• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Jun 2, 2002
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
User Score
9.5

Universal acclaim- based on 668 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 19 out of 668

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  1. JeromeR
    Mar 21, 2007
    10
    Awesome!
  2. MichaelB
    Mar 25, 2007
    10
    While I wasn't too impressed with the first season, the following three seasons were absolutely brilliant. If you enjoy harsh cop dramas, don't overlook The Wire.
  3. lindas
    Mar 26, 2007
    10
    being in the surrounding county and to see what takes place in the city is amazing.and to say thanks for telling it lke it is.
  4. ZaneD
    Apr 22, 2007
    10
    Like some of the other comments here, my only complaint about the show is that more people have not seen it. Nothing compares, be it in television, film, or literature.
  5. deniss.
    Jun 23, 2007
    10
    best show ever. period!!!
  6. ShaunD.
    Jul 11, 2007
    10
    The finest drama on TV.
  7. NolandA.
    Jan 13, 2008
    10
    The wire is such a real show! People who don't enjoy the wire are just afraid to look in the mirror.
  8. BrianC.
    Dec 24, 2008
    10
    The best season of the best show to grace television since its invention. With the character development and story line leading up to this season, it is doubtful a better work of art will be created in a hundred years.
  9. Jean-MarcP.
    Oct 28, 2008
    10
    I've been watching The Wire three episodes a day on average for two weeks now, and I do hate TV! What will I do next, I don't know and I fear it a little. Will probably see more of my friends. Anyway, the best ever...
  10. ZacharyR.
    Jan 28, 2008
    10
    Quite possibly the best season of the best show ever produced.
  11. ChrisJ.
    Feb 15, 2008
    10
    The best season yet. Beautifully crafted, brilliantly acted. A window into a forgotten part of our society.
  12. OtisF
    Feb 17, 2008
    10
    There is nothing better out there.
  13. LauraD.
    Feb 25, 2008
    10
    Unbelievable social commentary - why hasn't this show been recognized by now?
  14. AlecM.
    Mar 25, 2008
    10
    The Sopanos was good (I love it), but in comparison to The Wire it's an overweight soap opera. Stunning in its vision, TV has never been this good.
  15. JeromeR
    Jun 17, 2008
    10
    Awesome!
  16. MT
    Jul 16, 2008
    10
    The most ambitious television series of all time: the depth of the story telling and sheer number of characters and their interplay throughout the series is what makes 'The Wire' so astounding. Never have I seen a show so richly nuanced, so true to life and so unflinchingly honest. And on top of all of this, The Wire remains entertaining for those who stick with it, with writing The most ambitious television series of all time: the depth of the story telling and sheer number of characters and their interplay throughout the series is what makes 'The Wire' so astounding. Never have I seen a show so richly nuanced, so true to life and so unflinchingly honest. And on top of all of this, The Wire remains entertaining for those who stick with it, with writing that runs the gamut from hilarity one moment to bleak pathos and despair the next. In spite of all of this I can see why the series never did well commercially: It is not intended for the casual viewer. Heavy subject matter aside, to appreciate the series, one really has to see it from the very beginning and digest every episode for the pieces to really fit together. Now that the majority of the series is available on DVD, that really is the best format to watch it in. I watched the first 4 seasons back-to-back and can't imagine having to wait every week between episodes. Expand
  17. AaronS.
    Jul 21, 2008
    10
    At this point it's like standing in an echo chamber. 'The Wire' is THE BEST show ever produced in the television medium. A remarkable, dense series that is the rare television program that approaches the level of art. Hyperbole? Absolutely not. 'The Wire' captures the zeitgeist better than any other program (or film for that matter).
  18. AnnM.
    Sep 26, 2008
    10
    I have only watched one season, but it is an amazing show - writing & acting are so far above the usual stuff on television. This is art!
  19. ChristieM
    Nov 10, 2009
    10
    I agree with the critics... the best season of The Wire, hands down. The children make you want to cry.
  20. CraigN
    Dec 28, 2009
    10
    If television may be categorized as literature, then The Wire is the great American novel of the 21st century. The series reached its peak in Season 4. A must-buy DVD
  21. CP
    Apr 13, 2009
    10
    The best season of the best TV show ever.
  22. MatthiasW
    Apr 18, 2009
    10
    The hype doesn't do it justice. "The Wire" is not only the best thing on television, but an amazing, heartbreaking work of art.
  23. DanielP
    May 27, 2009
    10
    Brilliant.
  24. ceej
    Jun 22, 2009
    10
