Realness of The Wire


This was the first time I have seen The Wire (I feel like I’ve said that about every series so far this semester), but it was also the first time I have watch a show that depicted life so realistically. There is no music to set the mood because the characters and the streets provide enough of that in better detail. There is only one actor I vaguely recognize, McNaulty, and I’m not even sure where he is from. The use of unknown actors who look like they are from the street adds to the sense of realness depicted in the series. It unfolds slowly. So far I feel that, while there are underlying themes and continuing storylines like the mayoral election, for the most part it seems as if the point of the show is to illustrate the daily life of the streets. It tends to focus more on the interactions between the cops and the kids and the kids with each other.

One event stuck out to me from the first episode. One boy told another to deliver a message to yet another boy telling him to meet at the playground that night. Later we see the boy in the playground and realize he is surrounded by a group who ultimately kill him, and the boys who delivered the message realizes it shortly after. The entire encounter between each of the characters shows the danger of the streets, in that simply by being there you place yourself in the middle of a potentially dangerous encounter. This boy asked for nothing and had nothing to do with what happened, but by delivering the message to the other to meet at the playground, he becomes an accomplice to the murder through no fault of his own.

Additionally the interplay of politics with the neighborhoods is intriguing. It is a commentary on race, but also on relationships between cops and government. I wish I had seen earlier seasons so that I had more of a frame through which to view the show. I was extremely confused in the opening scene, having no idea what to expect the show to be about anyway, and then seeing it open with buying a nail/staple gun (I can’t remember which, though I do remember seeing it reappear later in the episode shortly after the murder in the playground). Overall, I like the way that The Wire deals with the presentation of reality, despite at first being uncomfortable with the reality displayed. I am interested to see how the show progresses.


One Response to “Realness of The Wire”

  1. Administrator Says:

    Yes, you’ve picked up on a pattern in Season Four–the boys are sucked into the “system” without being given any clear moral choices. Well, one of them may get such a choice, but I won’t spoil anything for you.

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