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The Wire

Posted by phduffy on 2005-11-20 09:36:18
2 forum posts
Okay, this isn't actually a movie, but I watched it on a DVD, so I figured this was the best place to put it.

I recently finished watching Season 1 of the Wire. The Wire is an HBO cop show (which means they can say fuck and show people's asses) that follows one team of police as they work on one, and only one, case. We also get alot of shots of the criminals the police are chasing.

The setup is this: Detective McNulty is a homicide who's very good at his job, but kind of ignores the protocal and pisses all his superiors off. Not that he beats up suspects or anything, but he takes cases that aren't his and sticks his nose in where it doesn't belong. He talks to a judge friend of his, and mentions the name Avon Barksdale, a new drug lord of Baltimore's West Side.

The judge phones up the police superiors and asks them what's being done about Avon Barksdale. And none of the police superiors have even heard the name.

So, the police assemble a team to track them all down. Officer Daniels, a solid cop from Narcotics, is put in charge, along with one his fellow narcotics officers. Also assigned to the team are two drunk old cops, two hot head young cops, an incompetent cop who's only still around because his uncle is high up in the cop chain of command, a homicide cop who's only there to spy on McNulty and see him screw up, so that his boss can fire him, an undercover cop from narcotics, and a cop from the pawn shop unit. This is not exactly the A-Team, McNulty and Daniels' superiors have essentially given them a team that's designed to fail.

Meanwhile, Avon Barksdale has just assigned his nephew D'Angelo Barksdale, the job of running the drug business in the projects, a demotion from running the drugs in the High Rises, where he was before mudering someone, and spending 8 months in jail before being found not guilty.

The Wire spends the season following the lives of its characters and the case they're working. I assume that this is the most realistic protrayal of policing that's ever been put to film, although not being a cop I can't know. You may have thought that shows like NYPD Blue were realistic, but after watching one episode of the Wire you'll see how much more real it seems.

And that's somewhat depressing, as the policing world is shown to be one where the people who advance are not the best cops, but rather the best ass kissers and networkers. Cops in this show are openly rooting for other cops to fail, so that they can see the other cop go down. In fact, I mentioned earlier that one of the cops on the Barksdale team is from the pawn shop unit. He's a fantastic cop, who was assigned to pawn shops from homicide after he refused to take it easy on the son of a politician. That's the kind of bullshit that goes on with policing.

I don't have many complaints about The Wire, but I'll give a few.
At times, the pace is a little slow. I think they could have told the story in 12 episodes, rather than 14. That's about my only complaint. The only other fault I have is more a fault of my own. With such a large number of characters, and with most of them known by their last names or nicknames (Herc and Daniels and Omar and Poot and WeeBay etc) it's sometimes hard to keep track of who is who when characters are talking about other characters.

Other than that, not much wrong with the show, and I can't wait to get season 2, and hopefully season 3 will come out on DVD soon.
  2 forum posts