Addicts that we are, we tonight reached the end of the second season of The Wire. The scriptwriters (primarily David Simon) have done it again in writing into and then out of the series a wonderful character (see this post); on this occasion Frank Sobotka, a Polish-origin leader of a dock-workers’ union, who comes off worse in a power struggle with fellow Polish origin police Major Stan Valchek. Sobotka is a classic paternalist who¬†cares about his men and about their jobs. The port basin is silting up. He needs to work the system to get the basin dredged and the big ships back. That means bribes, paid for by theft from the container port, but always ‘clean’ crime (and never drugs or people trafficking). What fun they had writing this character! Here he is, philosophising about his wrongdoing; ‘I knew it. I knew I was wrong. In my head I thought I was wrong for the right reasons.’ And here he tries to justify his workaholism to his neglected son; ‘It was all work, Zig, even when it wasn’t.’ And here he echoes my Cambridge, Massachussetts, cab driver (see this post)’s analysis of the American economy: ‘You know what the problem is? In this country we used to make shit, build shit. Now we just put our hands in each others’ pockets.’ I shall miss him!