• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Jun 2, 2002
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
The Wire Image
Metascore
95

Universal acclaim - based on 17 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 239 Ratings

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  • Starring: J.D. Williams, Lance Reddick, John Doman
  • Summary: In chronicling a multi-generational family business dealing illegal drugs and the efforts of the Baltimore police to curb their trade, this series draws parallels between these organizations and the men and women on either side of the battle.The words of Gary W. Potter, Professor of CriminalIn chronicling a multi-generational family business dealing illegal drugs and the efforts of the Baltimore police to curb their trade, this series draws parallels between these organizations and the men and women on either side of the battle.The words of Gary W. Potter, Professor of Criminal Justice and Police Studies at Eastern Kentucky University, in writing about the savings and loan scandals of the 1980s, can also be used to illuminate some of the central premises of the show:"There is precious little difference between those people who society designates as respectable and law abiding and those people society castigates as hoodlums and thugs. The world of corporate finance and corporate capital is as criminogenic and probably more criminogenic than any poverty-wracked slum neighborhood. The distinctions drawn between business, politics, and organized crime are at best artificial and in reality irrelevant. Rather than being dysfunctions, corporate crime, white-collar crime, organized crime, and political corruption are mainstays of American political-economic life."Tim Goodman, the television critic for The San Francisco Chronicle, summed the show up perfectly when he wrote: "This show is precisely the reason you pay for HBO."In New York's Newsday, Diane Werts says: "Most TV crime series aspire to John Grisham's level. 'The Wire' aspires to Dostoevsky's."Season ThemesSeason One centers around a family of drug dealers and the innerworkings of their empire. It also follows the detectives who are trying to catch the high members of the empire. Season Two steps away from the drug trade (while still mentioning characters from the previous season) to a case of dead prostitutes which turns into a look at the corruption surrounding the Port. Season Three investigates politics and finishes the main stories that were left open in season one. Season Four focuses on four middle school students and their journeys through the public school system and continues to address the politics of an inner-city and the issues of an election. Season Five is rumored to be about the media's role in Baltimore. Season Five will be the show's final season.Theme MusicIn the Season One opening credits, the Blind Boys of Alabama did Tom Waits's "Way Down in the Hole". The Season Two opening credits feature Waits's version of the song. According to creator David Simon, "It was our way of saying: This is the same show (song) but this year, the tale itself (singer, tonality) will be different." The Neville Brothers's version of the song opens Season Three. The theme which plays over the end credits was composed by the show's music supervisor, Blake Leyh.

    International AiringsAustralia -- Monday at 12:00 p.m. on Ch.9. Currently airing Season 3.
    New Zealand -- Wednesday at 11:40 p.m. on TV2, beginning December 15, 2004.
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  • Genre(s): Drama
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 17
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 17
  3. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Hal Boedeker
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    The Wire doesn't receive the attention of other HBO dramas, but it should. It often surpasses them in the chances it takes and the stories it tells. [1 Jun 2003]
  2. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    It's flat-out brilliant. [1 Jun 2003]
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    The Wire, while brilliant,is not exactly user-friendly. Attention is required, but the series more than repays the time and effort invested.
  4. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    One of the best series anywhere. [8 Jun 2003]
  5. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Jul 18, 2013
    90
    One of the best shows on television. ... The show, which prides itself on unvarnished realism, is almost willfully jagged and hard to follow. But it is just as hard to turn off.
  6. Reviewed by: Jonathan Storm
    Jul 18, 2013
    90
    An immensely satisfying - and immensely complicated - police drama. [31 May 2003]
  7. Reviewed by: Tony Norman
    Jul 18, 2013
    80
    There's something inspiring about series creator David Simon's trusting his audience enough to tell a complex story about the elusive motives of cops, drug dealers and longshoremen without shortchanging his characters' humanity in the process. [31 May 2003]

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. May 13, 2014
    10
    The Wire is simply the best show ever created. Once you get into the show you will not want to stop watching it. It is totally engrossing andThe Wire is simply the best show ever created. Once you get into the show you will not want to stop watching it. It is totally engrossing and it is almost impossible not to love this work of perfection! Expand
  2. Jun 28, 2012
    10
    Yet another brilliant season of the greatest TV drama of all time. The story of the middle class being screwed over by the city they helped toYet another brilliant season of the greatest TV drama of all time. The story of the middle class being screwed over by the city they helped to built was tragic and powerful, with some splendid new characters and the usual dramatic gut-punches one grows to expect from 'The Wire'. PS: Valchek is a d*** Expand
  3. Aug 19, 2013
    10
    The second season follows the edge of perfection. A brilliant story and script, as in the first season. You know watching this season why theThe second season follows the edge of perfection. A brilliant story and script, as in the first season. You know watching this season why the people consider The Wire, as one of the best series ever. Expand
  4. Sep 9, 2014
    10
    Season 2 of the wire moves from the inner city to the docks, but continues to show the story of institutional inertia crushing out theSeason 2 of the wire moves from the inner city to the docks, but continues to show the story of institutional inertia crushing out the individual on a regular basis. It's well into the Tragedy section of the Comedy/Tragedy scale, and it's very well done. Expand
  5. May 24, 2013
    10
    The Second, 12 episode, Season of the critically acclaimed 'The Wire' picks up proceedings not long after the events of year one with theThe Second, 12 episode, Season of the critically acclaimed 'The Wire' picks up proceedings not long after the events of year one with the investigative team lead by Daniels now disbanded. Rather than jumping straight back into the aftermath of the Barksdale drug empire (which becomes more of a background story this time around) the writers instead choose to introduce the viewer to another social group found in the city of Baltimore, namely the dock workers that are struggling to make ends meet in modern times. When thirteen bodies are found in an unclaimed container another unpredictable and intriguing case starts to unfold.

    All credit must go to the writers and cast who are able to effortlessly craft another fascinating tale despite a completely new focus and the introduction of a whole host of extra characters. As with Season One the line between the supposed good guys and bad guys remains blurred as the show takes the time to fully explore the motivations of its entire cast and it is this that makes The Wire far more than just another cop show.
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  6. Jul 19, 2013
    10
    simply the standard by which all other shows are judged. i have the sopranos slightly higher, but the wire holds quality quite well throughoutsimply the standard by which all other shows are judged. i have the sopranos slightly higher, but the wire holds quality quite well throughout and the quality is simply incredible. this is the story of a city told from the ground up. the first season is a dive into an immense world that just keeps getting deeper and deeper until you realise we are all part of the world beyond the wire and yet the city rolls on.

    this first season is judged on its own merits, easily a 10, and no amount of idiot middle class who love it because they were told to, despite never seeing the show, or counter counter culture descreditors are going to make me forget that.

    1 is a ten based on its own merits.
    the series is a 10 based on its own merits.
    the weaker seasons are a 10 based on the fact they are that much better than anything else on tv, at what they do, with a very few key exceptions.

    9.5 rounded up.
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  7. Jul 24, 2012
    7
    Normally to call a season of a show a 7 out of 10 is incredible, but following one of the best seasons of a show I have ever seen it was a bitNormally to call a season of a show a 7 out of 10 is incredible, but following one of the best seasons of a show I have ever seen it was a bit of a disappointment. Bottom line is that the dock worker plot just did not work for me. Their was not one of these characters that I rooted for or felt the least bit invested in. Still love all the cop work, and there was enough Stringer and Barksdale to wet my appetite for next year, I would have just liked more of it. Here is hoping next year is more season 1 and less 2. Expand

See all 16 User Reviews

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