“If Charles Dickens were alive today, he would watch ‘The Wire,’ unless, that is, he was already writing for it.”


The Wire is unlike any other, successful television show I have seen yet.   After all, most television shows have dominant love story arcs that keep viewers interested and engaged season to season.  However, The Wire is not like that that, for instead of planting a hook here and a twist there whilst intertwining a love story throughout, The Wire seems to capture the raw and “de-glamourized” existence of cops and drug dealers of everyday life on the Baltimore streets.

In shows like Castle for example, the bickering love saga between Richard Castle and Detective Beckett keeps viewers interested.  In The Wire when McNulty has sex with Rhoda Pearlman, no viewer would care to see more from that relationship.  After all, the relationship has not been drawn out over seasons like that of The Office’s Jim and Pam or Castle’s Castle and Beckett.  Instead, sex is closer to a transaction than a romantic engagement.  As unromantic as that scene was, the following frame mimics those sex moans when a young boy is shot in the leg and is groaning in pain.  Thus, it seems like the writers instantly bring the viewers back to the dark realities of the Baltimore streets, as if to say, “Cops don’t have time for anything semi-romantic, because they are constantly consumed by the jobs they do.”

This “unromanticized” realness separates The Wire from all other shows on television.  In fact, the intricate web of characters that make up their Baltimore, from the look out kids to the drug dealers to the flawed cops caught in the mix, make The Wire a real “slice of life” series.  As Nicholas Kulish of The New York Times stated, “if Charles Dickens were alive today, he would watch ‘The Wire,’ unless, that is, he was already writing for it” [1].  And I think Kulish is right in saying so.  After all, it’s not too hard to imagine a modern day Pip, a young and naïve orphan boy being raised by his brother-in-law and older sister, being part of The Wire’s complex web of characters.

Thus The Wire may be off-putting for those expecting a Jim and Pam story arc throughout the series; however, the realness, that has been left almost untouched by Hollywood glitz and glamour, somehow provides answers “even when it offers no solutions.”[2]

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/10/opinion/10sun3.html?_r=1


[2] Ibid.


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One Response to ““If Charles Dickens were alive today, he would watch ‘The Wire,’ unless, that is, he was already writing for it.””

  1. Administrator Says:

    Great post! And here’s a link to an online essay by my significant other that pursues the Dickens/The Wire connection. I’m the “insightful friend” BTW … http://standpointmag.co.uk/node/357/full

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