“The f*** is you thinkin’?” Stringer Bell would ask, incredulously. You haven’t been able to spare a mere 60 hours of your life to absorb this socially-aware, brilliantly commentative masterwork? To meet all of its characters and, amazingly, find yourself understanding and feeling each one’s personal woes and strife? To reach one of those exhilarating moments when a slowly-building story arc pays off in spades and devastates every other story arc in its wake? Oh, man. That sucks.
“I don’t like cop shows,” you’ll say. They all say that. I say that, too. F*** the cop shows. Those 43-minute schlock pieces where the case is presented from start to finish in a neat little package, filled to the brim with pseudoscientific/legal jargon and pithy one-liners? Straight garbage. The Wire’s not like that at all, bro-man. It’s HBO. It’s different.
It’s 5 interwoven seasons touching on the personal plight of the average cop, detective, drug dealer, drug addict, lawyer, mayor, journalist, dock-worker, teacher, and kingpin in a small Rust Belt city in the United States. Namely: Baltimore, Maryland.
The obscurity of Baltimore alone should pique anyone’s interest; New York and Los Angeles have, by now, become cliché locales for police drama shows and movies. Filming on-location in a city like “Bodymore Murdaland” just feels much more down-to-Earth. More believable. Did I mention how believable this show was?
Murders, investigations, raids and prosecutions all take time to develop. The payoff isn’t instantaneous, it’s earned. You realize early-on in the series that your patience is rewarded handsomely and, while grim, the story only escalates as it continues. Someone’s back-talk gets them killed a few episodes later. A plot element that you were already aware of gets discovered by the police and the whole case unravels from there. One character’s dirty trick comes back to bite them after a whole season. It’s beautifully calculated. Read this HBO The Wire review.
The level of satisfaction you’ll gain from watching it just can’t be described. In fact, you’re really doing yourself a disservice by not watching it, dude. I mean it. I’m just trying to help. You know how, when you were in high school and everyone told you to watch Fight Club, and you were like, “Yeah, sure, someday,” and when you finally did, it blew your f***ing mind and made you feel like the smartest guy in the room? Yeah, it’s like that, only in greater abundance and concentration. You’ll hate yourself for having waited so long.
I assure you: The first episodes begin slow but, once you’ve found the groove, you won’t be able to watch just one anymore. You’ll watch episodes in blocks. Swaths. Marathons, even.
It’s been 5 years since it ended. You need to cut the excuses and watch this. Now.