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

Universal acclaim - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 17
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 17
  3. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    What Simon is doing with "The Wire" - besides crafting arguably the most realistic cop show ever - is taking the narrative style of books and translating it to television. ... By itself, it raises TV's collective IQ at least a few points. [29 May 2003]
  2. 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]
  3. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    One of the best series anywhere. [8 Jun 2003]
  4. Reviewed by: Howard Rosenberg
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    A genius series the equal of ABC's "NYPD Blue" at its best, and one that delivers more boom for the buck than either NBC's admired crime tome "Boomtown" or the irritating coppers of FX's "The Shield."
  5. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    It's flat-out brilliant. [1 Jun 2003]
  6. Reviewed by: David Zurawik
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    There is little precedence within television history for the rich portrayal of working class life as depicted by The Wire. [1 Jun 2003]
  7. Reviewed by: Steve Johnson
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    The best show on television. That's right. It's better, even, than that other HBO series, the one about the nice New Jersey family, because for all of David Chase's brilliance with character in "The Sopranos," he can sometimes wander down thematic dead ends in search of a great dramatic discovery. Simon, with his careful plotting, police-investigation structure and sure sense of what he is trying to say, gives "The Wire" a sense of propulsion, of every moment building to something.
  8. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    The most ambitious storytelling series on television. ... "The Wire" is the best show on HBO, which means it's the best show on television, period. If you want in on it, even if you missed the first go-around, you'll find a way to make sense of it all.
  9. 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.
  10. Reviewed by: Terry Kelleher
    Jun 28, 2013
    91
    The show moves methodically from one story line to another, progressing by inches yet holding our interest with its finely drawn characters and a rare ability to illuminate the gray areas of city life.
  11. Reviewed by: Jonathan Storm
    Jul 18, 2013
    90
    An immensely satisfying - and immensely complicated - police drama. [31 May 2003]
  12. Reviewed by: Cliff Froehlich
    Jul 18, 2013
    90
    The difficulty of teasing apart these tangled relationships and getting up to speed on backstory will prove too daunting for some viewers, especially those who prefer quick and tidy resolutions. But if you're willing to tolerate some initial confusion, "The Wire" rewards patience. The dialogue is sharply funny and richly colloquial, and the actors are a constant astonishment.
  13. Reviewed by: Noel Holston
    Jul 18, 2013
    90
    Be forewarned that opener is dense, quick- moving and largely absent the sort of explanatory dialogue that dramatic series typically use to ensure that we have our bearings. Even viewers who savored each installment of the original series may feel disoriented. Newcomers may feel as though they're watching a foreign-language film without subtitles. My advice is to videotape it, re-watch and have faith. The coherence quotient goes up by the hour, and patience will be rewarded. [30 May 2003]
  14. 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.
  15. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jul 1, 2013
    90
    [The Wire's] attention to detail, plus a vast canvas of characters, makes for a dense boulder of a story that moves creakily for the first couple of hours. But once it gets rolling, it's irresistible because of the humanity creator-writer David Simon finds in his characters.
  16. As good as some other cop shows are -- "The Shield," for example -- no other comes this close to a true-to-life portrayal of life on the mean streets. [29 May 2003]
  17. 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]
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 265 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 17
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 17
  3. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. 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. Full Review »
  2. 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.
    Full Review »
  3. 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.
    Full Review »