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The Wire : Complete HBO Season 1 (DVD)

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27 Reviews

Genre: Television / Suitable for 18 years and over / Director: Brad Anderson, Clark Johnson, Clément Virgo, Ed Bianchi, Gloria Muzio / Actors: Dominic West, John Doman, Deirdre Lovejoy, Wendell Pierce, Lance Reddick ... / DVD released 2005-11-04 at Warner Home Video / Features of the DVD: PAL

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      15.06.2013 04:31
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      Brilliant show.

      Plot:

      The series follows the Baltimore drug scene, shown through the eyes of the police and the perpetrators of crime themselves. The first season sees a task force set up, led by Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West), with the assignment to take down a local drugs gang that keeps evading prison sentences.

      Review:

      I am sure everyone has heard the hype surrounding The Wire, with many people claiming it is the best show ever. I finally caved into watching it after my brother bought this box set for me and I'm pleased to say I wasn't disappointed. I am not yet sure if it deserves the best TV show ever tag, but it is certainly one of the best dramas out there.

      One of the things that make The Wire so good is the cast; the regular cast is quite extensive and there are further key players that are classed as recurring characters. With such a large cast it would be easy to get confused about who is who if the writing wasn't so tight, explaining characters roles without dumbing everything down to make it too easy for the viewer to keep up. You do have to concentrate whilst watching the show but it is the depth to the show that makes it so great.

      Dominic West (300) plays the lead role of Jimmy McNulty, the classic part of a cop who loves his job and does it extremely well but who messes up the rest of his life. West is extremely good as McNulty, he is convincing both as a drunken mess and as a brilliant detective. Sonja Sohn (Body of Proof) plays Kima Greggs with equal conviction. The character is one of the most realistic portrayals of a lesbian on TV and film that I have seen; often these parts become more of a caricature than a real person in my opinion. I've seen Sohn play a similar role in Body of Proof and I wasn't impressed but she portrays this role perfectly. BoP didn't have the best writing so that may have been a contributing factor to her weaker performance.

      Lance Reddick (Fringe) and Wendell Pierce (Ray) play more senior roles on the show and are very different characters. Reddick plays Daniels who is very serious and follows the rules to the letter as he is thinking of his career more than the case. Pierce gets more laughs as Bunk Moreland, acting as McNulty's drinking buddy. There are plenty more police roles that are well played but I would be going on forever if I detailed them all. These four are the performances that stood out most on the 'good guy' side of the show.

      Larry Gilliard Jr. (The Machinist) probably gets the most screen time amongst the 'bad guys' as D'Angelo Barksdale, the cousin of Avon Barksdale who is the head of their drug empire. D'Angelo is quite a complex character and one that is hard to read throughout the course of the season. The Wire blurs the lines between the police and the drug dealers, it isn't good and bad, both sides do right and wrong. D'Angelo is the most developed character on the drugs side of the story, he is portrayed brilliantly by Gilliard.

      Idris Elba (Luther) and Wood Harris (Dredd) control the drug empire and are slightly more straightforward characters. Both are great in their roles, particularly Elba who impresses as the intellectual Stringer Bell. Much like with the police, there are many more great actors that make up the ensemble.

      The writing is strong, often with police shows the dialogue can become clichéd but The Wire is more realistic and gritty. There are some seemingly random conversations between characters throughout the season but it all reveals something about the nature of the characters. The Wire contains strong violence and language but also has some comedic moments that provide moments of lightness. I love how well the writers juggle such a big cast, background characters are given moments of development without it feeling forced.

      A common complaint about The Wire is that is it too slow to begin with but I disagree. It isn't action packed but it doesn't drag, the story development is necessary. To me it is paced well, it always feels that something is happening and that the story is really progressing. Compare it with The Killing US for example, there is a real difference between the two, The Killing had way too many episodes in which nothing happened, this isn't the case with The Wire. It is a fine balance but one that is done well in this case.

      The writing, style and cast of the show all work together well to produce a great first season. The end of the season sets the scene nicely for season two, which I am eager to watch now. I kind of hate to follow convention but I have to be one of the millions of people to say "you really have to watch The Wire!" Buy the box set and you should find that you can't stop watching. Do it now people.

      DVD Extras: *Not reviewed*

      Three episode commentaries

      Cast:

      Dominic West - Jimmy McNulty
      Sonja Sohn - Kima Greggs
      Wendell Pierce - Bunk Moreland
      Lance Reddick - Cedric Daniels
      Wood Harris - Avon Barksdale
      Idris Elba - Stringer Bell
      Larry Gilliard Jr. - D'Angelo Barksdale
      Deirdre Lovejoy - Rhonda Pearlman
      Andre Royo - Bubbles
      John Doman - William Rawls
      Frankie R. Faison -Ervin Burrell


      Review also posted on Ciao under the username shabbating

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        24.01.2013 12:08
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        Great first series if you commit!

        Synopsis:

        The Wire is a HBO TV series which started in 2002. It is based in Baltimore and focuses on the drug dealings around the city, showing the drug scene from both perspectives - the dealers and the cops. In series one, following a murder trial, detective Jimmy McNulty is given a division to investigate a suspected drug dealer - Avon Barksdale. The series follows his journey with the team to investigate the goings ons, mainly through the use of "the wire". You also follow Avon and his team as they try and keep their operations quiet and hide all evidence from the police.


        My Opinion:

        My fiancé and I are big fans of American boxsets and after thoroughly enjoying The Shield and The Sopranos, The Wire seemed like the next series to get our teeth into.