    Most intense TV season ever. So, so heavy. Heaviest of all the seasons--drags you down, down into a place better than heaven. I might have an ulcer, but the compassion and education I've gained makes it worth it.
  25. ChrisB
    Jul 17, 2009
    10
    Entertainment perfection. If you love drama, comedy, character interaction, script writing, plot developing or any combination of any of them you will not find anything better than The Wire. The best entertainment I have ever seen, regardless of movies, TV, comedy, etc, this is entertainment of the very highest order. I've seen the best cinema, theatre, music, etc has to offer. This Entertainment perfection. If you love drama, comedy, character interaction, script writing, plot developing or any combination of any of them you will not find anything better than The Wire. The best entertainment I have ever seen, regardless of movies, TV, comedy, etc, this is entertainment of the very highest order. I've seen the best cinema, theatre, music, etc has to offer. This beats all of 'em Y' feel me. Expand
  26. ChrisC
    Nov 18, 2006
    10
    The experience is visceral. The best show on T.V. ever. I am unhealthily fixated on all the characters and the drama. Currently trying to turn all my smart friends on to The Wire.
  27. CarlA
    Nov 21, 2006
    10
    This is the only show on television that I watch regularly. It is absoluely excellent. I've heard that it is coming back for a fifth season. Thank goodness.
  28. ColinC
    Nov 25, 2006
    10
    This is the best show on television. Superb acting tight story lines, very underrated by mainstream viewers put off by language & the perception that it shows African-Americans in a most unfavorable light. What is missed is the core intelligence of these characters and the methods that they navigate thru their daily lives under difficult conditions.
  29. AlexW
    Dec 21, 2006
    10
    Rivetting! Mind-blowing! I cannot stress this enough. If you haven't watched it, you need to rent, buy, or steal the DVDs, turn off all your phones, lock yourself in a room for a couple of days, and discover the best show ever created!
  30. DavidL
    Dec 24, 2006
    10
    The Wire S4 manages to do what I hadn't thought possible - shock its fanbase into loving the show more than even the very first season. With an incredible setup for season 5, season 4 is the epitome of entertainment.
  31. JanH
    Dec 25, 2006
    10
    Very simply the best TV serial drama ever. ONe cares for every character no matter what they have done as the door is opened into their humanenss. aAtextbook on the problems of large urban cities. It really doesn't make any difference what your level of analysis is--it ends up being the best TV serial drama ever. Did I say the best ever? Answer is YES.
  32. LizA
    Dec 29, 2006
    10
    This show is phenomenal!!! The writing is amazing, the acting is flawless.....I love, love, love this show! It elevates the television serial to a whole new level. No other program can touch The Wire.
  33. DavidH
    Dec 29, 2006
    10
    Simply incredible television which stands head and shoulders above anything else.
  34. KenM
    Dec 31, 2006
    9
    After "Homicide: Life on The Streets" this is the best series ever.
  35. SeanW.
    Nov 27, 2007
    10
    Easily the best show on television hands down... wow.
  36. SeanR.
    Nov 27, 2007
    10
    Greatest show of all time. HOw this show has never won an Emmy astonishes me.
  37. ColinB.
    Dec 17, 2007
    10
    I have watched every season at least twice, and this by far is the best depiction of urban environments in the US today. To say this is the best show on TV does not even do it justice.
  38. FrancisC.
    Dec 28, 2007
    10
    The best television series ever made. I've watched the first four seasons three full times now; its a masterpiece. It might be decades before anything rivals The Wire.
  39. Aug 11, 2010
    10
    The show just got more and more powerful as it went into Season 4, which focused on the school system, bringing in four school kids who found themselves in the crosshairs of situations and decisions that were sad and frustrating to behold â
  40. Oct 6, 2011
    10
    Without this show, I would be dead from suicide. But since this show exists and since this season as well does exist, I am still here. It's better than some of the greatest movies of all time. In **** Credible
  41. Jun 18, 2012
    10
    Season 4 of The Wire is the single greatest season of television ever. The depth, complexity, balance, and ambition of the story make it remarkable. And, despite its stark portrayal of a mostly bleak world, it is massively satisfying and entertaining. The brilliant poignancy of the story about the eighth graders raises season 4 a notch above the The Wire's other seasons, which are allSeason 4 of The Wire is the single greatest season of television ever. The depth, complexity, balance, and ambition of the story make it remarkable. And, despite its stark portrayal of a mostly bleak world, it is massively satisfying and entertaining. The brilliant poignancy of the story about the eighth graders raises season 4 a notch above the The Wire's other seasons, which are all amazing in their own right. I'm sad for all the television watchers who have never seen it. I wish I could score this higher than "10." Somehow a "10" still seems inadequate. Expand
