Columbia Sociology professor Sudhir Venkatesh, author of “Off The Books : The Underground Economy Of The Urban Poor” has previously hailed “The Wire” for shining a light on “nuances in the underground economy”. Writing Friday for the New York Times’ Freaknomics blog, Venkatesh watched Season Five’s third episode with “the usual cast of thugs from New York and New Jersey ” ex-gang members and drug dealers who prided themselves on being impervious to emotional outbursts”. Fuck. And I’m worried if I’ve got enough guacamole for Sunday night.

As soon as Butchie received the first of two gunshots to the knee, about 40 minutes into the show, a pall was cast over the assembled crew. Shine began the love-fest: œOh sh-t! I can™t believe they f”ed with my man. And I had tall respect for Snoop. He was referring to one of two henchmen Marlo had sent to forcibly obtain information from Butchie. œNever thought I™d see the day.

œOh sh-t! Orlando shouted. œButchie? He™s my boy. And a good, hard-working man don™t deserve this. He™s like my father.

After a final shot to the head claimed Butchie™s life, Flavor couldn™t hide his disappointment. œI say we find Snoop and that other [guy, Chris], beat their black a“ to death.

œIt™s a TV show, I said, sarcastically. I was surprised at the display of pro-Butchie sentiment.

I was thrown a œf“k you stare that only men with deep knowledge of hand-to-hand combat could give.

œWe all have a Butchie, Kool-J explained, rubbing his hands through his hair as he grasped the gravity of Butchie™s death. œOne time, I got $10,000 worth of product stolen. I was held up. I had to make a payment to my bank [loanshark] in two days and I didn™t have any money. Problem was I was already late once ” cost me a broken wrist. This time I was going to be shot in the knee, maybe even worse than that. My friend Buster got this real estate guy to loan me $10,000, at 30 percent interest, but it saved my life. Buster was my Butchie.

Tony-T raised his drink in the air. œMany a time I called this man named Jo-Jo, he said. œEighty years old, and that [guy] knew every cop in Harlem. Whenever I had somebody out to kill me, Jo-Jo always got me a safe house. To Butchie! a [man] for all [men]. The others calmly raised their drinks. Orlando threw up a clenched fist. I searched for a box of Kleenex to pass around.