        A lot of my friends have watched The Wire and raved about it so we were actually really excited about it. Even better, my dad has every series on DVD so we could move through them all without having to wait. (Whilst watching The Shield we had a 9.55pm dash to Blockbuster as we knew we only had one episode before the next series - I think the woman behind the counter thought we were crazy). So, one cold evening we decided to take the plunge and get seated comfortably, ready to be absorbed by The Wire. Unfortunately...that didn't quite happen.

        We watched the first episode with baited breath but were left rather disappointed. After an hour, I felt confused and rather deflated...not what I want from a top TV show. However, I know that sometimes it takes a few episodes to get the story going and so we persevered. We actually persevered 3 times...each time we watched a couple of episodes, got pretty bored then forgot about it for a couple of months. When winter set in last year though, we knew we needed to get some decent TV on the go and so we went back to The Wire. We started from episode 1 and watched it right through. By the end, I was thoroughly enjoying it...it just took a lot of effort in the first place.

        I think part of the reason I struggled was due to the slang and nick names used by the drug dealers being investigated. I sometimes felt I couldn't really understand what was going on and found myself confused between all the characters. I also think that there isn't much real action in this series...it's more of a slow burner to introduce you to all the characters. However, by the last two episodes, both of us were glued to the TV and felt that The Wire had come into it's own. I will definitely be watching the next series over the coming weeks and hopefully will then move onto series' 3-5. I would definitely recommend The Wire but would warn that it is a slow burner and you do need to give it a chance.

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          16.11.2011 12:55
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          Get this and then watch it

          The Wire is a brilliantly crafted crime drama set in Baltimore USA and confidently oozes moody sophistication.

          Over the course of the series we're introduced to cop characters and the drug dealers, mainly Detectives Jimmy McNulty and Kima Greggs, and Avon and D'Angelo Barksdale.
          The focus fluctuates between characters during the series but they all interact and cross over, I was never watching thinking 'who's this guy?'. This appears to be how they've handled character exposition - always a challenge with a new series - so characters appear in the background gradually before taking the spotlight in part of a later episode.

          The plot revolves around Baltimore police trying to bring down drug kingpin Avon Barksdale and we see events unfold from both the perspective of the cops and the crims.
          There's a lot of 'cop show' tropes - McNulty is unorthodox and gets chewed out by his chief, many of the gangstas embark on self-indulgent soliloquy about how tough it is in the ghetto - but they're handled well and I hardly noticed.

          The acting is top-notch for TV, notably addict-informant Bubs and homicide detective Moreland. No controversy is left unturned, the characters are involved in police brutality, corruption and conspiracy and each issue is dealt with maturely, with none of the finger-wagging that some crime dramas espouse.

          I found the slang that the criminals used confusing, and there were a lot of situations where I sort of got the gist of what was going on instead of full understanding. The cops aren't much better either, slinging around alphabet soup and other cop parlance.

          The plot is realistic and exciting, but you really do have to concentrate quite hard because there's so much going on. As the series progresses more and more plot points intertwine and I found each episode harder to work out. I still found each episode well worth watching.

          I found the first series very entertaining and rewarding, there's no caricatures of bent cops or gangstas, and once you get past the impenetrable patois and parlances you'll find well-rounded characters playing against each other over a stylishly bleak backdrop.

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            26.05.2010 23:24
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            Ultimately has characters you care about and stories you want to know the end of

            First a caveat : this is going to be a very 'personal opinion' review.

            I will give a very brief overview of what The Wire is all about, but to be perfectly honest, if you want to know more about the actual series I would point you in the direction of an outstanding (crowned) review on here by mcicp19. There's no way I can write a review close to that so I'm not going to try - not being lazy (honest!), just acknowledging a fact!

            What I am going to do is come at this from a different angle and try to explain how I changed from someone who hated this show to someone who loves it. This may at least convince anyone who's watched a couple of episodes and given up on it to give it another try.

            We actually rented this season one dvd at a time from LoveFilm - my husband had heard all the rave reviews and was keen to see it, but we weren't sure enough to go and buy a box set. I would recommend this way of doing it if you're not sure you will like it.

            The 'very brief overview' I promised :

            This series is set in Baltimore. Its focus is the huge drug operation run in the 'projects' by local drug lord Avon Barksdale and the efforts of 'real police' Jimmy McNulty and his team to break the ring and get to the source of the money. Corruption is, naturally, rife. McNulty is the 'maverick cop' character - well, every cop show needs one of those! As the name suggests, much of the policing is done by use of a wire tap. The show has been widely praised for its gritty reality - often referred to as the best show on TV.

            Why didn't I like it?

            Gritty reality is all well and good, but I found the first episodes dark, depressing and seedy. The interminable foul language was quite wearing and I was getting very confused by the plots and working out who the characters were - partly because I was having difficulty understanding what they were saying. We kept having to stop and rewind bits if we lost concentration. After the first dvd (2 episodes) I was all set to stop there, but we decided to get the next one just to see what happened next ...

            So what changed?

            The main thing was the best piece of advice ever - someone suggested watching it with the subtitles on. Wow! Suddenly I could make sense of what was being said - and realised that sometimes I didn't understand just because I didn't understand the ghetto slang, it wasn't always because I hadn't heard properly. I began to get more immune to the bad language - must admit I'm still not keen, but at least there's a reason for it - that old gritty reality again. The characters developed and the overall plot began to come together, and I found myself much less reluctant to get the next dvd ...

            Why do I love it now?

