HBO’s “The Wire” looks at the media


Season 4 of HBO’s superbly crafted and incredibly nuanced show, The Wire, was one of the single best seasons of television ever. It ended in such tragedy. Much like the cops and drugs dealers the show depicts, The Wire has always teetered on uncertainty. The ratings were never that good and the critical buzz never resulted in Awards buzz, like it’s sibling HBO shows, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, etc.

Hopefully, all of that will change when Season 5 debuts Jan. 6. This time around Det. Jimmy McNulty is back front and center where he belongs and the focus shifts from the plight of urban schools to the plight of the media in covering complex social issues.

“It made sense to finish ‘The Wire’ with this reflection on the state of the media, as all the other attendant problems of the American city depicted in the previous four seasons will not be solved until the depth and range of those problems is first acknowledged,” [show creator David] Simon asserts. “And that won’t happen without an intelligent, aggressive and well-funded press.”

After spending much of season four as a supporting character, Dominic West’s Jimmy McNulty will be front and center once again this season (West also directed an episode). The season opens with he and the rest of the special detail continuing to stake out drug dealer Marlo (Jamie Hector), while Col. Daniels (Lance Reddick) re-assigns Freamon (Clarke Peters) and Sydnor (Corey Parker Robinson) to the investigation of state Sen. Clay Davis (Isiah Whitlock).

Meanwhile, the city editor of the Sun (Clark Johnson, who also directs on the series) works with a team of reporters to break a story linking a politician to one of the co-op’s dealers. In addition to Johnson, new regulars this season include Tom McCarthy (“Boston Public,” “Flags of Our Fathers”) and Michelle Paress, along with Neal Huff and Michael Kostroff, both of whom had recurring parts on the show in the past.

Unfortunately, something tells me that not even The Wire could wake up the sleeping media. One thing is for sure though, this show might be the greatest show ever produced. Or maybe just my favorite.

Amazon has posted three “prequels” of sorts. One is about Prop Joe in 1962, another about McNulty and his partner Bunk in 2000 and lastly, a young Omar prowls the streets in 1985. Take the jump for some season 5 promos. If you’re at work I’d advise some headphone love cause the language is NSFW.

Marlo Stansfield





Comments on this entry are closed.