Why You Should Watch The Wire

By Bryce Wilson 2006-10-18 00:00:00 discussion comments
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‘The Wire’ is the best show on television that you've never heard of.

Showing on HBO ‘The Wire’ has managed to be completely overlooked by everyone for four years. Supported only by a small but rabid (Think they make the Browncoats look sane) fanbase. So what is ‘The Wire’ and why aside from its inherent greatness should you care?

‘The Wire’ is a gritty completely unsentimalized look at all factions of American crime, taking place in a Baltimore that makes Fallujah look positively chummy in comparison. This show makes other so called "hardcore" HBO shows such as Deadwood or The Sopranoes look about as frightening as Sesame Street. How gritty and unsentimalized are we talking here? A homeless heroin addict is easily the most likable character, and by a very wide margin to.

‘The Wire’ follows every faction of American Crime in an objective and Altmanesque fashion. This season uses a heated mayrol election between the encumbent Black mayor of Baltimore Clarence Royce and white underdog Carcetti, as a catalyist, that reaches all strata of society. From the cops who try to do their job as The Mayor ties there hands to keep them from arresting their backers. To the criminals, who deal with a new kingpin who is breaking all the rules as he consolidates his power, aided by his two terrifying enforcers Snoop and Chris (who Stephen King so rightfully pegged "John Lee Malvo and John Muhammad, but smart.")

Meanwhile after getting the dirt on some political cronies of The Mayor, ‘The Wire’ of the title is shut down, and the officers assigned to it are scattered. Det. Kima Greggs and Morgan Freeman dead ringer, Det. Lester Freamon, wind up in homicide, only to find themselves AGAIN used as political pawns, first to cover up the murder of a states witness, and then to bring to the forefront.

Things aren't going much better on the civilian front either, retired Det. Roland Prez, is now working as a teacher and if anything finds it to be more dangerous. After a 13 year old girl gets her face sliced up with a razor in his class, Prez gets the good news, the girl wasn't HIV positive so even though she bled all over him as he tried to help her, he's no longer in any danger.

Yeah its that kind of dark. ‘The Wire’ sends a disturbing message that no one is innocent, everyone is comprimised, and if the fact that they are alive is more or less proof of that. I've barely scratched the surface of the Altmanesque laberynith that is ‘The Wire’. Everything works from the opening theme song where a gravel voiced woman sings about "keeping the devil down in the hole." as scenes of Urban blight pass by, to the hulking abandoned row house that swallows up the forgotten dead of the street. The Wire simply a masterpiece, a word I don't use lightly, and have never used before in reference to TV. You have got to see it to believe it.
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