The Wire Season Five: A Review

The WireLast night, I wrapped up episode 10 from Season Five of HBO's The Wire. That was the series finale and the 60th episode overall. I started with The Wire pilot back on March 9th which means I managed to burn through over 60 hours in less than six weeks. Addiction will do that to ya.

Season One was all about the Barksdale Organization and we spent those first 12 episodes on the streets of Baltimore and in the pit with Avon's crew. Season Two focused on the Baltimore port and an international smuggling organization known as "The Greeks". In Season Three, we returned to the streets, spending more time with the Barksdale organization and watching the rise of the Stanfield organization. Season Four was all about the kids. Season Five introduced the Baltimore Sun newsroom while remaining focuses on the Baltimore police department vs. the Stanfield organization.

I feel like I'm in mourning. I spent every night in Baltimore, immersed in the world of McNulty, Stringer Bell, Marlo, Chris, Snoop, Michael, Dukie, Naman, Carver, Herc, Bunny, Cheese, Bubbles, Greggs, D'Angelo, Daniels, Omar, Bodie, Carcetti, Freamon and Bunk. Hell, every character was memorable, and that list is just the tip of the iceberg.

Sometimes I think The Wire was about Jimmy McNulty. Other times I think The Wire is about Omar, or Barksdale / Stanfield. Then, I'm certain The Wire was about Bubs. Now that it's over, it's clear what The Wire is about. It's about Baltimore. It's about an American city, the drug trade, the port, the city government and bureaucracy, the school system, and the print news media. As David Simon said, it's "about how we live together. It's about how institutions have an effect on individuals, and how "whether you're a cop, a longshoreman, a drug dealer, a politician, a judge [or] lawyer, you are ultimately compromised and must contend with whatever institution you've committed to."

I once listed my ten favourite television shows of all-time. My top five was The Simpsons, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Oz. The Wire beats 'em all in terms of story, character development, acting and intelligence.

It's baffling to me that this show never won an Emmy. If you invest the time, I guarantee you'll be just as baffled.

Here's one of my favourite scenes, Bunk and McNulty investigating a homicide using only one word. It's NSFW.

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To fill the void I suggest "Dexter". All three seasons are great!

April 17, 2009 @ 4:28 PM

Toronto Mike

I've seen every episode of Dexter. It's enjoyable, but it always made me miss Six Feet Under.

April 17, 2009 @ 4:33 PM


I am glad that you enjoyed it, Mike.

As I have said many many many times before, it truly is the best show that TV has produced. I cannot say enough good things about it.
Again if you want to discuss how this ended offline, let me know.

One question: Did you pick up on something that the Wire did (or didn't do) that EVERY cop show before it has done?

Hint: It is what makes it so real.

April 18, 2009 @ 9:43 AM

Toronto Mike

Andrew, a mega thanks to you for lending me these five seasons on DVD. I sincerely miss the characters, the good and the bad... but then again, many of the good were somewhat bad and many of the bad were somewhat good.

I'll be able to get these DVDs back to you next week. I can't tell you how many people I know who have asked to borrow them next.

As for what makes The Wire different from other cops and robbers shows, I just replied via email.

Thanks again!!

April 18, 2009 @ 10:41 AM

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