I’m breaking with tradition here, on this illustrious post for perhaps the greatest work to be put on film since the millienum. The Wire will be studied as one of the finest works in the history of TV.
I was educated about The Wire while I was at college, when a group of my friends said that there was a new show that was about Baltimore and the cops and criminals of the city. I recently decided to watch the first episode again, which prompted the writing of this essay.
What I had forgotten about the series is how it starts so quickly. The characters that figure into the show are pretty quickly established, and the complex relationships and history are deeply into the show. Whenever I introduce people to the show, I forget how much you need to get accustomed to the way that people talk and the relationships. You also need a deep understanding of the social order and social systems that are in place in Baltimore.
The series is truly an education in how the drug game works, and how large organizations thrive on the talents and inertia of the people who are involved in them. Each institution has cultural and structural biases, creating deep seated ambivalence toward the smaller people within the organizations themselves.
This lofty and overblown way of describing it probably is discounting the actual greatness of it. Some of the best parts of the show are the tiny little asides that come from characters interacting with each other. Every person in the show has their day. The people you think of as villians rarely are pure evil, and the good guys arent above doing shady things to get what they need. The actors inhabit the characters so well that every time you see them, you’ll call them by their character names. Littlefinger, from Game of Thrones, will forever be known as Tommy Carcetti to me. The Bunk is The Bunk.
If you have never seen the show, I cannot reccomend it more highly. It is one of the finest shows ever put to film. You should seek it out. You should watch it. Marvel at it. You will be deeply moved.