Monday, January 14, 2008

The Wire - HBO Season 5 Review

The Wire Season 4 DVD

For years I’ve read how HBO’s The Wire is the best show on television. Last year I began watching with Season 4, and I have to concur. Season 4 of The Wire is easily one of the greatest achievements in television or film ever.

Using Baltimore as a backdrop, The Wire reveals an ugly side of America that few of us ever see - or care to see. Although not filmed in documentary style, the show is so well written, produced, and edited that it seems as if you are peering in on the lives of very real people.

Here’s the catch – it’s not easy to watch. After nearly every episode I have to consult the HBO website, discussion boards, and Google just to figure out all of the characters and their relationships. Never has a show been so challenging... or rewarding. I encourage you to seek it out Season 4 on DVD and make the commitment to see it through.

Season 5 begins with the disbanding of the major crimes unit investigating West-Side Baltimore drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield. After a year, the unit still has no evidence and no witnesses to the murders perpetrated by Stanfield. That is, until Episode 2.

Episode 2 of season 5 ended so dramatically – with the alcohol-induced breakdown of Detective McNulty, that no one seemed to notice there may be a new witness in police custody. When Snoop and Chris gunned down Junebug at home for disrespecting Marlo, Michael had strict orders to drop anyone who came out the back door. But Michael, showing that perhaps he is not cut out for this game, let a young kid flee the scene.

Did the child see Snoop and Chris? Could he identify them in a police lineup? Will Marlo be brought to justice before the series finale?

Like any great work of art, you can read a lot into the details. Many saw episode 2 as a grave foreshadowing of things to come. Me? I saw a glimmer of hope. Perhaps there will be a new day in Baltimore after all.

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