed the ring was launched 18 months ago after investigators sniffed out the money trail, the law enforcement source said. In addition to rounding up the ring, the feds seized $1 million in drug profits and 177 pounds of pot.

Okay.  First of all, there is no possible way for one operation to control the marijuana trade.  In fact, a state can’t even control the trade, but one is doing an excellent job: California.  177 pounds…is nothing.  Where we sit, in NYC, so much herb is coming from California and from the provinces of Quebec and Vancouver–places where it is not illegal to grow.  Various ethnic cartels have the direct connect to Cali and to Canada, and cannabis is so plentiful–beautiful Cali bud–that I can have unlimited pounds at my door within 30 minutes at almost any hour of the day.  If I had $25,000-$30,000 and wanted 10 lbs. of herb, I could probably name my strain.

Like David Simon says, it’s bullshit police work, a bullshit news story, and a complete waste of taxpayer time and money.  But with the economy in dire straits, police forces are going to play the seizure of assets game to the fullest, right up until the minute that every state goes the way of California.  Still, the federal government says they won’t buy in to the legalization craze.  Just last week, the attorney general said ‘all illegal drugs remain a serious priority, blah, blah, blah.’

Let me translate for you.  States’ rights will prevail, but the federal government reserves the right to start the drug war back up again, when they see fit, even though states’ rights will prevail, and the federal government will be “at war” with its own states.  Nice.

But here’s an even better one, that went down in Washington.  The bang up police force–real crusaders–got some hardened criminals off the street.  Or, at least, out of their backyards.

CBS News chief is facing serious jail time and the loss of his job after cops busted him for growing marijuana in his back yard.

Howard Arenstein, 60, an award-winning reporter and the news-radio station’s Washington bureau chief, was holed up in his Georgetown home yesterday after he and his wife, Orly Katz, were released early Sunday without having to post bail.

Katz, 55, is the Washington-based correspondent for Yediot Ahronot, an Israeli newspaper.

The couple has four grown children.

Police, acting on a tip, raided Arenstein’s home Saturday and discovered 11 “full-grown marijuana plants” in his back yard, each more than 8-feet high, and “six 2-ounce bags of marijuana,” a police spokesman said.

Howard Arenstein and Orly Katz?  With four grown children?  Growing in their backyard?  They had eleven shwaggy outdoor plants and 12 ounces–less than a pound–of gross DC outdoor bud.  The police did rid the streets of an awful operation.  In terms of quality.  But do you know who grows herb in their backyard?  Amateurs.  This is some sort of political dispute, jealous underling, anonymous tip type of bullshit. 

Here’s the kicker.  Jay-Z’s boy and the Arenstein’s have already retained sterling legal counsel who will probably earn their retainers.  Especially in the case of Katz and Arenstein, who maybe had $2500 worth of herb on hand, to be very kind.  No way on earth those 2 go to jail.   Burke will probably get the absolute minimum sentence allowable for his “crimes.”

A beeker of water indeed.  And to what end?

Crack (,

The brilliant David Simon, who we all have much to thank for, because of all of the outstanding television he has brought us, and continues to bring us (The Corner, The Wire, Generation Kill, Treme), and for his vocal and intelligent stance as an opponent of the war on drugs and really, as a gleaming light post for contemporary reform, says the following in the forward of the director’s cut from season 1, episode 11, “The Hunt”:

So, you have to look at what the Baltimore Police Department was doing in the war on drugs.  They were consumed by the idea of statistics.  Of dope on the table.  To this day, when a police department puts dope on the table or guns on the table, you know, ‘we did a raid yesterday and we seized these drugs and these guns’ and they call a press conference.  The city is awash in heroin, cocaine, and guns.  Any street cop can go out and make a gun case or certainly a drug case.  It’s like the entire city is swimming and they’ve literally put a beeker of water on the table and gone, look, we’ve done police work.  But dope on the table works.  The cameras always come.  The cameras always say ‘ah, they’re fighting the war on drugs’ and what they’re not doing is anything meaningful in the way of  police work.  They were locking up more people for drugs than ever before, the rates of violence went up, and their ability to solve those crimes of violence went down, because they had taught a whole generation of cops not how to do police work.  They taught them how to go up on the corner and jack a guy up, go in his pockets, get a vial here, a vial there.  To actually solve a string of robberies on your post, to actually solve a murder, to actually solve a string of rapes?  That requires police work.”

While Simon’s words do ring especially true, his depiction of the above through the paradigm of West Baltimore that he created, probably made for the best television ever in the realism genre.  Are you asking if I’m really going to do this?  Am I really going to review a show that had it’s original air date in August of 2002?

