The Web certainly doesn’t need another post about how good The Wire is, but here’s a small moment I keep thinking about. Early in season three (Netflix is sending season four today), we meet Major Colvin. He’s chewing out two new police officers for not being able to properly identify their precise location. To do their jobs, they need to be able to radio exactly where they are to other officers. They get out of the meeting and the other officers make fun of them, revealing that every new recruit gets the same speech.
Flash forward half a dozen episodes. Colvin comes into the major crimes unit HQ, sees McNulty, and asks, “Where you at?” McNulty immediately rattles off the address of the building he’s currently standing in, what floor he’s on, and what corner (southwest, etc). Without telling us explicitly, the writers are showing us that McNulty was once an officer in Colvin’s district, was under his command, and learned this skill from him (and many others, one immediately concludes). We see how he’s been an effective leader who gives the cops he’s worked with skills they take into the rest of their careers. All in one short sentence.
(Full disclosure: Katherine got this before I did.)