Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Quick Look: "The Wire"

The Wire (2002-2008) had the misfortune of being aired on television during the same time period as HBO's signature series, The Sopranos (1999-1997). Both series also had huge casts and were both able to brilliantly weave several narratives into a single story. The Wire, lead by Dominic West, featured a cast of unknowns who have gone on to achieve greater success. Fans of the show are quite loyal to these actors, as we have seen Lance Reddick star on Fringe, Amy Ryan receive an Oscar nomination for Gone Baby Gone, Idris Elba who gained acclaim for his starring role in the BBC series Luther, and my personal favourite, Michael K. Williams has parlayed his success into a recurring role on another HBO series, Boardwalk Empire.

Set in modern day Baltimore, The Wire blurs the line between good and evil. On the surface, it is a series about the police trying to take down a drug syndicate, but it explores the characters and their lives and intentions. Each of the five seasons focuses on a different issue in Baltimore: the drug trade (season 1); the port (and its involvement in the drug trade) (season 2); politics and and the legalization of drugs (season 3); the school system and the mayoral election (season 4); and finally the media and its role (season 5).

The Wire is a fantastic series with a dynamic cast and an impressive scope. There is a lot going on at once and it may take a while to get a full grasp, but it a series well worth the time to discover.

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