Category Archives: Season 1

All in the game

As I’ve said time and again in theses write-ups, The Wire’s narrative creeps up on you.  It may be difficult to place exactly where the characters are in their arcs at any given time, but they are going somewhere.  That being said, this show is fundamentally about a world, and that world never changes. Continue reading


This is me yo, right here

This episode opens with the McNulty and Daniels discussing whether or not the case was worth it.  They’re talking about what happened to Kima but, for the audience, it can easily be about what happens this episode.  Continue reading

Dope on the damn table

One might expect Kima’s shooting to be a game-changer.  It’s generally safe to assume that when a main character gets shot, the others will not simply go back to their normal routine.  “The Hunt” does an excellent job playing into those expectations but, by the end, we’re reminded that this game never changes.  Continue reading

And then he dropped the bracelets

“The Cost” really gives us some of the best and worst of The Wire’s first season.  The complement sandwich seems like the best way to handle this situation and so I’ll start off by saying just how masterfully the conclusion was handled. Continue reading

Maybe we won

I’ve already discussed how The Wire’s narrative creeps up on you, but it bears repeating for this episode.  “Game Day” finds all the characters in very different places than they were in the premiere.  Continue reading

Come at the king, you best not miss

The Wire continues to twist our expectations this week as an escalation in the case is seen as anything but good.  What’s great about this is that there’s no suggestion that Burrell is corrupt, he’s merely outraged at the can of worms the detail has opened and insistent that it be closed.  Continue reading

A man must have a code

“Honour among thieves” is one of the most problematic conceits in fiction.  Simply put, it’s an easy way for the audience to distinguish the “real” bad guys from those who simply operate outside the law.  The problem is that it figures all morality as an adherence to rules, even those that most people would consider immoral; real life is far more complicated than that.  Continue reading

… and all the pieces matter

Every once in a while you come across a scene that so neatly conforms to your understanding of a show that you need to wonder whether that’s actually what’s on the screen on just a projection of what’s in your mind.  Fortunately I’m a response theorist and can be confident that there’s actually no difference between the two. Continue reading

… a little slow, a little late

Just as the case (finally) starts to heat up we get a much needed expansion of Avon’s character.  Until now he’s been all business, a shadowy kingpin who only appeared on screen to issue orders and who’s crew has consistently outpaced the police.  “The Pager” gives us a crime boss who is not merely clever and cautious, but extremely paranoid.  Continue reading

Thin line ‘tween heaven and here

My last review highlighted a scene I thought was an obvious blemish on the otherwise consistent realism of The Wire.  This week gives us another sequence that departs from the series’ trademark realistic dialogue, though one redeemed through its sheer brilliance.  Continue reading