            It's still dark, depressing and seedy - but extremely well written and acted. The characters are real people and you start to care about their lives. McNulty is a flawed hero - his personal life is a bit of a mess and his career does not exactly run smoothly, but he has a big heart and a passion to see justice done. The drug dealers are not cartoon villains - yes in many ways they are cold and heartless about what they are doing, but there are flashes of humanity where higher moral values show through. All the kind of ingredients which draw you in ...

            Rather than each episode being a complete standalone story, the series is a 'big picture' story so each episode is building the drama up to the climax - which of course means that once you start to get involved with the characters and care what happens to them, you want to see how the story pans out.


            I know many people love this show right from the off - for me it has been more like one of those books which are hard to get into, but after a bit of perseverance suddenly becomes a page-turner. I still wouldn't concur with the 'best thing on TV' brigade, but I am hooked.

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              28.04.2010 11:34
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              Fantastic TV, doesn't get any better than this

              I watch quite alot of TV and when I first started to hear the buzz about this new HBO series called The Wire I couldn't wait to find out what the fuss was about. As the first season was just starting on FX at the time I set the Sky+ up and was ready to go. The show blew me away with its realism and gritty storytelling.

              This first season introduces you to the cast that will be seen throughout the 5 seasons. The basic premise is of cops and crooks but thst tells little of what this show is really about. You see the story from both the side of the law, using wiretaps to try and catch their targets, and the drug dealing crews of Baltimore doing their best to change their tactics and continue to thwart the polices effort.

              We see stellar performances from near every member of the cast from the cocky cop McNulty to the sleek, stylish ringleader Stringer Bell. The characters' progression through the story will have you feeling as much for both sides of the equation. The shotgun toting Omar is also added to the mix as he raids the drug rings for his own gain. The city of Baltimore is itself a character too in the series lending itslef perfectly with a great variety of built up areas and over populated 'slum like' areas. The interactions between characters feel as if they were real with both tense action sequences and emotional moments being handled equally well.

              The language and violence of the show may be offputtting for some but this is what the creators were aiming for in creating a true represntation of whta life is like on the 'corner' for many in cities such as Baltimores poorer areas. It may be worth watching with subtitles if you feel you are unable to decipher the Baltimore slang used by the characters.

              The show is often compared somewhat to a book in that each episode is like a chapter in the story and an episode should never be skipped, I would have to agree with this analysis of what has been one of the most engrossing series I've ever watched on par only with another HBO gem The Sopranos. I have really enjoyed my time with this series and I urge you to at least give The Wire a chance. I guarantee once you have watched the first few episodes you will be itching to put the next one on. The DVD has some commentary tracks as extras but with a show this good you may aswell just watch it all over again.

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              17.02.2010 20:09
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              See Review

              Okay so I am probably a bit behind the times with this,but I've only just got into it and decided to purchase the first series on DVD.Basically The Wire is set in the American town of Baltimore.A city which is rife with gangs,drugs and murders.A special task force is assigned the case of trying to get to the bottom of it all and stop the top players and gang leaders.

              What you get is an insight into each characters background both the police and the gangs.Each episode is extremely detailed and consists of many story-lines which are all linked into each other.The series questions everything from both sides and throws up a many moralistic questions.You are taken on a journey into the depths of Baltimore's ghettos and exposed to extremely realistic scenes involving violence and drug abuse.Along the way you meet Drug dealers,Drug users, hit-man and police officers.You get to see what really goes on behind the scenes from the brutal killings of gang members to the politics involved in being a police officer.As i said before you see each characters background story and why they are the way they are, not only seeing them deal with work problems , but also personal issues relationships etc.,this helps you build an incredible bond with each character as you begin to understand the constant struggles they seem to face.The friendships that are made and also broken at the drop of a hat.

              You will see what the modern drug scene is like this will truly open your eye this is as real as it gets.

              The DVD consists of 5 discs containing 13 episodes in total.

              1.The target
              2.The detail
              3.The buys
              4.Old cases
              5.The pager
              6.The Wire
              7.One Arrest
              8.Lessons
              9.Game Day
              10.The cost
              11.The Hunt
              12.Cleaning up
              13. Sentencing

              My summary
              Wow where to start , I have never really been a fan of these cop shows so was a bit sceptical about this.The first few episodes are a bit slow as you are introduced to every character.But this only helps you become totally engrossed in the plot in the later episodes.The detail in every episode is incredible, and each one is filmed on location in Baltimore so you get a sense of realness from the start.

              The actors are all pretty much unknowns but i think this works very well as you don't start remembering any of their previous roles.All of the actors are top quality and fit the parts perfectly.I just became instantly attached to each character,it felt like i knew them on a personal level, which meant i became emotionally involved with each character and could not wait to see what would happen to them.

              The soundtrack is very well thought out, you get very good upfront hip hop tracks when the gangsters are doing there thing.It was very clearly well researched,and well thought out.

              Its quite hard what to write as I don't want to give anything away as the twists and turns are what take you on this journey.The storyline is extremely deep and once immersed you will just want more , i found my self watching it 3 episodes at a time as i could not wait to see the next one.It really is the best TV programme i have ever seen.I would recommend it to everyone.I just felt that i was there seeing it all play out in front of me in real life.Because you get to see everything about everyone of the characters.

              I purchased this season for £10 off ebay,you can purchase it brand new for £15 from amazon however.It is defiantly worth the money i cant stress enough how much you have to watch this.

