centres on a rag tag police task force working together to bring
down drug kingpin Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris) in order to free the
city of Baltimore’s “Projects” area from his vice like grip. A one
sentence summary cannot hope to give justice to the dense and
compelling story that is The
Wire. This is not the black and white, good buys bad
guys cop drama we are used to seeing on television today. The good
guys aren’t always good and the bad guys aren’t always bad. Indeed
perhaps the biggest roadblock the team must overcome is not the
likes of Avon Barksdale but the politics of the police department
itself, keen on self preservation even to the detriment of the city
it claims to protect and serve.
has a documentary feel to it in that it actually feels like you are
watching events in real time, helped along by the fact that there is
no score, no musical cues clueing you in to the emotions of the
characters; a very conscious choice according to the creator
commentary. All the characters, on both sides of the law, are given
real and complex personalities through solid writing and fine acting
from an outstanding ensemble cast; Domini West (as Jimmy McNulty),
Sonja Sohn (As Shakima Greggs), Lance Reddick (as Cedric Daniels)
and Larry Gillard as (D’Angelo Barksdale) particular standouts.
A warning to
those with delicate constitutions,
The Wire contains
graphic violence, moderate drug use and a whole lot of swearing.
The first episode alone is very off putting due to the amount of
swearing it contains. However the coarse language does lessen to an
extent in following episodes, that or it is less noticeable the more
absorbed into the story you become.
for The Wire Season 1
are an episode index and 4 audio commentaries on key episodes. The
commentary’s feature creator Ed Simon, director Clark Johnson and
writer George P. Pelecanos who provide interesting facts about the
making of the show, and its origins in real life; notably many of
the characters are based on real world counterparts that series
co-writer Ed Burns met during his time years in the Baltimore police
force. Whilst informative it is best to leave listening to the
audio commentaries until after you have viewed all 13 episodes as
they do spoil plot points for both upcoming episodes and to a lesser
extent upcoming seasons.
seems almost tailor made for DVD. I can’t imagine having to endure
watching this show chopped up by censors, and interrupted by
commercials on free to air television. The story is so dense and so
involving it would be very hard to keep up with it week to week. As
commented on in the audio commentary
The Wire is more a novel
than a television show, each episode building on the last to create
a whole greater than the sum of its parts; it is rewarding
television of a high standard.
rewarding; television at its best - 4 out of 5 stars.