Sunday, August 09, 2009

I'm Ready for My Close-up, Mr. Pelecanos

Earlier, I wrote about how Raymond Chandler had a cameo role in Double Indemnity and provided some screen captures of the scene in which he appeared.

Today, I'm going to do something similar with another leading light of American crime literature. The writer? Dennis Lehane. The (small) screen vehicle? "Middle Ground," an episode from the third season of David Simon's The Wire.

This particular episode was written by George Pelecanos, which probably goes a long way towards explaining how Lehane came to be in it. Lehane plays Officer Sullivan, who works in the Baltimore Police Department's equipment locker. When Detective Jimmy McNulty goes down to the locker to find a sophisticated device for intercepting cell phone numbers from transmission towers, he finds Lehane in the guise of Officer Sullivan reading a "men's magazine":

The name of the magazine is Irish Lasses and--indeed--when we are treated to an over-the-shoulder shot of the periodical in question, we find that the young lady pictured is a redhead. Simon is on record as saying that the headline for the spread inside is titled, "James & Joyce: Portrait of the Pornstar and the Young Man," but somehow those details eluded me in my viewing of the scene.

McNulty identifies himself as being from the "major crimes" department and Lehane responds that he's from "minor irritations." McNulty asks if Lehane knows about the device he's looking for and gets nothing but a blank look in response.

McNulty asks if he can go inside the locker and look for the device for himself and, barely looking up, Lehane waves him on.

Lehane had too little screen time for me to determine if he has the chops to be a full-time actor, but at least can always fall back on his day job.


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