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                21.01.2010 01:02

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                Superbly written and acted crime drama

                The Wire finished its excellent five-season run in mid-2008, and has in retrospect been hailed by many as the greatest TV drama in modern history. Although too obscure to ever be an awards hit, it is the most clever, and certainly most novel-like of all TV shows (not surprising given that the writers have actually written novels about their real-life crime experiences), unfolding in a slow-moving but always compelling fashion, depicting the friction of the criminal and police forces in the impoverished areas of Baltimore, Maryland. While the other seasons often looked at other areas of the city's infrastructure, the first season was focused primarily on the "projects", which were rife with drugs and other criminal activity.

                The show's protagonist is Jimmy McNulty, a Detective who is brilliant with his knowledge of the streets and the various gangs, but he is also plagued by a drinking problem and has a strained relationship with his family as he is a virulent workaholic. He spends most of his time around the projects investigating the drug cartel run by Avon Barksdale and his brother D'Angelo, hoping to nail them eventually, while the show's other characters, such as his partner Bunk, and fellow cops Herc and Ellis try to help.

                What's most impressive to me is the depiction of the criminal organisation; it isn't displayed as disorganised and sloppy as in most shows. One of the chief officers, Stringer Bell, is in fact very intelligent, and the show makes lengths to demonstrate this, even showing him going to a macroeconomics class in one scene.

                The show is quite a challenge for those who're used to more "satisfying" shows like 24 which deal in easy (but entertaining, no doubt) situations and dominant morality. This show doesn't have a twist every episode and there isn't a lot of melodrama, but it is a massive triumph in terms of characterisation and social realism, and it feels so authentic you practically want to have a shower afterwards.

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                14.01.2010 15:28
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                The first step in many weekends in front of the TV.

                I haven't reviewed anything for a long time now so I thought I would choose something I really enjoy to get me back into writing. For this reason I decided to choose the Wire, a show which I had been interested in for some time, it had always caught my eye but I never gave it a chance to grow on me. I saw adverts and thought it looked different from most shows currently being made. I had heard rave reviews and even tried to watch it one time before. However, the time I tried to watch the show, I wasn't paying much attention and most of what was said and done just went over my head leading me to initially conclude it wasn't so great and just forget about the show.

                Thankfully, a friend spent a short time convincing me to give it another go, but to pay my full attention and just give the first 2 or 3 episodes a try. I have never known anybody to be more correct then he was right then. When you allow the show to expand and fill out the ruthless Baltimore world and underworld, it becomes like any other show. The number of characters and the twisting plotlines are incredible and then there is the fact that not one single actor is a big star. They are small time actors, many of them local and they give the show its distinct personality.
                The Wire is an American drama series focusing on the city of Baltimore and its various criminal elements, law enforcement, politicians, officials and unions. It is produced by American TV network 'HBO' and first aired in 2002. Since its debut, the show has gathered a phenomenal cult fan-base and has been described by many critics, reviewers and fans alike as "the best television show ever made" due to its unparalleled realism and gripping plot.

                However, it still remains as a show that is frankly under-appreciated in my opinion. Due to its adult content, including a no holds barred look at the area's poverty and political corruption, the local drug trade, its history, hierarchies and the criminal enterprises which it is ultimately defined by. The show also focuses heavily on the day to day law enforcement.

                At first glance it seems to be just a regular 'cops 'n' robbers' show like so many others (e.g.: CSI Franchise, Law & Order, etc) but this is the show's easiest pitfall. It develops into a much more diverse picture of a world filled with the same issues many people really do have. It looks at the lives of the people affected by the police and their adversaries. The police are just as dirty as the bad guys and frequent manipulating the rulebook and breaking taboos. The higher leadership is power-hungry and unconcerned with the welfare of the city's people and the criminals share many noble characteristics which are usually only exhibited by the good guys. Never before was there such a balanced perspective delivered by a show. One minute you root for the cops, the next minute you feel like the bad guys deserve to come out on top. As the show progressed through further series (There are five series in total) it took deeper looks at the city, branching into the trade unions and workers, drug addicts, homeless, families of the characters, the school system, legal system and media. It really is a masterpiece.

                This review would be never-ending if I were to commentate on all five series so for now I feel it best to just focus on the first season, in the hope that some of you listen to these words and give it a chance to show its class. As anyone who has seen the show will testify, it is addictive, so much so that I advise booking long weekends for the next month just so you can follow the whole saga through to the end. Once I started to watch it I never wanted to stop.


                === The Wire - Season 1 ===

                The first season of The Wire focuses mainly on the Baltimore Police Officers, some of their families and the chain of command in the force as well as some of the key legal personnel. On the other side of the coin, it also takes a look at the lives of the young children, raised in the city's housing projects and many of whom are swept away into the local drug trade. It also looks at those that run this trade and how they do it.
                'The Wire' as a term mainly refers to a bug on a telephone used to listen in on and monitor/record telephone conversations. This is because the police use hidden bugs to monitor the phone calls of their drug suspects.
                Please appreciate the struggle I face in summarising the many characters, in case my effort is not sufficient, I apologise in advance.

