The Wire, Season One – Trendsetting
Back in 2002, HBO was really in a groove. They had already introduced people to what really goes on in prison (OZ), a funeral home (Six Feet Under) and a New Jersey mob family (The Sopranos). While this was all well and good, it wasn’t until David Simon and Ed Burns (not that Ed Burns) took us to…..West Baltimore? that things really started getting good. It’s hard to believe that the best show ever made that no one watched is ten years old now, and that show is “The Wire.”
While I could sum up the entire series in one review, I feel “The Wire” deserves much more respect than that so I will be covering HBO’s finest show over the course of six reviews (one for each season, including a wrap-up review where I’ll rank each season as well as rank the top ten characters on the show). With that said, on with the show.
“The Wire” was conceived after HBO aired “The Corner,” a six-part miniseries that chronicled a poverty-stricken family trapped in a drug-addled neighborhood of West Baltimore. Many actors from “The Corner” also appear in “The Wire” almost making the former a prequel of sorts to the latter.
Season one introduces us to the Barksdale family, a power drug-dealing crew that pretty much has West Baltimore under their control, and the West Baltimore police, lead by Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West), a renegade cop with a drinking problem. Most of the series’ main characters are introduced in the first season, including favorites Stringer Bell (Idris Elba) and Omar Little (Michael Williams).
Each season focuses on a different aspect of the greater Baltimore area, with season one focusing more on how the Barksdale Crew operates, and the methods the police use to try and curb the drug dealing and murders occurring in West Baltimore.
While I am tempted to give away critical plot twists and character development I will hold off and save all major spoilers for the wrap up review, so hopefully you will have a chance to catch up on what I call a milestone in TV, “The Wire.”
Fun Fact: Tim van Patten, now of “Game of Thrones” fame, directed the season finale of Season One (Sentencing).