  42. Mar 3, 2013
    10
    I have never quite been able to decide whether I prefer Season Three or Four of The Wire, either way the thirteen episodes contained in this boxset continue to provide the most realistic and fascinating look at the drug trade and the culture that surrounds it ever seen on screen.
  43. Jun 26, 2011
    10
    For the longest time, I thought The Sopranos was the greatest show to ever hit television. And then a friend recommended The Wire. Each season is a powerhouse, but Season 4 is Shakespearean. Epic on all levels and told with the finest delivery, HBO doesn't need to remind us they have the eye for near perfect television. The best season from (probably) the best television series of all time.
  44. Jul 5, 2011
    10
    Season 4 sees this giant mosaic essay on the death of American capitalism at its best. The characters who have fascinated us in earlier series are still portrayed with panache and they are joined by an ensemble of child actors who produce extraordinary performances. It is the children who steal our focus this time. Their struggle to survive in a city that has abandoned them is profoundlySeason 4 sees this giant mosaic essay on the death of American capitalism at its best. The characters who have fascinated us in earlier series are still portrayed with panache and they are joined by an ensemble of child actors who produce extraordinary performances. It is the children who steal our focus this time. Their struggle to survive in a city that has abandoned them is profoundly affecting. Dukie, Randy, Namond and Michael, friends in middle school, are the Tom and Huck of 21st century America. The script is smart, never simple, witty and gritty and the storyline refuses to pander to the viewer demand for moralising and neat resolution.
    It is too early to say, but assertions that this is the best TV series for a decade may well be true.
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  45. Nov 1, 2011
    10
    The most perfect season of the greatest TV show ever. Although many of the child actors have been taken from the streets or whatever, they're all still very impressive. The school system is portrayed like it is. The Wire offers great wisdom season after season. The best ever.
  46. May 11, 2013
    10
    The. Best. Single. Television. Season. Ever. Created. It is breathtaking and heartbreaking. A flawless piece of art.
  47. Jan 30, 2012
    10
    Just wanted to share a bit. I have just talked to a former Baltimore undercover narcotics officer today, a man with 30 years of experience. And he told me this show might as well be a documentary. To me - that is saying something.
  48. Aug 23, 2012
    8
    A season that started pretty slowly, finished with 2 or 3 of the best episodes of the series. Brilliant idea for this season coming from the point of view of young kids growing up through this drug culture. Especially well done were the story arcs of Michael and Donte. One of these characters starts off the season as insufferable while the other begins as sympathetic. By the end of theA season that started pretty slowly, finished with 2 or 3 of the best episodes of the series. Brilliant idea for this season coming from the point of view of young kids growing up through this drug culture. Especially well done were the story arcs of Michael and Donte. One of these characters starts off the season as insufferable while the other begins as sympathetic. By the end of the season we have done a 180 degree turn emotionally with these characters. To see this transformation through the eyes of their circumstances done so brilliantly is a testament to the quality of the writing of this show. While I don't feel that the quality over the course of the entire season is on par with seasons 2 or 3, I would put the best episodes against any in the series. Expand
  49. Mar 13, 2013
    10
    The Wire is unchallenged as the best and most ambitious show television has to offer. And Season 4 of The Wire is, simply put, its best season. 10/10.
  50. Apr 26, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It's hard to believe, but The Wire, in Season 4, is somehow even better than it was in Season 3. When I first heard about this Season following middle school students, I was more than a little sceptical. For one thing, school settings are very often inaccurate, and I couldn't help but wonder why I would care about people that are quite a bit younger than me. However, my biggest concern was the child actors. At least for high school shows, you can often get away with hiring people in their earlier 20s. Of course, you absolutely cannot do this for middle school. And let's face it: how many times have people lauded a child actor? Even if the young'ins' portrayals were even slightly off, it would disrupt The Wire's otherwise brilliant cast.