                === Main Characters ===

                Law Enforcement

                The main protagonist is dodgy-accented Irish cop James 'Jimmy' McNulty. He is essentially an alcoholic, outspoken detective frequently stepping on the toes of his employers. However, he is no hero, just passionate for the right cause. His colleagues are another raging drunk detective named Bunk Moreland, the two of them are some of the city's better homicide detectives. Also along for the ride are 'Herc' & 'Carver' two partners who tend to be a little dishonest and foolish at times, usually only trusted with more minor duties in the major police work. Also is Lester Freemont, a very reserved old detective who has spent the last 15 or so years in a meaningless police unit, busted to the rank of nothing by a boss who disliked him. Kima Greggs is the other major officer, she is a very strong-willed and dominant police officer and her character is also a lesbian. They are led by Lieutenant Daniels, a firm, competent and principled man tasked with bringing down the city's drug kingpins. Also featured are other arms of the law such as the crooked 'Police Commissioner Burrell' and his just as deputy 'Jim Rawls.' Together they practically sabotage any attempts the others make at real policing.

                Underworld

                The main group of criminals are known as the 'Barksdale Family.' They are run by Avon Barksdale, who is initially unknown to the police at the start of the show. His right hand man is his childhood friend ''Russell 'Stringer' Bell'' who is a cold and ruthless criminal entrepreneur tasked with running the organization. Their main enforcers (people who do dirty work, violence, etc) are 'Roland 'Wee-Bay' Brice' who is their trusted friend and reliable man for any job. Also there is 'Bird' a foul-mouthed short tempered gun for hire, 'Little Man' a heavy-set muscle provider and 'Anton 'Stinkum' Artis, another nasty piece of work.
                They control the neighbourhood's 'towers' which are huge tower apartment blocks used to carry out much of their drug dealing. Then there is 'the pit' which is the surrounding courtyards where the drugs are sold. Here, the show is run by 'D'Angelo Barksdale' who is the nephew of Avon. He initially runs his own tower but is relegated to supervising the pit after he barely escapes a charge of attempted murder. This is right at the beginning of the first episode. He is tasked with whipping the slack project kids into shape and smoothing the operation so the police cannot crack down on the syndicate of criminals. Here in the pit he delegates duties to his three young lieutenants. There is Bodie, an experienced young drug dealer, slightly older and stronger than the other two; he is a fierce soldier loyal to the Barksdale's. Then there are 'Poot' and 'Wallace' who take care of the young kids who keep lookout for the dealers. (When the police come into the projects you will hear the little 8-year olds whistle and then shout 'Five-Oh' to warn the older dealers.) Poot is quite laid back a bit of a ladies' man compared to the others, whereas Wallace is the closest father figure the young boys can get and he takes care of them whilst also working for D'Angelo.

                Other Important Characters

                'Bubbles' is a drug addict who becomes an informer on the drug trade soon after his friend 'Johnny Boy' is beaten half to death over a few dollars. The other face of The Wire is 'Omar Little.' His character is revered in 'the hood' and he is what is known as a 'stick-up man' which basically means that he robs drug dealers. He is part of a small gang that make their living this way and the gang includes his boyfriend, the baby-faced 'Brandon.'
                There are many more characters but not enough time, I already feel like I have written too much but I think everyone vital has been counted.

                === The Plot of Season One ===

                [Episode One : The Target]
                The first season begins as D'Angelo Barksdale is acquitted of a shooting in one of the project buildings. A witness is paid to withdraw her testimony and the case falls apart leaving him to walk free. He is sent to work in 'the Pit' as punishment by his uncle, Avon. Here he has to tighten up the operation and finds it is all run by kids, or thereabouts anyway. Detective Jimmy McNulty had noted the presence of underworld mastermind 'Stringer' Bell at the trial and realising there has been foul play he goes above the heads of his superiors to a district judge who orders an investigation into the drug syndicate. This is much to the displeasure of the senior police officers. This episode is merely of a taste of what Baltimore has to offer.

                [Episode Two : The Detail]
                Lieutenant Daniels is tasked with managing the investigation into the Barksdale syndicate, but the detail of officers he has been assigned leads a lot to be desired. Many of them incompetent or drunks, it appears the administration above him want failure. Detective Kima Greggs is approached by addict 'Bubbles' about possibly informing on the operation of the Barksdale gang. This gives the police a way in. Also, an ill-judged late night foray into projects by Detectives 'Herc', Carver and Prezbylewski leads to trouble.

                [Episode Three - The Buys]
                This episode introduces 'stick-up king' Omar Little, his boyfriend and their accomplices as they rob a large stash of drugs from one of the Barksdale safehouses. The police then raid the safehouse but the drugs are gone and this coupled with the late-night antics of some of the Baltimore detectives lead to a mini riot in the projects and leaves minor casualties. Pit drug dealer 'Bodie' is given a beating and arrested for striking a police officer.

                [Episode Four - Old Cases]
                McNulty and 'Bunk' Moreland investigate a cold case, a brutal murder of a young girl on the other side of Baltimore and manage to produce one of the finest scenes ever where for four minutes they only use the word 'F**k.' Sounds gratuitous but feels appropriate at the time. Bodie narrowly manages to avoid a fierce interrogation from 'Herc' and Carver. Avon Barksdale puts a price on the head of Omar after the recent robbery.

                [Episode Five - The Pager]
                The unit is given legal clearance to clone one of the dealer's pagers and this starts the monitoring of the gang's communications. 'Stringer' becomes worried the Barksdale's have a snitch. Omar's boyfriend is spotted by the Barksdale crew.

                [Episode Six - The Wire]
                Wallace is unsettled at the brutality of the criminal life and sees something which traumatises him. The police detail gain wiretaps on the project payphones while Lieutenant Daniels stands up to his superiors.

                [Episode Seven - One Arrest]
                The police detail manages to intercept a large delivery of drugs using the wiretap but this causes the criminals to become more cautious. The top brass begin to take more of an active interest in the case.

