I am hooked. I am only now renting The Wire and in the middle of season 3 (so, don’t give anything away). I don’t know that The Wire is my favorite show, but I will agree with most critics to proclaim it is probably the best show ever made. It won a plethora of awards, but was declared to be too complex for the mass American public to understand.
While I thoroughly enjoy the scenic similarities to Gran Torino, this show uses all of its seasons to examine each system within the American city. The show is set in Baltimore, but every character and system is reflective of any modern American city. This show has no fear of political incorrectness; it goes after every subject matter. I am in awe that the show is able to humanize each character, but is primarily focused on how each system fits into the other.
Sometimes living in a transitional neighborhood forces my view into tunnel vision – I get focused for a few projects, but forget the larger systems. Season 3 has introduced a police major, six months away from his pension, who is beginning to turn typical cynicism into a questioning of the point of a war on drugs. He notes that drinking from paper bags was the solution to drinking in public, and is determined to use a new method to keep ancillary crime down while creating a “paper bag” for drugs. The major finds a blighted street, and makes an agreement with the mid-level drug lieutenants that, if they stick to dealing on that deserted street and cause no other problems, the police will leave them alone. I don’t know how this plan will play out, but this police major is probably my favorite character yet. At a point in his life where he has nothing to lose, he starts to question the systems (both the police force and the greater idea of a war on drugs) to which he has devoted his life and effort.