We Have to Kill Again

We've blogged about the HBO drama the Wire before, but I wanted to share that I'm so glad McNulty is back in the starting line-up.

Mark Bowden's recent Atlantic article, the Angriest Man in Television, criticizes the series for dwelling on the negative aspects of Baltimore's ghetto... with all due respect to Mr. Bowden, it's a ghetto. How hard are we supposed to look for happiness and light?

As The Wire unveiled its fourth season in 2006, Jacob Weisberg of Slate, in a much-cited column, called it “the best TV show ever broadcast in America.” The New York Times, in an editorial (not a review, mind you) called the show Dickensian. I agree with both assessments. “Wire-world,” as Simon calls it, does for turn-of-the- millennium Baltimore what Dickens’s Bleak House does for mid-19th-century London. Dickens takes the byzantine bureaucracy of the law and the petty corruptions of the legal profession, borrows from the neighborhoods, manners, dress, and language of the Chancery courts and the Holborn district, and builds from them a world that breathes. Similarly, The Wire creates a vision of official Baltimore as a heavy, self-justified bureaucracy, gripped by its own byzantine logic and criminally unconcerned about the lives of ordinary people, who enter it at their own risk. One of the clever early conceits of the show was to juxtapose the organizational problems of the city police department with those of the powerful drug gang controlling trafficking in the city’s west-side slums. The heads of both organizations, official and criminal, wrestle with similar management and personnel issues, and resolve them with similarly cold self-interest. In both the department and the gang, the powerful exploit the weak, and within the ranks those who exhibit dedication, talent, and loyalty are usually punished for their efforts.

There are heroes in The Wire, but they’re flawed and battered. The show’s most exceptional police officers, detectives Jimmy McNulty and Lester Freamon, find their initiative and talent punished at almost every turn. Their determination to do good, original work disturbs the department’s upper echelons, where people are heavily invested in maintaining the status quo and in advancing their own careers. The clash repeatedly lands both of them in hot water—or cold water; at the end of the first season, the seasick-prone McNulty is banished to the city’s marine unit. What success the two attain against Baltimore’s most powerful criminals is partial, compromised, and achieved despite stubborn and often creative official resistance. |The Angriest Man in Television - Atlantic|
I love the Wire, but I can never figure out if I'm supposed to be rooting for the cops or the drug dealers.

So I just root for Omar instead.

Ok, maybe I shouldn't blog while drunk...

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