Even if guns, thugs and drugs aren’t usually jam, if you’re a TV fanatic, HBO’s The Wire (2002-2008) is a show you simply have to see. HBO’s critically acclaimed crime drama is rated as #6 on IMDB’s Top TV list and is a cop show unlike any other.
Police shows are often the cop-out of TV writing – full of cheap thrills, cardboard characters, questionable conservative politics and a predictable episodic structure. The Wire co-creator David Simon, a former crime reporter for The Baltimore Sun for 13 years, is not a fan of the genre.
So while The Wire might start off being about cops, it’s more like one of those sprawling novels that Charles Dickens (himself a former court reporter) wrote about London’s poor. The Wire is the story of how the United States’ War On Drugs policy changed the nature of police work in Baltimore.
“The drug war was destroying police work. Street-level drug enforcement was becoming the skill set and solving crime was falling by the wayside,” says David. “This is a horror show because we are a heavily armed society that has lost control and the militarisation of police surrounding the drug war has made an us-against-them mentality.”
Look out for Idris Elba who plays Russel “Stringer” Bell, a drug kingpin’s second-in-command who is as genteel as he is ruthless.