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Death Pool

April 17, 2011
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Up to my eyeballs in this writing class, getting through the Season 1 DVD commentary in my spare time, but Season 2 news is coming fast and furious now.

Over at the Times-Picayune, Dave Walker comes right out and puts a name on what lots of Simon-followers have for a guilty-pleasure hobby: The Death Pool.

David Simon supposedly spilled the beans on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me last weekend, confessing that he had just finished killing one of our characters. Quelle surprise.

You know how you know it’s time for a character to die? Second to last episode of the season. Or George Pelecanos shows up to write. Pelecanos is like Simon’s hit man; when he needs a job done and he needs it done right without a lot of mess, he brings in Pelecanos like he’s Silvio Dante or something. The Pelecanos body count includes at least Wallace, Frank Sobotka, Stringer Bell, Sherrod, Snoop,and Creighton Bernette.

I know we don’t tend to traffic in lots of predictions around here, but fun is fun. So, anybody? Death-pool predictions? Davis lets out the N-word in the wrong bar? Antoine gets an antibiotic-resistant case of the clap?

My personal prediction, in all seriousness, is that Sofia Bernette falls victim to the heroin overdose epidemic that hit the Lusher and Franklin high schools in early 2008. I bounced this thought off of somebody who would know and they expressed a certain amount of skepticism, but if it happens you heard it here first.

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44 Comments
  1. Kevin permalink
    April 17, 2011 4:35 pm

    The Uptown-heroin guess is a really good one. My guess would be Antoine’s toddler daughter, very much like the Jeremy Galmon murder in Central City.

    I doubt it will be Davis McAlary, but hope springs eternal.

  2. ACFUNK permalink
    April 17, 2011 5:48 pm

    I think it could be the Big Chief. Maybe even collapsing while giving city council hell (been done before) or some other public forum. He’s gon’ be heard. Then Delmond will have to decide whether to stay and fight alongside young Darius, or play Lincoln Center and forget about NOLA. I know David Simon could never put out something so cliche. But we would watch it!

  3. Peris permalink
    April 17, 2011 6:02 pm

    Creighton Bernette was not a surprise, which was actually a surprise if you expected a surprise.

    So now will we be surprised by another non-surprise (like McAlary) or will it take a surprise (like Antoine)? I think the latter, but how to fill all that figurative space? For me he’s like the silent narrator, the hub of this show.

    But with a new season, this show now becomes that show, and the new season might have some jarring discontinuity, which would fit the flavor of 2007.

  4. doctorj2u permalink
    April 17, 2011 8:59 pm

    I thought of the heroin overdose also, but that would be such an horrible situation for the character of Toni. It would be too much certainly.

  5. April 17, 2011 10:38 pm

    Who better to be the literary grim reaper than my countryman George Pelecanos?

  6. April 18, 2011 9:29 am

    “The Greek will be angry.”

    “This is business, Eton. The Greek? He will be smart.”

  7. Alex Rawls permalink
    April 18, 2011 9:51 am

    I’m betting against a major character and opting for Deacon John’s role as Antoine’s old teacher. Or, one of Lambreaux’s Indians – probably the kid.

  8. April 18, 2011 9:54 am

    Danny Nelson (Deacon John) is already dead. Zombie jazzman would be quite the second season diversion.

  9. Alex Rawls permalink
    April 18, 2011 10:09 am

    Zombie jazz man would certainly bring Treme more in line with Nicholas Cage’s new New Orleans movie.

  10. April 18, 2011 1:07 pm

    Since we all thought the resemblance of Sonny/Annie to Zack and Addie was close last season, I’m surprised no one has mentioned either of them. Sonny goes ballistic and goes after Annie or maybe, completely defeated, OD’s? Probably too predictable for the writing team.

    LaDonna’s Baton Rouge dentist husband is a possibility. The good doctor has a car crash and LaDonna brings the kids back to NOLA, which opens up education system issues in the story line, nevermind the Antoine/LaDonna will they won’t they do it again story line. Oh Desiree would be fit to be tied if Antoine, feeling a responsibility to the kids and LaDonna tried to split his time (and money) between them.

