The following is a review of the The Wire (2002-2008).
Regarded by many as one of the greatest T.V. dramas of all time, The Wire centers around the Baltimore's inner city drug scene. The show focuses on all aspects of crime, from the junkies and dealers to the police and politicians. While much of the show deals with The Baltimore Police Department, calling it a cop show would be an understatement.
The main character of the show is the city of Baltimore itself. Everyone else just plays a role in highlighting the decay of this American city. Each season focuses on a different aspect of the city. While the police and drug dealers are the main focus, it also showcases the longshoreman of the docks, the education system, and the media. The scope of the show is truly one of the biggest I've seen.
Now that I'm finished with the whole series, I can definitely understand why it's so highly regarded. Creator David Simon knew what he was doing. It's a great show with something important to say. It's got top notch writing, acting to go along with terrific storytelling and important themes. The show built real characters with real problems. It's not all black and white. Sometime we feel ourselves rooting for the drug dealers and hating the cops. It makes us think. That's the brilliance of The Wire.
I respect it for what it did, however, it's a hard to show to enjoy. For one, it's not flashy or all that exciting. The show focuses on ultra realism and things take a long time to develop. There aren't many shootouts or car chases, just good old fashioned police work, and that takes time. The show unfolds more like a novel than your typical TV show. There aren't nearly as many "Wow!" moments as other shows out there. While I appreciate the realism, as a viewer, I'd still like a little more payoff.
The show doesn't hesitate to add or remove important characters. Almost each season brings brings in a new collection of interesting characters while pushing off older ones to the side. The story dictates who we see.
Personally, this part was a little frustrating because I'd like to see the characters we've known since the beginning. It's hard to see them disappear for a Season as the focus shifts to a different aspect of the city. It's a bold move, and based on the whole scope of the series, it's understandable. It's just different than most shows. Still, the show created two of the most memorable characters we've ever seen in Stringer Bell and Omar Little. It's unbelievable how the show was able to manage all of these characters and story lines. It's a true masterwork in writing.
The Wire is a great show, but one that's hard to like. But I still respect and appreciate it for it was trying to do. It deserves the all the recognition it's received.
*Standout seasons include Season 1, Season 3, and Season 4*