As I thought on how to post about my favorite show, I realized I'm going to have to pick a few things and focus or else the post will become a thesis. First, 2 seconds on background if you've never watched it: Set in Baltimore, the show is about the triangle formed by the police department, the drug trade, and the city government, and how all three are much more tightly linked than we think. The name 'The Wire' is slang for the wire taps the detectives use to attempt to bring down crime kingpins in Baltimore. Crime has focused on the drug trade and ensuing wars, and also one season on illegal human trafficking from Eastern Europe.

This season I'm on edge each week because the focus of the storyline is on a group of 8th grade boys:

Namond-the "rich kid" of the group, son of a jailed higher up in the Barksdale drug empire.
Since his father is no longer able to provide for the family, his mother expects him to
step up and provide.

Michael- Michael is basically the parent of his younger brother. Mother appears to be an addict. He also has a strong 'reluctance' to letting authority figures get too close, which hasn't been explained yet.

Randy- Randy's being raised by a foster mother, and has a strong entrepreneurial spirit, selling candy at school on lunch breaks, or 'unscheduled breaks'.

Duquan- Duquan lives at the 'tail end of the tail end' as the saying goes. His parents are addicts and sell his clothes for drug money. Consequently he came to school unbathed. His teacher shows compassion by taking his dirty clothes home each night to wash, and arranges for Duquan to shower at the school.

The storyline is written such that you can't help but fall in love with all of them, and mourn for the innocence that is being lost in each one day by day. Each one has a story that will absolutely break your heart...because the storylines are true. The writers and creators of this show were writers for the Baltimore Sun and or police detectives in the Baltimore PD, so the characters you see and situations written about come from real life.

What's so compelling for me about this show is:

1.)The constant 'six degrees of separation' dynamic between the city government, the poor, the drug trade, and the police department.

2.) The intelligent use of symbolism. (yes I paid attention in English)

3. ) The constant feeling of "What if things were different?" Especially this season, you look at each child and say, what if Randy lived in Prince George's county, would he be in Junior Achievement? The drug kingpins form a pretty sophisticated co-op or cartel; for a time they used Roberts' Rules of Order, took minutes etc. So you say, what if these guys were distributing computer components, or steel, anything?

4) The lost art of character development. One of the standout characters of all time has to be Omar Little. Omar is a Robin Hood of sorts; his game is robbing drug dealers of their stash and money. Omar is also openly gay, but not stereotypical at all. His father figure/consigliare is a blind bartender named Butchie, who also mediates for Omar with the police when the situation calls for it. Omar is also funny without trying to be and he has some of the best lines on the show. Upon discovering there's no cereal for breakfast in the house, Omar strolls out to the corner store in his teal satin pajamas, robe, and black velvet house shoes, pistol in hand like the store is in his house instead of down the block.

5) Details details details. You have to pay close attention to each episode, or you miss subtle humor, symbolism, or storyline links...and I LOVE it.

6) It Is a Weekly Wake-Up Call. Because this show pulls no punches, you see why people live or act the way they do. Especially children. It is hard to blame a child for acting out at this teacher when you are shown he's been beaten up and had a .44 automatic pointed in his face by a junkie the night before. It is hard to say 'just go get a job' when you see there literally are no businesses in the rowhouse neighborhoods depicted. The choices many of us have each day when we wake up just are not there for these kids.

I'll post a video clip from the 'making of' preview where they interview the creators to give you a better flavor. Next up I'll recap last night's episode "Unto Others".

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