  11. doctorj2u permalink
    April 18, 2011 2:15 pm

    That is a great guess. Sounds like a winner to me.

  12. Holleybe permalink
    April 18, 2011 3:49 pm

    They are so tied to doing things in the historically correct year, I would imagine the herion OD’s by upscale teens won’t emerge until next season. The upcoming season is 2006-2007, we were still hearing of random, highly unexpected suicides, the ongoing deaths of the elder generation (LaDonna’s mom?), and the sudden, unexpected deaths of younger folk, most due to Perpetual Stress Syndrome.

    One thing for sure, that “thing” kept on killing folks long after the initial event, and still does take its toll today as well.

    One thing I hope they get right this season is the fact that almost no one, even if their home survived, lived alone. The dues paid by surviving homes were that every space was filled with homeless friends and relatives! The luxury of living as a family alone in your home was still rare. And if they weren’t living with you, they were coming to do their laundry! Weekenders were still coming in to work on their houses when they could. Would love to see Aunt Mimi or Davis’ family housing their country cousins from St. Bernard, and their pets!

    Maybe Big Chief will be the one to go, but never Davis or Antoine.

  13. April 18, 2011 4:53 pm

    A Dinneral Shavers stand-in. I can’t imagine taking out Antoine. It would leave to large a whole the in the structure. He’s tied together so many other characters. McAlary’s creative and tied into the music community is his own weird way. Unless they introduce a new musician character he walks in with a sight on his forehead. Introducing a Dinneral analogue (because he was also a music teacher) could provide an intro to the schools from the Black community side while Sofia gives entry to the privileged quasi-private school side of our Ayn Rand cum Sydicalist educational nightmare.

  14. April 18, 2011 4:56 pm

    Thanks, Doctor. If they go further into education, which I think they will, they have only four school age kids in the characters we already know: Sophie, who will go to Lusher/Franklin, LaDonna’s two boys, who are about the same age, and Darius. They could maybe contrast the educational options and situations Sophie finds herself in versus the three other kids’ options and situations, and their situations might be vastly different by virtue of their neighborhood or other factors. For instance we know LaDonna’s family is Catholic, so her boys end up in a parochial school while Darius goes to a Charter or RSD. Could be an interesting area to explore.

  15. Holleybe permalink
    April 19, 2011 6:25 pm

    I think you got it.

  16. April 20, 2011 6:45 pm

    when I heard the Simon tease that someone would die, I immediately thought Chief Lambreaux (though I couldn’t bear to lose Clarke Peters’ absence from television) and it does play nicely with the the Delmond conflict.

    One thing I think may be possible is Janette (who is the body at 0:16 and 0:27 of the extended season 2 trailer?) who we have seen get dumped on endlessly at every turn in season 1. Even though I think she is needed to build a connection to the restaurants and street vendors, that could be bridged some other way

    …..I dunno, but remember season 1 had us all on pins and needles wondering which scene Annie was going to get killed (we KNEW it was coming).

  17. April 21, 2011 9:34 am

    Melissa Leo/Toni. She just won an Oscar so I imagine the time commitment of a regular series could be problematic career-wise. Little Orphan Sophia.

  18. April 24, 2011 12:49 am

    Found this on HuffPo, which would appear to lay to rest once and for all the idea that Annie is gonna get chopped up and cooked:

    Repulsed and worried, knowing that Simon is capable of telling such a mortifying tale after having seen him capture Baltimore’s underbelly in The Wire, Micarelli finally had to find out Annie’s fate. Simon assured her Annie is not based on Addie. In the Season 2 premiere, NOPD Lt. Terry Colson (David Morse) references that grisly slaying, forever putting the Annie/Addie rumors to rest.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-bialas/lucia-micarelli-separates_b_850315.html

    My gut would tell me that Dinneral Shavers’ death (as well as Helen Hill’s) will be referenced as historical fact, rather than fictionalized. There are too many community and political events tied up in that, most notably the Stop the Violence march which I understand they recreated for Treme.

  19. April 24, 2011 2:34 pm

    My money is on a Sofia overdose with Sonny as her supplier.