                [Episode Eight - Lessons]
                McNulty manages to get his kids involved in police work which displeases his ex-wife. The detail uncover a much bigger picture of the drug trade when they realise its connections reach high up into the country's infrastructure, specifically, politics.

                [Episode Nine - Game Day]
                The Baltimore streets are deserted, but why? Where is everybody? Omar approaches a competitor of the Barksdale family. The police start to investigate the criminal's money as well as their drugs.

                [Episode Ten - The Cost]
                A new informer provides a chance for the police to make a big impact and Bubbles tries to get clean and off drugs. Omar and Stringer Bell come face to face and Avon's is in somebody's crosshairs. This episode is brilliant!! You will be glad you are watching a DVD because you will be straight onto the next episode.

                [Episode Eleven - The Hunt]
                The rules change as the explosive end of Episode Ten causes both sides into overdrive, the net tightens but the criminals aren't proving easy to find. The 'powers that be' force the hand of the police detail.

                [Episode Twelve - Cleaning Up]
                The Barksdale's lawyer encourages them to 'clean up' their organisation to avoid any implication in criminal activity. The police try a different angle.

                [Episode Thirteen - Sentencing]
                Family ties are tested when a day in court arrives. The police are unsatisfied at their conclusions and feel they have unfinished business. Daniels and McNulty incur the wrath of their superiors after flouting direct orders. The season ends with what becomes a characteristic montage to show where everybody is at the end of the series.


                === Summary ===
                If you watch the first season of The Wire right until the end, I fail to see how you would not be hooked. It is so extensive and satisfying that you see such a broad spectrum in such a small world. The drama is gripping and the acting, first rate. Many of the actors have lived the lives they portray or are connected in some way and realism is one of the show's key facets. I tried not to spoil much of the plot when summarising as I would hate to take away from any of the major events. At times I found it hard to keep up with the characters but once you realise the intricacy of the cast and the structure of the organisations they represent, it becomes a true masterpiece.

                The real greatness is that with the nature of the show, there is enough action to complement the drama. In a few cases you will feel someone is a main character when suddenly they are killed off or locked up or sent away, etc. The show moves at a great pace but I feel it flows much better if you are watching it as a DVD box-set. I say this because due to the way the plot is drawn out through the season, you do need to see every episode. You cannot just watch one episode and reap its full benefits, you need to see the one before, the one after and as many others as you possibly can. There is such a great deal of character reference and personality to each scene that at times it comes across as a partial documentary, it is all so believable.
                The Wire has all the elements of the perfect show and I have never enjoyed any show to such a degree. I'm still obsessed in some respects, I wish I could go back and watch it all again. The next four seasons expand greatly on the plot and cast to make up a much more detailed picture of The Wire's Baltimore. Also a dubious positive is that the show has a finale already made. It's production stopped as the writer's brought events to a sort of close after five seasons so you can follow the fortunes of the splendid characters way further than just this first series. I say this is a dubious positive, simply because there will never be any more made, certainly not in the near future. This to me, a now self-confessed 'The Wire' fan, is tragic.

                Thank you. I Hope you enjoyed reading my review and if you haven't already fallen in love with the show then I hope this review is the first step to it happening. You can find this first series box-set for under £15 online with ease. This is a bargain considering that each episode is fifty-five minutes or so. If you want Twelve hours of possibly the best show you will ever see then look here.



                Also posted on www.ciao.co.uk

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                  02.12.2009 18:29
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                  Being a big fan of other HBO series such as The Sopranos and Six Feet Under, I was excited when I heard about another series, The Wire. I tried watching it and found myself bored and unable to follow it, so I gave up on it. Then I started reading all kinds of reviews about how it was the best show on television ever, etc, and decided to give it another shot. I really concentrated the second time around, and that made all the difference. I absolutely love it. I've just completed watching the first season and I've ordered season two and am anxiously awaiting its arrival!

                  The Wire is a series about crime in Baltimore. Season one looks at a massive drug and murder case. It looks at things from the perspective of the criminals and of the police and gives about equal time to each group. There are so many characters to keep track of and this is what confused me at first, but slowly each character starts to emerge with their own distinct personality and I ended up empathising with so many of them on each side of the law.

                  I won't go through each character one by one as there are so many but I'll briefly introduce the main characters. McNulty is an excellent policeman but is politically unpopular with his superiors in the chain of command for having gone to a city judge and blabbed about a case that his superiors wanted brushed under the carpet. The judge went to the press making the police force look bad, so McNulty is assigned to the case but given as few resources as possible and harassed every step of the way.

                  Kima is McNulty's sidekick - a tough but beautiful lesbian police officer who has a huge heart. She is an excellent cop and afraid of almost nothing, but her partner wants her to quit the force due to the dangers involved. She bosses the other members of the team around a bit but they put up with it due to her obvious talent.

                  Daniels is the sergeant in charge of the investigation team. He is caught between a rock and a hard place as he takes a lot of flack from his superiors but defends his team the best he can. He seems like a highly moral policeman but there are rumours that he has a few secrets involving dirty dealings with money in his past.

                  Bubs is a drug addict and Kima's informant. He turns against the drug lords when they seriously injure on of his friends and fellow addicts, and helps the police with their investigations.

                  Now for the drug dealers. First is Avon Barksdale, the big fish that the police are after. He makes all the decisions but stays in the background as much as possible, giving orders to his crew that they must carry out.