    Looking back, I should've known that this was The Wire. The show would not settle for anything less than the best in terms of storytelling, dialogue, characterization, drama and, of course, acting. I can't say enough about Maestro Harrell (Randy), Tristan Wilds (Michael), Julito McCullum (Namond), and Jermaine Crawford (Dukie). With all due respect to adult actors in the industry, these kids take their respective challenging roles and do it better than almost everyone else. Seriously, these actors could just as easily have won Emmys as the series' adults have. Kudos to the casting team who picked the right kids to properly reflect the characters' respective emotional journeys.

    Yes, that's journeys with an 's'. Unlike so many shows that depict school settings, The Wire shows each individual kid as a separate entity, rather than as a group in a stereotypical social standing. There's no nerds struggling to fit in here. Instead, we're focusing on the edgy badass kids that are in high concentration in the drug filled streets of West Baltimore. Thanks to this, we're given deep character studies into how each person must deal with their living conditions in the ghetto.

    At the beginning of the series, Randy is the one who has it all together. He manages to have a good heart, a good family life, and faces little trouble with law enforcement. We slowly see his life turn upside down in a chain of events that starts with him unintentionally assisting in a murder. His tale unfortunately accurately shows us how fragile happiness is. On a side note, Carver wasn't the most likeable character in Season 1. Since then though, his character has taken a huge stride. The frustration and sadness that Seth Gilliam shows after letting Randy go to a group home was heartbreakingly believable. I sincerely hope that Randy can make it out of that home alive, but that is seeming increasingly unlikely.

    Meanwhile, we've got a bright young man in Dukie, who otherwise can't catch a break in life. He finds temporary satisfaction thanks to Prez, but his life quickly gets worse than it ever was. He's forcibly taken out of Prez's class, while his house gets evicted. Now, he must live with Michael, who's psychological health is now in question.

    Michael and Namond both show how 'the streets' can effect your very lifestyle. With Namond, we're given an optimistic outlook on change, and with Michael, a very pessimistic and depressing outlook. Namond starts out as a character whose bark is worse than his bite. We see him take out is frustrations on others, as he struggles to be the man of his house like his father, Wee-Bey, was. Colvin saw his vulnerability but also realized that this kid could be something more; the streets were doing nothing but hold him back. So unlike the rest of the kids, under Colvin's guidance, we have a positive feeling that Namond's life will be much better in the future.

    On the other side of the coin, Michael is a character that isn't too unlike Randy initially. He's smart, and his home life isn't as bad as some of the others'. But when Bug's father comes back, his personality takes a complete turnaround. What we saw in the final episodes was a personality akin to Namond's in the first episodes. The two fascinatingly swap personalities. However, what we see in Michael is something more frightening than Namond ever was. This new Michael isn't afraid to kill in cold blood or beat a kid senseless.

