The Wire Season 2 Episode 3: Hot Shots

The Wire Season 2 Episode 3: Hot Shots. Stage actor Pablo Schreiber, Lieb Schreiber's younger brother, was a standout in The Wire's second season. As Nick, an under-employed dockworker (there was no other kind in Baltimore) caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, Schreiber -- a tall, classically handsome man -- was the most tragic figure in the Sobotka clan because he not only had to witness, helplessly, as his family disintegrated with the killing of his uncle Frank and the imprisonment of his cousin Ziggy because of their involvement with the Greek's murderous brigade -- but he also watched as the only life he'd ever known was dismantled, block by block, brick by brick. In that regard, Nick was not so very different from the crosstown corner boys and drug dealers who he early on disparaged but then later came to emulate. Though the title of this episode refers to a package of spiked dope (hot shots), it could just as easily refer to Nick, who, despite being well over 6 feet tall, desperately wanted to be a bigger man. We were pulling for him and the other men who too often turned to crime to feed their families. (As a side note, Schreiber's superbly contained performance in Season 2 made his co-star, James Ransone's Ziggy, seem clunky and cartoonish in comparison. I will comment in more detail on Ziggy in a later posting.)

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