  20. Holleybe permalink
    April 25, 2011 12:31 pm

    That would sure put Toni/Leo into the river next!

  21. April 26, 2011 4:34 pm

    Me and the wife talked about this. She thought of Davis, but you can’t kill the court jester. I bet they whack Nagin.

    The question is how? Shaving accident that accidentally lops off his head? Roux explosion? Or maybe he just gets popped “keeping the brand out there?”

    Now that would indeed be “wrapping my troubles in dreams …”

  22. May 6, 2011 8:56 am

    I have a couple of new theories for the Death Pool:

    Janette takes gets killed in NYC. That scene on the subway with the three cut edit that sounded like a shot with each closer cut struck me as one of those scenes we’ll look back at and say we shoulda seen it coming. She could get it on the Subway, the street, or be killed by one of her string of pathetic bedmates she’s been bringing home. The last one robbed her. The next one? It would also be a good counterpoint for what’s shaping up to be a crime oriented season on Treme and would be great for pointing out that we’re not the only city that has crime issues. Besides, I don’t see her having enough money to open a restaurant in NY, although hope springs eternal, and I’m not sure if she’d come back to NOLA with her tail between her legs. When she said this town beat her, could it be that NY does the same only worse? That the storm claimed another victim and that all the victims weren’t necessarily still here? (Loved her reading the GQ article though. Wasn’t there a price on that guy’s head for a while after that?)

    OR it could be my poor Sonny, Sonny, Sonny. As I said in one post here, he knows he’ll never be first rate in this town. When he put that flyer on the board in the shop and he sees that little kid playing so well, he knows that he didn’t grow up with that music in his bones and there, in the eye and fingers of a little boy he sees his future competition. I don’t think he’d be another suicide, but he could find playing solo on the street a bit dicey. Maybe next time someone shoots him for his tip jar.

    I do think poor LaDonna’s mom is going to leave us. Her closing of the gate was so sad. I think that will be the death knell for LaDonna’s marriage too as I just can’t see her becoming a Baton Rouge housewife. The elderly fared particularly badly, so I think we’ll probably lose her.

    Whoever posted the comment using the word “Simonized” was brilliant and I’m totally co-opting the term. I don’t think LaDonna’s mom is the one that will be most prominent. I think it’ll be one of the other two.

  23. Dexter St. Jacques permalink
    May 14, 2011 7:54 pm

    Wait…there was a heroin overdose epidemic at Lusher and Franklin? I’m having trouble finding news coverage on that.

  24. May 14, 2011 11:46 pm

    Dexter: January 2008. Seven kids overall in New Orleans, including at least one at Lusher and one a recent Franklin grad:

    http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2008/04/death_struck_many_in_no_heroin.html

    My kids were at Lusher at the time, so it was pretty scary. I hear a lot from my daughter about how many kids were medicating with heroin at the time, and how many medicated their grief over the OD deaths with even more drugs.

  25. June 19, 2011 1:40 pm

    Pelecanos tonight.

    We’ve seen Sonny rehabilitated as a character, we’ve seen evidence that the past sober Sonny was a guy who puts himself at risk to help total strangers, we’ve seen him get shot at and live. Would be just like him to try to help a total stranger (like, say, some volunteer from the Midwest) being robbed and end up getting killed himself. And then there would be no big funeral for him because even though he’s getting respect as a musician for the first time, he’s still pretty much nobody in that town.

  26. June 19, 2011 2:03 pm

    Good theory, Ray. Really good. Maitri and I have one of our own but we’re keeping it under our hats since no one has mentioned it anywhere in the comments this week. We’ll see. But I agree. Pen of Pelecanos has to be tonight. I don’t think they’ll wait til the last episode.

  27. June 19, 2011 9:09 pm

    Y’all are leaning too hard for something that makes some kinda sense. I’ma bet whoever it is, ain’t gonna make sense.

  28. June 19, 2011 9:21 pm

    Yeah yeah I know. But they always make sense after the fact. Wallace, Bodie, Omar, Stringer, Frank Sobotka, Creighton? Were clearly doomed.

