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the wire

May 3, 2008

i recently acquired the wire season one from the library after having it on hold for about three months. this is the first good crime drama i have seen. it is artful, symbolic and fresh in its portrayal of the complexity of organized drug sales in urban america.

the show’s narrative structure exposes the viewer to the social hierarchies that often enable crime to go unpunished in local government. money and power are always in the wrong hands. amorality plagues both sides of the law. getting out of american ghettos is all but impossible. drug addiction, crime and corruption are tools to keep and increase of the power of those lucky to have been born into respectable social positions. for everyone else, these are the mechanisms providing for the stagnancy of society. sounds like louisiana. reminds me of my friend, david tarnow’s, neighbor – edwin edwards.

the show, since early in its creation, has been lauded by critics. jacob weisberg for slate magazine suggests that the wire is the best show in his “why the wire is the best show on television.”* viewing only the first of five seasons is not enough to agree. his presentation of the police slang is a reminder of the subtle humor that often slides by unnoticed.

The cops have their own language as well, in which a capable officer is “good police,” bystanders caught in the crossfire are “taxpayers,” and young boys up to no good are called “hoppers.”

a few of season one’s top scenes:


*make sure to read weisberg’s conclusion:

What ultimately makes The Wire uplifting amid the heartbreak it conveys is its embodiment of a spirit that Barack Obama calls “the audacity of hope.” It is filled with characters who should quit but don’t, not only the boys themselves but teachers, cops, ex-cops, and ex-cons who lose their hearts to them. This refusal to give up in the face of defeat is the reality of ghetto life as well. Feel me: It’s what The Wire is all about.

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