No.  I’m going to review parts of two Wire episodes (s1, e10, “The Cost”, s1, e11, “The Hunt”) because the masterful sequence in specific I’d like to discuss cuts off at the end of episode 10 and picks back up at the beginning of episode 11. 

In “The Cost”, the episode is framed around a buy and bust.  The police higher-ups, impatient that the bust-for-show they have demanded hasn’t come off yet, order Lieutenant Daniels (Lance Reddick), whose unit is up on a wire on West Baltimore’s most dangerous and successful drug gang, to arrange for a quick bust that they feel will make them look good.  The squad concocts a plausible scenario–to them.  Orlando (Clayon LeBouef), who has already been busted, is looking to buy weight from Avon’s (Wood Harris) crew, and will have his girlfriend along for the ride–Detective Greggs (Sonja Sohn) undercover.

Is that a good plan?  Orlando already got busted, and is out.  Any street person would be suspicious of that.  You get busted, you don’t make bail in those parts.  But Orlando is out, so obviously, he’s been snitching.  If Orlando was going to make bail, it would have been Avon’s crew who bailed him out.  But Avon only needed Orlando’s name on the liquor license at the strip joint he owned, and once his name got dirty, he no longer needed him.  So this crew that owns West Baltimore is supposed to believe that Orlando, who got busted in the first place because he tried to step out and sell a package because he needed money, somehow got his bail arranged in some way that didn’t involve cooperating with the police.

They don’t believe it for a second.  The police keep trying to convince themselves that it’s a good plan because they think it’s plausible that Orlando needs to go buy weight to make money to pay his legal fees.  And they convince themselves that it’s also plausible that Kima be there too, playing the girlfriend that Savino (Chris Clanton), the dealer they are procuring from, doesn’t know and has never heard of, despite knowing Orlando very well.  As a viewer, you are sitting there saying “I can’t believe the police are stupid enough to try this.”

But they are.  And that’s the foundation for The Wire’s chilling platform of realism.  The bureaucracies do not work well, and function nowhere near as effectively as the criminals.  Over the course of The Wire’s full run, Simon and Ed Burns would expose the failings of Baltimore’s city government, courts, educational system, prisons, and newspapers as well.   But for perhaps television’s best show ever, there were few moments that better illustrated the stark contrast between the effectiveness of the criminals and the ineptitude of the law.

From the moment that Kima gets in Orlando’s car, Simon plunges us into this vacuum of chaos that gets exponentially more intense with each second.  Though there are detectives in cars just a few blocks away, they are unable to locate Orlando’s car because the drug dealers have turned all the street signs in order to “fuck with the cops.”  Kima, who’s wired, is trying to give her location by rattling off street names from the back seat of Orlando’s car, but she doesn’t really have any idea where she really is, and even “foxtrot”, the B.P.D.’s helicopter unit can not locate them, as Savino has now made off with their money, and while Orlando and Greggs sit helplessly in the car waiting for their drugs like sitting ducks.

Gunmen take over from there.  Orlando the snitch is dead, and Kima is officer down.  Her squad, who were desperately and helplessly trying to find her, still can’t find her, and are all screaming “OFFICER DOWN!” into their radios frantically.  These are cops–for all their faults–who operate essentially as rogues who are always looking to circumvent the chain of command, but who are all extremely dedicated to their detail and to each other.  Incredible acting performances are turned in by Lance Reddick (Brooklyn holler!) , John Doman (Brooklyn holler!), Dominic West, Seth Gilliam, Clarke Peters (Treme), Dominick Lombardozzi, and Corey Parker Robinson.

Carver (Seth Gilliam) brings the news to Kima’s partner, and then brings her to the hospital, and asks D.C.O. Burrell (Frankie Faison) and Lt. Daniels if someone will say a word to her.  The entire force was galvanized when one of their own went down, for sure, and Greggs’ heroism was appreciated.  We know this because in a gripping exchange between Rawls (Doman) and McNulty (West), Rawls implores McNulty not to blame himself for the situation, that he “didn’t do one thing to get a police shot” and that the “only moral here is that she took 2 for the unit.”  But when Burrell informs the commissioner, and the commissioner sees that Greggs has a lesbian partner, he declines to offer her his support. 

After the shooting, it’s fascinating to hear the chatter over the wire regarding the shooting–clearly the police’s best resource, and maybe only real resource, when it comes to doing real police work, despite objections from the very top of the force over the wire’s expense and slow and deliberate way of delivering information.

I have zero interest in cop shows.  The Wire has always been so much more than that.  The Wire is by far the greatest show of its kind and has brought a much higher standard to realism in television and film.  I know a lot of you missed it the first time around, and that’s shameful.  But having forever missed it would be unforgiveable.  Try to catch it.  Season 1 is airing frequently on Directv’s channel 101, with episode 12 to come Sunday night.