                  D'Angelo Barksdale is Avon's nephew. He owes Avon big-time because he helped him beat a murder rap at the beginning of the series. But as time progresses he starts to question the whole purpose behind the game. Although D'Angelo is supposed to be one of the bad guys, it's obvious he has a lot of character and tries hard to do the right thing.

                  Wallis is one of the young members of D'Angelo's crew. He has grown up in the projects and drifted into his involvement with the dealers, but grows disenchanted and wants to get out.

                  The thing is, those involved in "the game," which is how they refer to drug dealing, are trapped in the game. There is no real way out because loyalty to this gang is absolutely everything. Plus in many cases their families have been in the game for generations. How can they turn their backs on their entire families and walk away from everything they have ever known and their only source of income? And how can they escape the danger they will inevitably be in if they try to do so? It's not an easy question to answer.

                  This series really blurs the lines between what is good and what is evil. At some points it's quite difficult to tell who the good guys are and who are the bad. What is certainly true is that the higher up the chain of command you go within both the police and the criminal gangs, the more you find people who are ruthless and will stop at nothing to protect what's theirs. This goes for even the highest levels, as it's intimated that a senator might even be involved with the game.

                  Not only is this series complex enough to keep me interested, it also is very good at leading you along, with some cliff-hanger endings that make it impossible not to want to watch the next episode. At the same time, it's not a series that you'll want to race through because it takes so much concentration. Most evenings I watched one episode, but the further I got in the series the more often I found myself watching two the same day.

                  One big difference between The Wire and the other HBO series I mentioned including the Sopranos and Six Feet Under is that The Wire has very little to say about the personal lives of the characters involved. It's all about the game. This adds to the excitement of the program and the intensity of wondering who's going to win or lose, who will get away with what, and who won't make it through to the next episode.

                  I highly recommend the Wire and urge you to watch the first few episodes with an open mind and really concentrating fully on what's going on. I think you'll get hooked just as I am!

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                  26.11.2009 02:04
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                  Universally acclaimed drama, what more can you wish for?

                  'The Wire' on HBO, definitely one of the most significant and iconic US dramas of this decade. The porgramme has been whipped into a frenzy as must-see TV, and has been publicised very well. I hope to prove to those curious about the show, and what the raving is all about, is how great this show really is.

                  The Plot
                  Set in Baltimore, the city is in a terrible state with illegal activity and crime at high levels. following a team of special investigators who make the ambitious step to loosen the Drug lords grip on the city. The investigators domain is the lowly basement, from which they make their next big moves. The character development is convincing, however, the show cosies down into a tremendously realistic world, where those who give to the community, and those who take from it, aren't painted in the same old shades of light and darkness. There are mental struggles on each side, and nobody's perfect. I like how i see more sympathetic sides to the criminals, where we should remember, some feel they have little other choice as poverty rule and pessimism rule their lives. The characters are greatly 3-dimensional, letting the viewers to be compulsed to care.

                  In this 13 episode first series, the unit make investigations into the drug dealers up-to-no-good. What is commendable is how diverse the storyline is, which completely immersed me. It will take time but the cast make it so believeable, and the climax of each episode very well sewn together, the suspense of not seeing evrything really adds to that. It amazes me how it took so long for it to be viewable in the UK. Dominic West & Lance Reddick are outstanding in this. This is up there, if not better than NYPD Blue!

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                    16.11.2009 13:32
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                    Great show

                    The Wire Series One

                    I have constantly heard good things about a show called the wire for the past few years even though I have never seen it advertised or shown on TV. Two weeks ago I got a loan of the box set for series one and decided to give it a try.

                    What is the wire?

                    The wire is a television series set in Baltimore. It follows the Baltimore Police and their efforts to combat the war on drugs which is destroying parts of the city. The wire refers to the techniques of the police department to listen on calls between suspected criminals. The first series lasts 13 episodes and each show lasts an hour.

                    My opinion

                    This is an excellent show and is well worth watching if you get a try. The acting in the show is excellent. Dominic West who plays detective Mc Nulty is excellent but there are many other noteworthy performances. I particularly liked Stringer Bell who is second in command to the local drug king pin. The character played by Idris Elba is very convincing and I wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of him. In fact one thing that stuck me was the size of the cast but it all works very well.

                    The only downside that I could find in the show was that at times I struggled to keep up with some of the gang slang words used. This must have been realised by the shows producers because there a few scenes where gang slang is translated usually by the police.

                    Overall this is an excellent show and well worth watching. I am already nearly finished the second series I like the fist series that much. It's currently available on Amazon for just under £13 and is well worth it for that price.

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                    15.08.2009 12:49
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                    one of the best writen shows around

                    After i finished watching the sopranos i was looking for something else to replace that amazing show, didn't think it was possible really because the sopranos is probally in my opinion one of the best us dramas that has ever been on tv. Read on a website that if you liked sopranos then you would probally like the wire as it's got a great cast and the writing is pure quality. Thought it was weird that this show that has got such good reviews and high praise but i have never even heard of it.

                    Decided to give it a go and bought the first season on dvd from amazon.co.uk, cost me around £15 and got free delivery aswell so was quite pleased with the price. When it arrived i could not wait to put it on, no way could this be anywhere near as good as the sopranos. The first episode was quite hard to follow as there were lot's of characters to take in and i wasn't really sure what was happening, but i was not gonna give up on it that quickly. Watched the second episode straight after and thought it was quite good. Getting used to some of the characters names takes a while as there are alot of people in each episode. Third episode in and the story is starting unfold and i'm really loving some of the characters and i'm thinking yea this is really good. By the seventh or eighth episode i was totally hooked on this amazing show.

