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“A Man’s Gotta Have a Code…”

So my wife Steph and I were watching Gone Baby Gone last week, and I must confess that we both let out a bit of a squeal at a certain moment during the flick.   No, it wasn’t during the nail-biting quarry shoot-out in the middle of the film.   No, it wasn’t during scene with the Jamaican.   And no, it wasn’t during the devastating moment of choice that forms the crux of the end of the film.   All of those moments are terrific, don’t get me wrong – Gone Baby Gone is one of my favorite movies from last year.

But the moment where Steph and I really sat up and took notice was during the funeral scene, when Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) catches the eye of a police offer who he knows.   Steph and I looked at each other.   “Is that…OMAR???”

And indeed it was.   Michael K. Williams, who has basically one scene in Gone Baby Gone (but it’s a doozy — the steakhouse meal with Patrick), is the same actor who portrayed the shotgun-carrying, drug-dealer-murdering, criminal-with-a-code Omar Little for five amazing seasons on HBO’s The Wire.

And this is what I refer to as The Wire Effect – the phenomenon on which one is so in love with the characters in a beloved TV show that you sit up and take notice whenever they appear elsewhere.   Part of the reason we were watching Gone Baby Gone in the first place was because, after watching Amy Ryan on The Wire, Steph and I wanted to see her performance in GBG again (since the first time we saw the flick was before we’d ever seen The Wire).   I love Lost – but I lost it even more this season when Lance Reddick (Lt. Cedric Daniels on The Wire) appeared briefly as the mysterious “assembler of freighter folk.”   Heck, I even got excited by The Sarah Connor Chronicles when I saw Andre Royo (“Bubbles”) appear on that show as a resistance fighter (in a tiny role that was a sad waste of his enormous talents).

This has happened to me with other shows.   I got very excited when Alexander Siddig, who played Dr. Bashir on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (by far my favorite of the Star Trek series) appeared last season on 24.   (And I was very very annoyed when he was unceremoniously killed off-screen after only a few episodes.)   And a grin always appears on my face whenever I see an alumna of the late, great Arrested Development like Jason Bateman or Michael Cera or Will Arnett.   (He’ll always be GOB Bluth to me!)

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