The Wire: Season 1 (HBO, 2002)

Wow! My initial impression of The Wire and its opening salvo can be compounded into this one word and an overall feeling of admiration. Like Six Feet Under and Deadwood, The Wire constructs a fascinatingly inclusive environment of characters, in this case the drug dealers of West Baltimore and the local Narcotics Unit attempting to bust them. But the veins of story don’t stop there. The Wire spreads to the political spectrum, the legal angle, and potentially so much more (I’ve learned that the proceeding seasons enter other areas of social struggle around town, i.e. schools, the wharf, city hall!). This epic television show does not merely comment on the contradictions of urban life, where dealers, Senators, and lawyers seem to be bound not by power or ideology, but by money. It’s so much more than that. The Wire, like many of Michael Mann’s films, sets out to present “the game” of criminals and cops, including the codes, boundaries, and consequences involved, and how life outside this professional realm isn’t nearly as satisfying. You aren’t alive unless you play “the game”, and at the same time it can end your life in a jarring, violent, sometimes unseen moment. Season 2 is on the horizon. Wow indeed.

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