This is difficult because The Wire was all about big picture weaved together by smaller story lines. Creator David Simon took each season to address a different part of Baltimore the drug culture, labor unions, schools, politics, media. Each part continued to build and grow and interweave. So while season 2 or 5 may not have been individually superior, when viewed in the context of the bigger work, they fit perfectly.
The Wire is not a police drama. Simon felt the genre actually hurt how his show was perceived because we have all come to expect, thanks to CSI, Law and Order, and Hawaii 5-0, plot lines that ties up nicely with bad guys getting caught, good guys catching them, the legal system bungling it’s way through and after an hour we can all move on. The Wire is different, it’s primary character is Baltimore. He chose a number of local actors and filmed exclusively in the city to help his primary character develop. Baltimore is a city of broken institutions, law enforcement, city government, schools, labor, and social welfare that all come together to provide a real glimpse into urban decay or renewal and the price of both. So without any further pontificating, 5 moments of greatness from the wire.
DISCLAIMER: I tried to find scenes that limited the colorful and possibly offensive language of the show but that was difficult. These clips have bad words in them. Prepare accordingly.
5. Lester Freeman is good police. That’s what we find out from the
start. Sure he’s stuck in the Pawn Shop detail and he builds doll house
furniture but Lester is good police. Lester connects the dots and more
importantly follows the money. This scene is the mantra of the show,
all the details matter. Want to know how a crime syndicate controls and
manipulates the flow of money, look at the details. Want to know how a
city like Baltimore becomes so...Baltimore, follow the details and
follow the money.
4. I didn’t know what a stevedore was until I watched season two. This is a great summation of the season but it won’t ruin it for the uninitiated. Yes that is Amy Ryan. Yes she was in Gone Baby, Gone and the Office. Check her out in a little movie called Win, Win. Underrated.
3. Bunk Moreland is good police as well but where Freeman is a thinking man’s police, bunk is a drinking man’s police. But don’t get it twisted (see what I did there) Bunk moves cases.
2. Central to the Wire is the urban drug problem of Baltimore. Drugs are the undercurrent of the show and possibly solutions and the pitfalls of those solutions are addressed. From tougher policing to amnesty or legalization Simon and his crew look at how we’ve handled and mishandled the war on drugs in America.
1. Omar. Street Legend. Omar robs from drug dealers and is, for the record, same sex oriented. Both of these facts make him particularly reviled among the criminal element in B-more. Omar also holds a grudge. In this scene he testifies against a member of the criminal element, Bird. Now Omar may not be truthful in these clips but he is entertaining. Enjoy.