                    This show follows a drug and murder investigation in Baltimore, the series is told from both point's of view the police and the criminals. The wire is set on the streets of baltimore and has a very realistic look and feel to it.


                    The writing is what really makes this show as good as it is, it's just amazing and most of the actors of i have never seen before or even heard of before except Dominic West who plays detective mc nulty. After i finished the first series i went and ordered the next four seasons straight away, i'm now halfway through the third series and i'm totally in love with this show. The pace of the show is alot slower than the sopranos and other great us dramas but it's the story and the acting that shines in this show.

                    This show is amazing and i'll be guted when i get to the end of it as i don't think there is anything else out there that will be quite as good as this. If you have not seen this series and your thinking of getting it then you are in for a treat, just stick with it as it is a little slow at first but the pace soon picks up.

                    5 out of 5 stars for this wonderfull series.

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                    29.05.2009 11:55
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                    Just watch it, ok?

                    "Have you seen The Wire?", he/she asks expectantly. "No, I haven't", you respond, immediately steeling yourself for yet another barrage from a friend about how bloody brilliant The Wire is. "It's AMAZING! It's about drugs and cops and violence and politics and it's AMAZING and it's so gripping you never want to stop watching it and" then you punch them in the face because you're so sick of hearing about The Bloody Wire.

                    Except you shouldn't punch him/her in the face, you should heed their sage advice. They've got off their backside and watched The Wire, you haven't. They've put the hours in and they've reaped the rewards. Their lives have been touched by the intriguing characters and fantastic storylines this series provides, yours hasn't. Do you know how empty your soul is compared to these people? You should be ashamed, to be perfectly honest.

                    These people bang about The Wire because it is simlpy magnificent television, with the complex nature of America's, more specifically, Baltimore's, drug crime and the fight against it being told in a brutally honest, uncomprimising and ultimately vastly entertaining way. The manner in which each storyline intertwines and affects one another is often spellbinding, and the amount of times your judgement on certain characters is called into question makes this as thought-provoking as television comes.

                    Next time someone asks you if you've seen The Wire, don't punch them in the face, say "Yes, I have, it's AMAZING isn't it!"

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                      24.05.2009 04:22
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                      Just not for me

                      This one is not for me. When I heard that the BBC2 were going to show it right from the start I couldn't wait. I had heard so many good things about this series I thought it would be my latest US police drama to obsess over, but I couldn't be more wrong.

                      I felt that on the first episode the characters were already too fully formed so I thought that I'd actually missed a few episodes. I watched a few more and my opinion didn't change.

                      Yes it is darker then other Police dramas and has a certain edge to it but I felt that it was trying to hard to be gritty and real that it lacked real emotions. I thought in that sense it was one dimensional. After all humans have many sides to their characters, and portray this through many different emotions. This was something that the show didn't do and I found it quite cold.

                      I watched four episodes in total, so I didn't give up straight away, and it never grew on me. I've never regretted not watching it and don't understand why it has had so many glowing reviews. In fact I was very disappointed that I didn't like it as I need a new US police drama to watch as the latest series of Monk has ended on Hallmark and Third Watch isn't been shown anywhere at the moment so that leaves me with Dexter, which as most of us know isn't a police drama in the traditional sense.

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                        21.05.2009 14:57
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                        Great tv series

                        I borrowed this DVD off a friend last week, and got so hooked i watched all 13 episodes in a couple of days! The Wire has been hyped heavily for a while now, notably in the Guardian who seem to have planted the best tv show of all time flag firmly in its base.

                        Before watching it, i'd heard that it was fairly complicated to follow with numerous characters, but to be honest this was never a problem (maybe because i watched them straight after each other though!). The series follows one case in Baltimore as the cops trying to raid some local drug dealers. While this might seem fairly limited for a 13 episode show, the depth its goes into to show all the various aspects involved in a drug raid is impressive and you're fully immersed in the plot and the characters.

                        The best thing about the show was its realism, in the sense you never felt the action was jazzed up for tv, and the plot follows things as they happen rather than go for crowd pleasing endings or conclusions.

                        The acting is great across the board and the dialogue is so authentic that sometimes its hard to pick up what's going on, especially when the drug dealers talk to each other. The characters are allowed to build nicely throughout the series, and you'll all end up rooting for your favourites.

                        I can't wait to start tackling the other series, and with six of them made, there will hopefully be more back to back wire sessions!

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                    • Product Details

                      Television really doesn’t come much better than this. Criminally ignored by far, far too many people, The Wire has proven itself to be that rarest of things: an intelligent, clever, character-driven show, that’s lasted more than one season.This boxset brings together all the episodes from the maiden series of The Wire, spread across thirteen episodes. Yet those episodes, unlike many in the police genre where the show spends a good deal of its time, are dedicated to just one case. Furthermore, it follows both sides of the case. Thus, there’s the Baltimore police department, with its statistics to manage, its internal politics to manage and its chain of command to respect, set against a highly organised drug gang, who too have more than their fair share of problems.The Wire is a slow burn show, taking time to delicate put its pieces in place. Rarely do you get a dramatic end to an episode, and it’s not afraid to humanise and blur the lines between good and bad. But, bluntly, there’s nothing--not even The Sopranos--that US TV has broadcast in the last ten years that can hold a torch to it. This first series is genuinely outstanding television, and really deserves your attention. And the good news? Excellent as it is, this first series isn’t even the best that The Wire has to offer…--Simon Brew