    Instead of the intriguing juxtaposition between the drug trade and the police force, this Season takes a harrowing look at the modern education system. Again, the school system is all about political gain, rather than doing what they set out to do. We see the newly elected Carcetti desperately trying to fix both the police force and the schools. The tough restrictions that Carcetti must deal with make us really think that perhaps Royce wasn't doing such a bad job after all.

    I've heard people say The Wire is out of date. I have to strongly disagree to that sentient. Yes, there are references to real-life events in the mid-2000s, but the issues that they present are still highly relevant to this day. Thanks, Dave Simon and the cast/crew of The Wire for this stunningly realistic series.
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  51. Mar 2, 2013
    10
    Only someone insane would find nothing to appreciate in the most perfect TV season in history. Beautiful and utterly engaging in every sense. Also features one of the most entrancing finales ever.
  52. Sep 6, 2013
    10
    ¿What is that smell? Smells soooo rare Hmmmm I don't know maybe is......no I don't think so.....Or yes....yes is true smells like THE BEST TELEVISION SERIES OF ALL TIMES. Period.
  53. 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 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 andsimply 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.

    another 10, id give it 9.75 on this season.
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  54. Mar 27, 2014
    10
    Temporada cuatro de The Wire es increible, introduce a cuatro jovenes que estan en su etapa escolar y como ver como algunos caen y otros ceden es a la vez devastadora y emocional, tambien introduce el sistema educativo y como las instituciones manipulan tal sistema con tal de lograr sus objetivos y despojando a sus estudiantes, su humanidad. Es la temporada perfecta para una serie perfecta.
  55. May 25, 2014
    10
    nothing will ever be this good on tv!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  56. Jan 23, 2015
    10
    The wire is the best television show that i ever seen, but in especially the 4 season is my favorite, so real and exciting.
    Absolutely recommended, if you want to see a TV show without cliches, you must see The Wire.
  57. Sep 30, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Wire is simply the fattest TV show one could ever experience.By fat I mean heaviest and rife with narrative ,characters ,social commentary and much more but never pretentious or knee-jerking,instead slow-brooding ,obsessive and compulsive with spectacular attention to detail and execution.When I first saw The Wire at age 17 I thought to myself "No Sopranos and OZ are the greatest TV dramas Add Breaking Bad and Deadwood to that list.I held this believe because I thought the Wire wasn`t just a drama but an actual satirical real life documentary of some kind and didn`t fit the same genre.It simply feels as if every character are from an actual source not just actors on sets.
    Still today for me it not only pushed the envelope of intelligent TV so close to the bone of reality but regarding how under rated it is I must praise it for how it it pioneered and executed so many unique element and excelled and succeeded at it which no other show has ever even attempted to do.Kudos for OZ and Sopranos for laying down the ground work though.
    There is method in this madness of The Wire but the biggest problem is the elements that makes the Wire so compelling to watch ,so important, is the same things that make it unconventional,unpopular and too difficult for the weaker minds.One of its main themes in a later season ,a commentary on man`s need for simplification is ironically the thing that made this show`s initial popularity low to average.

    But it also took risks in ways no other series have ever even attempted to do.Some things that stand out in this show from others are borderline unfathomable huge cast of child actors that wipe the floor with anything any other show has, period.The 'younglings' in Season 4 man,all of them really. A majority black cast that delivers time and again(leave no room for bias!).
    Great acting and sub-plots that always seem to tie in and have a purpose,every sentence has its purpose.There are so many characters and each and every character knowing or not knowing about another happens logically in the narrative. No exceptional characters with intriguing lives smarter than the average Joe and or mystery job in past,super depression and self-loathing etc. what you see is what you get.No or little inner thoughts revealed or reminiscing the past via editing,almost everything happens at that pivotal moment in the characters lives.The character are all trapped in some way trying to make sense of it all even when they are loosing it themselves.No single central characters,perhaps the only single most constant trinity of characters the city 'the game' and death.
    An abundance of outdoor scenes and on location shots with many actors from said location and even some actors being real convics, it is a story about a war right.You will see so much of Bodymore. A novelistic approach akin to Charles Dickens style,a deep and complex commentary on society and social systems,which allows for perhaps the darkest ,most realistic and intelligent drama ever created,And possibly the most logical drama.Things just make sense even when they don`t .

