The Wire Season 3 Episode 11: Middle Ground


The Wire Season 3 Episode 11: Middle Ground   Cinematically, the assassination of Stringer Bell had to be precise. The character, played by British actor Idris Elba, was an enormous presence in the series. His fate was sealed in Season 1 when he ordered the brutal torture and murder of Omar Little's young lover, Brandon. "Send a message" was Bell's justification. It was no less a form of terrorism than if he had bombed the West Baltimore projects where he dumped the boy's body. Theatrically and narratively, Bell was Iago to Avon Barksdale's Othello, a role with multiple levels of inscrutibility. Because of this Stringer could not be dispatched with haste. His assailants could not be hooded figures shrouded by the night. For it to be satisfying for viewers, the hit had to have the same dramatic impact as that on Sonny Corleone in The Godfather. Bold. Definitive. Final. Simon and company delivered Russell "Stringer" Bell to his maker dripping with poetic irony, not as much as would accompany the demise of one of Bell's killers, but Shakespearean nonetheless.

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