Unless for some crazy reason, that’s not how you carry it.

Crack (,

AMC, the top dog in creating cable dramas, even ahead of the always busy new programming department at HBO, debuted its third original program this summer–Rubicon–starring James Badge Dale, who you may have caught in HBO’s Pacific.  Their first two originals, Mad Men and Breaking Bad, are probably finest A and finest B, when it comes to acted dramas on television right now.

The bar is obviously set high on Dale, who will no doubt be compared to Jon Hamm and Bryan Cranston, and on a show that takes its name from the Greek pass that the Roman army took on the orders of Caesar in 49 B.C., and which has come to mean “a limit that when passed or exceeded permits of no return and typically results in irrevocable commitment.”  Dale, playing Will Travers, an intelligence analyst at a high level think tank, is a widower who lost his wife and daughter in 9/11, and who mostly lives an isolated existence.  Travers’ father-in-law and boss, David Hadas (Peter Gerety), is killed in a train crash, and Will is quickly offered his old job of team leader.  While Will was conflicted about remaining in their employ, he takes the job so he can pursue the mystery of what really happened to his father-in-law, who sent him a number of clues as part of a code he wanted Will to break in relation to his murder, we presume, which started with him parking his car on the morning of the train crash in spot # 13–something the superstitious Hadas would never do unless he was trying to get someone’s attention.

Before the crash, Travers was depressed, and had confided to Hadas that he missed his family and that he hated his job.  After the crash, Will is quickly offered the promotion, though the dirt wasn’t dry on Hadas’ casket, literally.  Will is approached by Kale Ingram (Arliss Howard), who is the highest ranking employee to work “downstairs”, at  Hadas’ funeral.  Will says he’s going to reject the offer, but pleas from co-workers, and more importantly, clues from David, compel him to change his mind.  A retired analyst, Ed Bancroft (Roger Robinson), who Will has just met but who may now be his only confidante, figures out that a piece of information that David left Will was a match book code–one where each person has the same book, and they look up a series of letter postions to put a message together–ingenius, because it can never be cracked without knowing what book was used.  David had given Will a book right before his death, and Will looks up the letters which form the sentence, “they hide in plain sight.”

Obviously Hadas is referring to Will’s co-workers and superiors.  Will’s assistant (Jessica Collins) happens to be secretly giving info to Kale Ingram about the different members of the team.  Kale makes a point of asking if Will is overly preoccupied with David’s murder.  Kale may very well know what happened to Hadas, and their boss, Truxton Spangler (Michael Christopher), it looks like, may be part of the group responsible for Hadas’ death.  Will’s first meeting with Spangler was tense, at which, Spangler shows them a picture of George Beck, a German Muslim person of interest to the agency, and says of the two guys in the photo with him, “I’d like to know who they are.”

Will, who walked up to the roof and stood out on the ledge for a minute, before walking in and taking his new job, has eyes on him.  His rooftop dalliances are being photographed (by Isiah Whitlock Jr., who played state senator Clay Davis on The Wire), and Will is being followed.  David, who gave him his motorcycle before he died, left Will a revolver, and a strip of coded numbers inside the seat–numbers we would later learn correlated to the dates the Yankees won their 27 championships, something David knew Will would know. 

David wasn’t the only person to die early on in Rubicon, as in the very first scene, we see billionaire magnate Tom Rhumor (Bill Murray buddy Harris Yulin), upon seeing a green four leaf clover on his morning paper, take out a gun and blow his brain’s out.  The clover was significant to Will, who spotted a trend in the crossword puzzles of a few major papers, that there was a pattern of clues representing the 3 branches of government, and the fourth–the intelligence community–all represented by a four leaf clover.  Will would piece together the signifcance, that the crosswords were a go code for revenge killings, after another analyst tells him that a similar pattern in 11 newspaper crosswords in 1983 came right after a terrorist attack, and that a few days later, a number of senior Hezbollah money men went missing.

Will thinks that David’s train crashed because of that go code, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this all connects to George Beck, and has terrorist implications.  It wouldn’t surprise me–in fact–I predict that at some point we will learn that the agency where Will works knew the towers were going to fall.  Will, to find the truth, must pass the rubicon, and probably has already.  Dale plays an intellectual, not a brute, so it should be interesting to see how he handles himself with that gun, and with the weird shadowy types who are following him.

Will Travers may not be Don Draper or Walter White, and the vague intrigue of Rubicon may not yet compare with beauty of Mad Men or the grit of Breaking Bad, but Will is a character to root for on an intelligent show.

Will Travers, welcome to the Layer Cake.

–Crack (,

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