Saturday, August 02, 2008

More Wire: Snoop

In season 4 of The Wire - here I go again - there are two killers working for the new drug lord. One is Chris Partlow, a rationalising sort, the other is Snoop. Snoop is a girl, though I didn't realise this at first, she walks with a peculiarly exaggerated rolling gait, talks in very thick patois and wears an expression of bland unconcern. Her speciality is pouring quicklime over the bodies. In one masterly scene she buys a nail gun from a hardware store; the expression of mounting horror on the salesman's face is The Wire at its best. Snoop is utterly opaque, she betrays no hint of an inner life. She kills with the band insouciance of somebody buying a paper. I already had Snoop down as the most disturbing TV character of all time. But now, having done a little research, I am even more disturbed. She is played by an actress called Felicia Pearson and this is, get this, the full name of Snoop in the show. Her resume seems a little thin, alarmingly so. I am left the question: if she's Felicia in the show, is she Snoop in the real world? I would try to answer this question but I'm scared.


  1. Inspired by your comment, I went searching for more. Be afraid, be very afraid:

    Of course the cast bio on the HBO site gives a more inspiring version . . .

  2. Hadn't realised that Stringer Bell was born in Hackney or that McNulty (Dominic West) is an Old Etonian. Snoop's southern accent and her ambiguous gender are what make her/it sinister.

  3. you're doing an excellent job of putting me off and I'm grateful for it.

  4. Okay, we watched Episode 1 last night. Insofar as *I*, who am an American and understand most of my country's dialects and slang, can barely understand the street lingo, I don't know how you Brits could possibly follow it. At least, not the first time around. Unless you are watching it with the subtitles on?

    But I certainly see what makes it a brilliant show, from my American perspective. This is the first show where black characters are not just sidekicks to white ones. I mean, unlike the Cosby show, which was all black and geared to black middle class audiences, this show is for all audiences and it explores race relations NOW. And if some of that power comes from drugs -- well, that's real. This is the ultimate fall-out from slavery in America. Make an underclass that can't easily rise legitimately, and its best and brightest (and bravest) will find a way up criminally.

    Those scenes at housing projects could be drawn from any major inner city in America. In fact, though ostensibly set in Baltimore, (one hour south of here) the landscapes depicted could easily be Philly. Oddly, I read on a local blog that "The Wire" sometimes shows the Phila. skyline in the long shots rather than B-more's much less impressive one.

    The savvy of the drug dealers is likewise real. Rappers -- some of them famous -- have gone to jail in the last year in Philly b/c they funded their careers with drug money. And they had very organized systems for selling and collecting -- just as in this show. And impressive weaponry, also like this show. (This is why there are so many collateral deaths when drug deals go bad.)

    Author Simon knows what he writes about, which is no surprise. He was a crime reporter on a major daily paper in a city rife with drug crimes. What's surprising is that more reporters don't write those kinds of shows. Anyone on the city desk has heard them, read them, will recognize them. Well, I guess our former columnist Steve Lopez did write a couple of novels about inner city Philly, but nothing that has had the success of "The Wire."

    Oops, I am blathering. I'm being pulled into the show, but it is certainly dark. More than anything, it reminds me of "The Godfather" and "The Sopranos" (whose first few seasons were fantastic). In that world, once you're in, how do you get out? And what a thin line divides the criminals from the cops.

  5. She's written a memoir entitled Grace After Midnight:

    "From Publishers Weekly"

    "This isn't a light celebrity bio, but a powerful story of someone trying to find her way in a dark world, realizing she can still choose her life's direction even in tremendously difficult circumstances. Pearson's narrative is spare, even poetic, rendering traumatic moments all the more powerful."

  6. You're in way over your head now Appleyard.

  7. I suppose it makes a change from discussing the latest episode of East Enders.

  8. It is the Virginian for me, And he is on this side of the pond at the moment. Doug (Trampas) McClure died a few years ago, '95 I think.

  9. This is many months too late, but from checking wikipedia it does seem that Felicia's life eerily resembles Snoops - she worked as a Baltimore drug dealer and was imprisoned for murder at age 14.
    Apparently she only got the job after the actor that plays Omar met her in a Baltimore bar. Pretty good for a first time actress - for me she stole the last two series of The Wire.