Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Wire

Please forgive my deviation from the Soccer theme, but . . .

Tonight is the night, the Fifth and final season of The Wire begins on HBO at 8:00 p.m. This Baltimore based show is one of the finest television programs ever. It benefits from the writing of Dennis Lehane, Richard Price, and (my fav) George Pelecanos. Each season the show focuses on decaying urban institutions:

Season One - Corruption in the Police Force

Season Two - Unions

Season Three - Politics

Season Four - Public School System

Season Five - The Media

Woven throughout these themes is The Game - the drug trade with its kingpins, soldiers, touts, enforcers, hitmen, users, and the stick-up artists. The producers of The Wire - David Simon and Ed Burns - are a former Baltimore Sun crime beat reporter and a former Baltimore City Homicide Detective/School Teacher, respectively. David Simon spent 1988 with the Baltimore City Police Homicide Department and wrote the book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streeta which was the source of the NBC series Homicide: Life on the Streets. Several years later, David Simon and Ed Burns joined up to write The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood.

Even the Washington Post's much jaded Tom Shales is a fan:

One of the aspects of Season Five I'm really looking forward to is the inclusion of Clark Johnson - who played the always interesting and understated Meldrick Lewis in Homicide: Life on the Streets. But also keep an eye on Dominic West and how he presents the alcoholic, cynical Baltimore POlease detective, James McNulty.

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