Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 120

due to the aggressive, dangerous nature of the job, contrasted with its relatively poor pay. Many other police officers in The Wire in addition to McNulty display traits of alcohol abuse, although generally not to his extent. However, the officers’ motivations are generally consistent, turning to alcohol to “mask emotions and … disguise their fears and frustrations” regarding their personal and professional lives, with the consumption of alcohol intended to reassert their masculinity (Chambers and Waldron 181). As with callous sexual attitudes and alcohol abuse, machismo is correlated with antisocial actions (Scharrer 616), embodied by McNulty in his habitual dismissal of authority. Throughout the series McNulty views himself as an underdog, attempting to solve crimes despite the limitations unfairly placed upon him by his bureaucratic superiors, whom he regards them as far less intelligent and qualified for police work than himself. In the third season episode “Slapstick” (11/21/2004), McNulty even goes as far to declare that he believes “there aren’t five swinging dicks in the entire department” capable of doing what he can. The “outlaw hero,” a particular version of the antihero archetype, is especially prominent in crime fiction. In such narratives, the protagonists’ own instincts towards justice are more authentic and valid than the legal establishments in which they are employed, commonly due to excessive bureaucracy or corruption (Parshall 135). Institutional dysfunction, and the frustration it produces amongst police officers such as McNulty, is a reoccurring motif in The Wire. Throughout the series, McNulty repeatedly circumnavigates the established chain of command, pressuring his superiors into initiating (or diverting resources towards) investigations that best suit his own interests. In The Wire, McNulty’s Irishness is racialized, as the Irish American ethnic group has since been identified as White American (Ignatiev 81). Most white police officers in the series identify as Irish American and are frequently seen listening to Celtic music and frequenting the Irish pub Kavanaugh’s, thus embracing their cultural heritage. In The Wire, Irish American masculinity is largely represented though “heroic resistance” (Meaney 13); McNulty explicitly likens himself to a hero in the fifth season episode “Clarifications” (2/24/08). In this season of the series, McNulty’s anti-authoritative rebelliousness influences him into fabricating a serial killer, in order to divert resources towa H]\HB\X\XY[YZ[Y[[X\[Y[ [Y[Y[8&\ܙ[^][ۈ\\ۜXH܈ޙ[و]\\B[[[ܙHXH]HY[[XH[\Y]H[HYHX›و[ˈ[8'܈]X][ۋ8'HXӝ[HY[\\X]BH[ܘ[H]YY[][]8'\Z\[&][\ۈHX[\X[[\X[&HX\&\Y\[ݙ\[HBL