  29. June 19, 2011 11:40 pm

    Harley made no sense AT ALL, which helped me understand the term “senseless killing” a bit more. To be honest, I initially thought “Oh no, not Steve Earle, but he plays a bit of a supporting character.” As time passed and I thought about it, to have gone through The Flood and This Machine Floats only to be killed on the street like that. And his murder will probably go unsolved. It’s really the story of New Orleans ca. early 2007 in a nutshell.

  30. Celesteluna permalink
    June 20, 2011 2:39 am

    Pelicanos line for Harley “I’m gonna walk her to St. Claude” was all I needed to hear. Who walks on St. Claude??? Annie was falling for him, she was in love with her teacher. He was singing “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive”. They can’t bring him back to life, he was shot in the head.
    And while we’re at it, what is LaDonna doing with that big fat Mercedes in front of GiGi’s?
    And of course her husband is turning on her. It didn’t take long.

  31. June 20, 2011 8:38 am

    @Celesteluna: Yeah, “I’m gonna walk her to St. Claude” that late in the show triggered the NoNoNoNo response in a lot of us. I don’t think LaDonna’s husband is turning on her as much as he is kicking her in the rear to get moving. There’s nothing to turn on when he has little use for New Orleans and the bar, and he wants his wife back. Note that it was this treatment, not “Awwww, baby, can I get you another blanket?” that got her riled up and her ass out of that couch. Larry’s not stupid.

  32. June 20, 2011 5:43 pm

    @Ray But I was looking forward to seeing Bodie working with McNulty to take down the Stanfield organization in Season 5.

  33. 3Suns permalink
    June 20, 2011 8:18 pm

    I’ve watched The Wire series at least 5 times through, and I never dug into who was writing which episodes, and I certainly didn’t know that David Simon had a “hitman”.

    I know that David pulls no punches, so I expect any character at any time, to experience whatever the story requires. This is the first death in a Simon show, however, that I anticipated not because of something that happened within the drama itself, but because of an external factor that provided a clue.

    I feel like I just saw the old man behind the curtain, pullin’ levers and turning dials. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not complaining about the content of this post, or the fruit that deconstruction yields, but I recognize that not knowing has its advantages, too.

    Now I gotta get Pelecanos’ new book, The Cut.

    (and thanks for the link on Annie/Micarelli above – great read!)

  34. Kick me permalink
    June 21, 2011 4:32 pm

    Maybe Earle asked for a hiatus to tour and got the Goodman-skidoo.

  35. June 21, 2011 4:38 pm

    Why does everybody always want to think the story is just serving the personal needs of the actors?

  36. Alex Rawls permalink
    June 21, 2011 4:39 pm

    Hiatus – probably not. He’s just going on tour now when the season’s done shooting and off until the end of hurricane season. Goodman was hired knowing Creighton wasn’t scheduled to live the full season, and I suspect Earle knew too.

  37. brueso permalink
    June 21, 2011 6:26 pm

    Actually, I think Simon and Eric O. were hoping they could get Goodman to stick around longer but Goodman had only promised 1 season and didn’t want to budge.

  38. Alex Rawls permalink
    June 21, 2011 6:35 pm

    That’s not what Simon said when I interviewed him:

    We went to John knowing we were doing that with the character and pitched that to him as the arc. Once we were working with John, he was a delight. Eric and I joked, “Eh, maybe we don’t have to….” But we knew we had to. It wasn’t because we were going to lose John; it was what the story required.

  39. brueso permalink
    June 21, 2011 6:38 pm

    Ack! My bad!

  40. June 23, 2011 9:43 am

    Everything you ever wanted to know about killing Harley:

    http://www.nola.com/treme-hbo/index.ssf/2011/06/today_in_treme_steve_earle_exi.html

    The actors don’t kill people, the story does.

  41. June 23, 2011 11:09 am

    Read that earlier Ray. Loved the “put a vampire in it” exchange.

  42. June 23, 2011 11:15 am

    My money is on Liguori as the head vampire.

  43. June 23, 2011 11:18 am

    I’m waiting for Liguori (for once I spelled it right!) to devour/ruin Nelson after using him up. A girl can hope.

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