|Wendell Pierce and Dominic West in 'The Wire.'|
Initially, I tried it out and for whatever reason, didn't stick with the cerebral HBO drama past its initial sixty minutes of the HBO drama. I suspect there are many like myself who opted to watch the exploits of depressed gangster Tony Soprano in New Jersey than the bleak interactions of criminals and police within the crime-riddled streets of Baltimore Maryland. "The Wire" wasn't as watercooler but make no mistakes, is every bit the as great as "The Sopranos." Need proof? To this day, it's always one of those shows that wind up on every conceivable critic's 'BEST FREAKIN' SHOWS EVER' list. And even after all that, it somehow, still managed to pass me by.
Years passed. I had the entire series just waiting for me, shrink-wrapped, and beckoning. Me? I was planning to delve into the show if I had ever broken a leg and was couch-bound. Well, I never broke the leg, but recently, I caved and after plumetting through the initial set up, I was in. Hook, line and sinker...
Granted, the series takes a few episodes to introduce a multitude of characters but, if you can hang that long, the payoffs begin to swifty arrive.
There's nothing I can say here that will possibly do it any more justice than the plethora of of scribes that have already sang its praises so I'll just add: Apart from "Treme" (also created by "The Wire" showrunner Joe Simon), no other show I've ever watched is as multi-layered, complex, frustrating and powerful. It's a novel exploding into your television and shouldn't be dimissed as a mere "cop show." It's much more than that. Much more. In fact, many novelists provide the scripts including Richard Price, Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos.
I'll leave you with a video of one of the first season's benchmark scenes. In the fourth episode entitled "Old Cases," Baltimore Detetctives Jimmy McNulty and Bunk Moreland (Dominic West and Wendell Pierce) search an empty apartment for any uncovered clues that may have been left behind in the unsolved murder of a young woman named Diedre Kresson.
Here's the deal, though -- they reframe the violet events of the crime using only one word: "Fuck" (and other colorful variations of the curse). It's a doozy and a testament to how great the actors are and how powerful the writing is. Even with just one word.