HonkWatch #039: The Wire (S1E3)

The Wire (S1E3)So finally I got me some time to work over The Wire.

I’d been vaguely aware of it as some TV cop show that idiot critics spunked endless adjectives over (gritty, hardboiled, dark and the rest), but it wasn’t till Christmas, when drunk on wine (proper corked bottle shit) I found myself the net between Ignatius and History Mike as they volleyed favourite moments from the series over my clueless head, that I figured it might actually be worth watching. Fucksakes, I pinned my colours to the Third Watch mast, and lordy, did the third to sixth series bite me on the arse for my troubles. Never again. But pedigree-wise, The Wire looked far more promising.

For a start, it’s created by David Simon, the crime reporter whose book about a Baltimore police squad inspired the excellent Tom Fontana/Barry Levinson/Paul Attanasio series, Homicide: Life On The Street. Secondly, like Homicide, it’s set in Baltimore, so no over-familiar NYC or LA locales. And thirdly, it’s not strictly speaking a cop show. As the unusually perceptive Wikipedia page for the show points out, it’s about organisational dysfunction and the failure of capitalism to serve the interests of the many. It just so happens that a lot of the plot hangs on crime and detection, and that a lot of the characters weave in and out of the criminal justice system. Many of the police characters are corrupt, incompetent, lazy, hubristic, indifferent; whilst many of the criminals in the show display strength of character, resourcefulness, honour, loyalty, intelligence. That’s not to say that black hats are wholesale swapped for white, just that individual characters must be judged on their actions at any given moment, rather than defined wholly by their role in gameplay. And that makes for a compelling show.

But enough wittering, I have plenty of Wire-related Motion Picture Motions in the bag to serve as excuse for further self-indulgent word-bilge, so let’s cut the chatter and get with the chunder.

Here we have the aftermath of the first time we see standover man Omar Little in action – having scoped out the routine in The Pit, he waits till crew boss D’Angelo goes on a food run before assaulting the stash house to rob him some Barksdale drugs. Shotgun is fired, belly is emptied. Good result.

Cheers Ignatius and History Mike.

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