Friday, September 16, 2011

"The Wire" - Any Season

This is the explosive, street level drama that takes place in the neighborhood where I used to work in Baltimore during the 17 years in which I lived there. It is so realistic and factual in its portrayal of life in that neighborhood, that I have no doubt as to the veracity of the plots, or of the writing. It's shown exactly as I remember it.

Speaking of the writing, Ed Burns and David Simon are the two award winning fellows who brought you "Homicide:Life on the Street", the Emmy Award winning TV show, and the prize winning book "The Corner", which was later produced by PBS as a series, prior to this one. The lives depicted in this series are identical to the real lives portrayed in the pages of that book.

This is the main area of the action in "The Wire." The west side of Baltimore, from Martin Luther King Blvd to Monroe Street is a daily battleground between law enforcement and the street level drug trade. Stopping for a red light in this area produces all sorts of people coming up to the car window; prostitutes, drug dealers, rip off artists, you name it - they got it. And it goes on 24/7. In the daytime, the police are on top of things, but at night it's a different story, as the drug dealers and their customers steal, shoot and beat their way to the evenings "high". This usually involves at least one shooting and an assorted number of overdoses.

This series is well produced, and has an excellent theme song, which was re-recorded each year by a new group. Season 4 is my favorite version, which was arranged by Doreen Vail and recorded by the members of a Baltimore Boys Choir.

As usual, I'm about 5 years behind the rest of the world in watching this realistic and cutting edge show. The only excuse I have is that I was probably catching up on something else at the time, no doubt something which was 5 years old then. Like the neighborhood depicted in "The Wire", somethings never change.

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