    Where the other above mentioned great shows use lots of dream sequences,foreshadowing,montages,music cues ,flashback etc to pre-chew and spoon feed in order to simplify the plot for the viewer "Okay when this edited overdubbed music plays feel this way,because of what just happened in the scene the Wire goes the other way and deals a raw unbiased grey version of its settings and characters where the viewer can see either side of the wire,whether it is right or wrong for any party.It never judges.Each character isn`t simply a well written entity nor moved about the chess board by the shows creators like gods but instead and I will make no secret about it a sense of urgency in a complete voyeuristic view of all the character`s life are given to the audience,in a similar sense Rear window did.I mean that non-sexually but in context of espionage and points of views.The Wire is so aware that the world is in turmoil and chaos.The topic here of objectivism vs subjectivism is debatable but what you see is what you get .I think The Wire is aware of this and sometimes those character stare back at you.And it isn`t truly until the very end when the very last scene of the last episode ended that one realizes that the greatest and most important achievements in TV history has been made...

    The fourth wall between its voyeuristic/espionage viewer and its character have finally been broken and it itsn`t so much a difference any more that we got pulled into the world of the Baltimore and its morality and mortality as much it has spilled over into ours and said ,this isn`t a show this is reality,this is happening no even when the final credits roll.

    Readers if you miss the Wire you will probably never get the same opportunity again to see something so grand and special off this same magnitude.There will never be a second Wiretap.
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  58. Mar 15, 2014
    10
    Every season of The Wire brings something new, but Season 4 brings an unparalleled look at what really matters in life by taking us to where it all starts: the schools. Ostensible star character Jimmy McNulty essentially disappears from the show, replaced by a bunch of unknown middle-schoolers. Their equally unknown actors deliver powerful performances as we watch this close-knit groupEvery season of The Wire brings something new, but Season 4 brings an unparalleled look at what really matters in life by taking us to where it all starts: the schools. Ostensible star character Jimmy McNulty essentially disappears from the show, replaced by a bunch of unknown middle-schoolers. Their equally unknown actors deliver powerful performances as we watch this close-knit group diverge down different paths in life and ask why.

    The existing drug ring, investigation, and political storylines continue their track, and are no less riveting. A new wave of violence comes over the city with the rise of Marlo's gang, rendering many of the show's toughest moments. Candidate Carcetti's idealism starts to wane as the realities of politics unveil themselves. Prez takes up a second career as a teacher and serves as our window into the children's world. Herc walks in on a politician getting a blowjob.

    However, the endearing image of the season is the new opening titles, with the song now rendered by the children of Baltimore themselves, which fades out to the sound of an opening bell. It's time to get schooled.
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  59. May 28, 2015
    10
    The Wire is the best series I've come across. Breaking Bad gets close, but The Wire still wins out.
    I can not believe how underrated it was back when it first came out!
Metascore
98

Universal acclaim - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 21
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 21
  3. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. 88
    Despite high praise, there are two serious problems: (a) The first new episode is crazy confusing, and (b) over the course of the first batch of episodes, the story lines don't develop quickly enough.
  2. 100
    To me, what allows “The Wire” to surpass “The Sopranos” in the pantheon of greatest American TV shows is its ambition and its anger.
  3. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    100
    This is TV as great modern literature, a shattering and heartbreaking urban epic about a city (Baltimore) rotting from within.