Thursday, 23 February 2017

The Wire, Season 1 (2002)

Avon Barksdale has quietly accumulated control of almost the entire Westside drug business in Baltimore.  He and his people are organised and careful, and they've so far gone under the radar of almost everyone in law enforcement despite being responsible for over a dozen murders.

Baltimore PD are finally going to take an interest in Barksdale, though.  This isn't always entirely willing; many on the force think the investigation is a Quixotic waste of time and money that would be better spent on securing routine 'buy-bust' operations; but if the men and women on the case can thread their way through the political minefield that is the police department, and find the evidence they need to nail Barksdale, they might just manage to land a career-making conviction.  The only question is what it will cost them ...

I originally saw the first season of The Wire about ten years ago.  I quite liked it - enough to buy this DVD set, as well as the other seasons, when they became relatively cheap - but I never felt a particularly strong urge to prioritise the show over other things on my shelves, so it has taken a while for me to get back to it.

Presumably I'm the one who has changed in the decade since my initial viewing, rather than the show mysteriously transforming itself on the discs, but I found it thoroughly compelling this time around.  Complex characters with conflicting agendas; an refreshing absence of 'idiot ball' moments, and a skillful ability to present deeply flawed but still sympathetic people on all sides of the situation.

Excellent stuff.  It may be a bit of a challenge if you struggle with shows that have a lot of bad language, or where there are few if any wholly admirable characters, but it's exceptionally well put together.

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