by Kim Van Sickler
For Christmas last year my brother Mike gave me and my husband all five seasons of the HBO juggernaut The Wire, which ran from 2002-2008. "This is the finest television show, ever," he promised. We started watching it shortly thereafter, selecting times when my youngest daughter wasn't around, due to the show's extremely adult subject matter. It was slow going at first. Season One focuses on the drug trade in the Baltimore, MD area. So many characters were introduced, and it seemed they were all African-American and speaking in the code of their trade, whether they represented law enforcement or drug traffickers. Will we ever catch on? I wondered.
|Season One of The Wire|
Season Two hones in on the workings of the Baltimore seaport, including the longshoremen, European gangsters, and the port authority police. Season Three spotlights city government. Season Four features the public schools. Season Five takes on the Baltimore Sun daily newspaper. Some of the characters carry over from one season to another, but in varying degrees. Some go away for awhile and come back again. It's a complicated dance of interconnectedness, but all with the same themes: Politics is rife everywhere. Good people get bogged down by the system. Good people turn bad under the pressure. Bad people sometimes succeed spectacularly.
|Season Four of The Wire|
Detective Shakima (Kima) Greggs is an openly gay Baltimore City detective. She deals with a lover who wants her to leave the dangerous world of undercover narcotics operations and become a father-figure to her lover's planned child—one that Shakima doesn't want. Shakima can parlay, drink, work, and whore with the most hardened cop. She's savvy on the job, but less smart when it comes to her personal life.
|Detective Kima Greggs on The Wire|
|Homicide Detective Bunk Moreland in The Wire|
|Criminal Omar Little on The Wire|
|Middle-schooler Micheal Lee on The Wire|
|Drug addict Bubbles on The Wire|
For a clip of the show, click here. (Every season a new variation of the theme song is recorded.)
And now for a tongue-in-cheek comparison on how The Wizard of Oz is grittier than The Wire, click here.
And for a Funny or Die version, click here