“All in the game yo, all in the game.” The Wire (2002-2008)


Interesting fact. During the democratic candidacy race Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were asked a somewhat trivial question. What is your favourite television show? Hillary’s answer? Greys Anatomy. Obama’s answer? The Wire.

The Wire? Sheeeeeeeeit!

Those who know me, know The Wire. At parties I will often assume the role of salesman wandering around asking “have you seen The Wire?”. Normally, the reply will be “no”, upon which I will spout an extended spiel praising it without even the faintest degree of objectivity. Rarely someone says, “yes” and our faces will light up and we talk about it at great length because being a Wire fan is like being in the coolest, secret club ever. Just as the drug dealers in the show push dope, I push The Wire. Its my duty to get people addicted to this show. Not that this is difficult, because The Wire is simply the best television you are ever likely to see. 

The first season begins with the somewhat simple focus on drug dealers and the Poh-leece trying to catch them. At first glance The Wire looks like a cop show, and in many respects it is the best police procedural since Homicide. But The Wire is much more, it is a portrait (as creator David Simon has said) of the American city and its decline. Across five seasons The Wire ceaselessly scrutinises different institutions within the city of Baltimore, Maryland. The central character is the city. Forget New York. Forget Los Angeles. The great American crime city is Bodymore, Murdaland. 

David Hepworth uses the analogy that The Wire extends its vision like the lens of a camera. With each season the lens widens. By the conclusion, your view is a panorama on a mind-boggling scale. The sheer scope of The Wire redefines the television narrative. Nelson George said it is not really a TV show but a sixty hour movie. Similarly, David Simon intended it as a visual novel. And the characters! Nowhere in television will you ever see a character with half the emotional clout of Bubbles, a fraction of the complexity of Stringer Bell and most significantly, where else will you find Omar, the Gangsta with a difference.

No episode can be missed, no scene talked over so that dialogue is obscured, no loud food can be consumed so as to distract from viewing. Rent it, steal it, borrow it, download it-hell-ask me I’ll lend it to you. Watch this goddamn show, it is monumental.


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