Today, we look at a brilliant retort to a darkly sentimental moment in the series finale of The Wire.
This is To Quote a Phrase, a spotlight on notable pop culture quotes.
October is a Month of To Quote a Phrase, both here and at Comics Should Be Good!
SPOILERS FOR THE WIRE!
One of the major plot points on the acclaimed TV series, The Wire, is control of “the connect.” Eastside Baltimore drug dealer, Proposition Joe (Robert F. Chew), has a connection for a supply of pure heroin, MUCH better quality than anything anyone else is selling in the city, but due to the way that the city was split up into various sections controlled by various drug dealers, Joe couldn’t really fully monetize his connection. That changed in Season 3, when he and Stringer Bell (Idris Elba), who had become the de facto head of the Barksdale crew (the main drug dealers from the first two seasons of the series), came up with the idea of a Co-Op where the various drug dealers would work together and share Joe’s connection.
After the Barksdale Crew was broken up at the end of Season 3, the only key member of the crew still free was Slim Charles (Anwan Glover), the main enforcer of the Barksdales who was able to escape arrest unlike the rest of the crew at the end of the third season by sheer happenstance. Charles then became a freelance drug dealer, maintaining a number of the remaining Barksdale operations that hadn’t been taken over by Marlo Stanfield (Jamie Hector) (who was at war with Barksdale in Season 3), while still working for the Co-Op (I’ve seen some people state that Charles went to go work for Joe directly, but I don’t believe he ever did, I think he worked WITH Joe, and the two had a clear rapport, and Charles definitely did some stuff for Joe, but I don’t think he was officially part of Joe’s crew. I think he was still independent). Marlo initially went to work for the Co-Op, but then found a way to take control of Joe’s connect himself. Stanfield then had Joe assassinated by Joe’s own nephew, Cheese (Method Man), although Cheese did it in secret.
Marlo then ran the Co-Op on his own terms, but at the end of Season 5, Marlo was forced to give up his drug empire, so the remaining members of the Co-Op had to step up and take over the connect themselves. Cheese, flush with the cash of being put in charge of his dead uncle’s operations as a reward from Marlo (Marlo actually first offered Slim Charles the role, but Charles wasn’t interested in being in charge of anything), offered to put up a large percentage of the financing.
Cheese then gave a speech basically justifying his betrayal of his uncle, arguing it was now HIS time, and Charles just had enough, seeing this guy justify the murder of his own uncle, and simply shot Cheese right in the head. It’s a great moment, and the other members of the Co-Op obviously all hated Cheese, as well, and honestly respected Charles avenging Joe’s murder.
However, they were now out Cheese’s investment, and it led to a wonderful line from Clinton ‘Shorty’ Buise (playing a fictionalized version of himself. The real life Shorty was a gambler, but the fictional Shorty was a drug dealer) that delightfully undercut the sentimentality of the scene, shouting to another one of the drug dealers there, “This sentimental motherfucka just cost us money.”
At the end of the series, we see Slim Charles is now one of the heads of the Co-Op, sort of forced into a leadership role, one he was probably better suited for than many of the other guys who had the role before him.
Okay, folks, if you have suggestions for cool pop culture quotes, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!