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More About 'The Wire'

Image result for baltimore maryland

On the 7th of this month I mentioned the television show "The Wire," as a way of introducing the lyrics to the theme song.

Today I'd like to say something about the evolution of the show in general.

In the first season, the writers stick tightly to two antagonists, an investigative unit within the Baltimore PD and a particular drug gang working in the projects. Its a simple narrative arc, and the the most part a 'win' for the police characters -- the major figures on the other side are either locked up or on their way to being locked up as the season ends.

In subsequent seasons, the focus widens. We see the War on Drugs from the point of view of the harbor, the longshoremen's union, etc. From that point of view, drug smuggling is seen as part of a broader smuggling-world picture, including the smuggling of people and weapons.   Then we see it from the point of view of the schools, that of reporters on the cop beat' and the organizations they work for, etc.

Over time, the series gave us a wide ranging look at the whole city and the drug war's impact. I have no way of judging how accurate it is, but it is compelling, plausible, and cohesive. It is as if a discovery channel nature show had started off by showing us a lion chasing a gazelle, and then had widened its lens to show us the whole jungle, from the point of view of those two animals.


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