This month we see The Wire celebrate its 20th anniversary.
The critically acclaimed crime drama from David Simon has secured a solid legacy in television history. Tracking the work of the Baltimore Police Department through the lens of multiple Baltimore institutions, the series masterly demonstrated how ingrained corruption could be in a city. Like many political and social issues, the series addressed how interconnected these flawed institutions are, making these challenges harder to untangle. By integrating ex-cops, reporters, and teachers into the creative process, The Wire maintains a realism and worldliness that makes the series as compelling today as it was when it first came out.
I first spoke with creator David Simon and executive producer Nina Noble about how the issues The Wire addresses relate to current problems in Baltimore. We discussed Simon’s recent mini-series, We Own This City, which builds on The Wire and contemporary Baltimore politics, mainly how the past failings of the BPD and city government result in today’s issues. We further discussed what institutions David Simon would want to address if he were to tackle the show again.
I then talked with Dominic West (Det. Jimmy McNulty) and Wendell Pierce (Det. William’ Bunk’ Moreland), where we dived into their characters’ flawed relatability and appeal. We discussed The Wire’s legacy within the cop show genre and the necessity of showing the moral ambiguity of the job and these types of characters. We also reinforce that Det. Bunk is indeed badass and good police.
The Wire is available to own on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital and to stream on HBO Max.
You can find Briana Boateng’s excellent interview with Clarke Peters, Jim True-Frost, and Lance Reddick here.