Toronto Mike

The Wire Season Five: A Review

The Wire

Last 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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