Introduction: (500) Days of Wire – Warning: Contains Spoilers



Yes, I have agreed to write a blog in which I review all 60 episodes of The Wire individually. Am I crazy? Quite possibly. Will there be sloppily constructed sentences, factual inaccuracies and half baked theories galore? It almost goes without saying. Do I love The Wire more than life itself? You betcha!

First off, for all you avid pedants out there, let me point out that the title of this piece is slightly exaggerated. I am not quite as devotional as that prissy Joseph-Gordon Levitt character (if only Stringer Bell could get a hold of him) and therefore, I will not be dedicating 500 days of my life to summarising The Wire.

In a more accurate sense, I will be spending the college year intermittently reviewing all 60 episodes of David Simon’s magnum opus. But alas, the title’s pun was too good to resist.

Of course, the overriding question is why. Why painstakingly analyse each episode of a mere TV series? Why devote excessive hours to a silly cop show, when I should probably spend that time saving the rainforests or clubbing seals to death to stave off their exorbitant numbers?

Moreover, the proposed project appears daunting to say the least. I aim for each piece to be somewhere between 800 and 1200 words (coupled with a brief episode synopsis), largely depending on the extent of my obsession with the episode in question.

Therefore, if you were to average the figures out at 1,000 words per episode, all you Math majors will know that it amounts to 60,000 words over the course of the year – a glorified thesis in effect.

The side effects of this gargantuan expedition are likely to include – an increased affinity to The Pogues, a compulsive tendency to perpetually speak in Baltimore street slang and a propensity to watch the ingeniously scripted “f*ck” crime scene from season 1 ad nauseam.   

Yet the drawbacks are plainly outweighed by the obvious brilliance of “the greatest TV show of all time” (I am paraphrasing The Guardian, The Irish Times and a host of other prominent publications, not to mention yours truly).

Such hoopla conveniently leads on to the next point which is my primary justification for undertaking this endeavour – basically, The Wire is journalism. There is a specific reason as to why, when you search the show’s name on The Guardian website, you will be confronted with an inordinate 141 articles focusing specifically on the drama, in addition to thousands of stories which make reference to the series.

There is also an amazingly wide variety of articles featured on the website, from a quiz constructed by the show’s stars to a story about how plotters seeking to overthrow Gordon Brown took inspiration from the phone tapping tactics similarly employed by McNulty and co.

The reason for the newspapers and countless others’ infatuation with the show can be mainly attributed to its gritty authenticity. This is hardly surprising given that David Simon, the show’s co-creator and one of several geniuses involved, is an ex-police reporter for The Baltimore Sun.

Although only season 5 deals explicitly with journalism, so many of the show’s most iconic scenes and telling social indictments inevitably emanated from Simon’s days as a mere hack.

Therefore, it is with such inspirational information at hand that I take a deep breath and prepare for this arduous task. Hence, from now until the end of the college year, roughly two episodes will be accessible per week from this website. 

Needless to say, The Guardian has already initiated a blog on their website. However, it takes far too lightly something as important as The Wire.

So instead of an overtly casual tone (e.g. that Stringer Bell is a great character, isn’t he?), you will be subjected to something more theoretical and student-esque along the lines of: “the paralleling of The Great Gatsby with D’Angelo’s plight is a knowing integration and indeed, obfuscation of the two most vital social documents to emerge from America in the 20th and 21st centuries respectively”.

Right, I’m going to have to take another deep breath… Enjoy!