Some have risen. Some have Fallen. Some have been locked up and others bagged up. The characters who posted up on West Baltimore blocks in HBO’s The Wire told a million stories about life in America’s black urban centers. With the show in its final season, GIANT presents a tribute to television’s best-ever dramatic series.
With its flawed characters, intertwined story lines and brutaly honest portrayal of Baltimore’s most impoverished ‘hoods, HBO’s The Wire is the most uncomfortably accurate depiction of black urban America on television. Hardly a show for escapists, The Wire provides poignant social commentaries while keeping us at the edge of our seats. Taking a cue from the dedicated street hustlers they created, series masterminds David Simon and Ed Burns cook up strong medicine every week-and what they serve is a harsh look at reality. With the fifth and final season just begun, this is your last chance to witness television’s best-ever drama.
“I hope people walk away with some rage and the need to have some questions answered,” says Michael Kenneth Williams, who plays Omar Little, the gay, shotgun-toting outlaw’s outlaw that roams the shadows of West Baltimore. “Like, ‘Why the fuck is our ‘hood looking like that?’ That’s a chocolate city. Why they pump all that raw dope into that little-ass city?”
Since the series debuted in 2002, it has been an unapologetic and nuanced reflection of urban America. The show began as an examination of the drug trade-with it’s desperate addicts and notorious dealers, namely Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris) and his crew-and the cops’ futile attempts to stem its spread via wire taps. With each subsequent season, Simon unfurled a more complex picture of what ails a modern metropolis by tackling its corrupt institutions: the desolate ports and the struggling, working-class longshoremen who tend to them; the frustratingly corrupt and bureaucracy-laden local government; and the underperforming public-school system. The final season follows the reporters and editors at the local newspaper, the Baltimore Sun, revealing how the media covers-or fails to cover-the city’s social and political aspects. It also depicts how the paper’s own cost-cutting initiatives mirror the resource-related struggles of the begleagured city.