TV Review “The Wire”

October 22, 2008


A television drama series created by David Simon, The Wire is set in Baltimore, Maryland; each season of the series focuses on a different part of the city. A group of characters, mainly in the Baltimore Police Department, appear in every season.  Quite simply the best police drama on TV.

Season 1 (HBO)

It starts out this way: Homicide detective Jimmy McNulty observes the murder trial of a mid-level drug dealer, D’Angelo Barksdale, and sees the prosecution’s star witness recant her testimony. McNulty recognises drug king-pin Stringer Bell in the court room and believes he has manipulated the proceedings. McNulty circumvents the chain of command by talking to the judge, who then places pressure on the police department over the case … (Ref)

A little dated now (2002), but I think that was intentional at the time – in order to paint the picture of a department and city starved for resources.

Season 2 (HBO)

Now centred on the wharves, but still with an angle of the drug trade in the slums.

It continues: Jimmy McNulty is sidelined to harbor patrol. He discovers a corpse in the harbor and pays back Colonel Rawls by proving City Homicide are responsible for the investigation. Major Valchek feels slighted when the boss of a local stevedore union named Frank Sobotka donates a more impressive gift to a local Polish church. Sobotka meets with other union leaders and learns that a crucial pier is still in a state of disrepair … (Ref)

Put aside a weekend.

Season 3 (HBO)

Why does it have it end!

The season starts .. midway into the Major Case Unit’s unsuccessful investigation into the Barksdale criminal enterprise. With their recent efforts fruitless, ASA Pearlman and Lieutenant Daniels consider dropping the wiretaps, to the dismay of the squad. Meanwhile, Ellis Carver finds himself in command of an incompetent group of policemen in the Western district … (Ref)

Gritty, character driven and harsh.

Season 4 (HBO)

This season focusses on the ailing / flaling Baltimore school system.  Organised crime and the drug trade is a constant thread. 

Four West Baltimore boys wrestle with what to do with the rest of their summer vacation. When unkempt outcast Duquan “Dukie” Weems is beaten up by a neighbouring group of children. Michael Lee is the quiet leader of the group’s retaliation. Randy Wagstaff has the imagination to plan the endeavour. Namond Brice is the most outspoken and the richest of the four … (Ref)

No more needs to be said.

Season 5 (HBO)

Media and media consumption get the spotlight in this season. Whilst some of the subjects covered by The Wire gave me cause for hesitation (disinterest), I have to say that each one was executed with an integrity and level of detail that demanded attention.

It starts: The Stanfield Organization continues to operate despite a year of surveillance by the Major Crimes Unit. Education budget deficits and ambitions to become Governor leave Mayor Carcetti forced to make funding cuts. His broken promises to the police department destroy morale and cause the closure of the Major Crimes Unit. (Ref)

Why only four stars and not five?  Well, it ended! (hmphh!)

Links: IMDB | Amazon | Metacritic

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About Justin Moss

An information and engineering technologist. Unabashedly opinionated, open-minded and an oft overthinker. Born Sydney Australia, home of the 'Southerly Buster'

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One Response to “TV Review “The Wire””

  1. 3DTV Says:

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