The Wire – It’s Fantastic

One of the really cool things about living in 2012 is that technology allows us to easily watch older shows without having to mess with DVDs. When it first aired, I missed out on HBO’s The Wire, but now using my Ipad and the HBO Go app, I’ve been able to watch the series from start to finish. If you like crime drama, The Wire is a must watch. Simply put, it is tremendous television.

For those that haven’t seen the show, the core conflict in the early seasons is the battle of wits between Baltimore’s finest and the city’s drug dealers. The constant struggle for the upper hand is referred to by both sides as “The Game”, and the police must use all their tools and talents to combat the surprisingly intelligent drug lords. Putting a dent in the drug trafficking is a difficult job for the police, first because they have to follow the rules when investigating and collecting evidence, and second because they often are hampered by the internal politics of the police department itself.

As of this writing, I’m halfway through season four. There are too many great characters to mention in one blog post, but Michael K. Williams’s Omar Little has become one of my favorite television characters of all time. Omar is just such a badass! He makes his living by ripping off Baltimore’s drug dealers. The man has got some stones. And the fact the character is gay creates a terrific dichotomy.

Naturally, The Wire reminds me of the old show, Homicide: Life on the Street. Both created by David Simon. Both set in Baltimore. And in both shows, every character is compelling in some way. Both series feature superb dialogue and story lines. In each, the grittiness of the streets is revealed through the various investigations, while at the same time we get a glimpse into the inner workings of a big city police operation. Homicide focused mostly on the homicide detectives, and the stories were told from their point of view, while the storylines in the Wire are broader and half the show is seen through the eyes of the criminals. The Wire shows us street level drug dealing, a mayoral election, crime down on the docks, and the struggle for power in the upper echelons of the city police department. And some other stuff I haven’t seen yet ;-).

OK, I need to stop writing this and get back to watching the rest of the series! And please, no spoilers in the comments :-).

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