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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on July 19, 2016
I've been waiting years for this. Finally, The Wire gets the blu-ray treatment. One of the greatest shows in TV history, as well as being one of the most realistic shows. From the streets, to the cops, the press, and the politicians, no stone is left unturned. I can't recommend this strongly enough, it's that damn good.
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on May 10, 2010
It is very easy to get caught in the media hype of current popular entertainment, considering the longevity of so many reality-TV, sitcom and hospital drama series that play so perfectly to the nuances that reign in the mainstream demographic.

Enter... The Wire. No media hype - just critics that have been blowing a horn with few people taking the time to open their ears to hear.

Critics have hailed it as one of the masterpieces of TV - one of the best ever produced (See: Metacritic, Salon, Slate, Time, New York Times, London Guardian, London Telegraph)

The series was created by David Simon, a former police reporter with the Baltimore Sun, in partnership with former Baltimore homicide detective Edward Burns. Over its 5 seasons it didn't gain a large audience, but it is saturated with relevant social and political themes that will resonate for a long time to come.

The name of the series refers to the small squad of Baltimore detectives who's directive is to bring down the burgeoning drug business of Avon Barksdale. Their tactic is to implant wire-taps on the pay phones in and around the tenement buildings surrounding an inner-city Baltimore courtyard where most of the small but lucrative drug deals go down. As a viewer, the problem you are immediately faced with is that both sides of the law in this series have characters that you are empathetically drawn to. Jimmy McNulty provides the outward bravado for the team of detectives, with his supporting crew of Herc, Freamon, Sydnor, Greggs and his new lieutenant Cedric Daniels each having richly written story-lines that are equally compelling. The same holds true for Barksdale and his ilk - his nephew D'Angeloe Barksdale, Bodie, Poot, and most notably Stringer Bell being the business minded mastermind, using Robert's Rules of Order for his meetings with his underlings. Throughout the first few seasons he is suave and persuasive but not afraid to lay a heavy hand when it comes time to claim territory.

The cast is composed of numerous character actors, mixed in with the likes of folks you've seen playing fantastic roles in other series. Watch for the singer/songwriter Steve Earle as Walon, the leader of the 12 step program attended by Bubbles, a scene stealing drug addict who is quick to to give a tip now and then to the detectives for a few bucks. The opening song, "Way Down in the Hole" is a song composed by Tom Waits. Each season it is performed by a different artist. In the first season by The Blind Boys of Alabama, then in successive seasons by The Neville Brothers, DoMaJe, Steve Earle, and for the final season, Tom Waits.

Season 1: Deals primarily with the Barksdale syndicate, and sees the introduction of Omar, the somewhat equalizing foe who plays both sides to his advantage. The detectives work to build their team, while Barksdale sees to build his empire.

Season 2: Focusses on the corruption on the Baltimore docks, with a Russian/Greek mafia understory that adds even more mystery as the episodes play out.

Season 3: Brings a political theme to the forefront, with the power-plays of city councillors and mayoral candidates in their quest to make their way to the top, exposing the gritty reality of all levels of government in the microcosm of Balitmore politics.

Season 4: The school system is explored, as a member of the detectives team, having made a fatal error in judgment on the police force, takes a job as a teacher. His attempts to divert one of his students from a life of crime are noble, yet too little for the magnetic pull of the upward mobility of a young drug hustler.

Season 5: A serial killer myth is perpetuated by McNulty and Freamon, leading the media down a path that they think serves their needs, but ultimately becomes the machine of their undoing.

This series is entirely satisfying. It serves as a magnifying glass on any big city and the various cultures that ultimately result. It is not a case of "favorite episode", "favorite season" or "favorite quote" - the compendium of The Wire should be watched in its entirety.

Immerse yourself in the phenomenon, you won't be disappointed.
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on March 21, 2016
There ought to be more series like this.
A look at the drug trade from several angles and how corruption has bred drug addicts and kept them drug addicts.
A complex story but a compelling one.
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on February 19, 2009
Great characters (Hey, it's Omar!), great plots and dialogue. The best TV series people haven't heard of.

This is not mindless entertainment. It *is* entertaining but it also makes you think. It doesn't spoon feed you, you have to pay attention to figure out what's going on. In the meantime you end up learning a lot about police procedurals, gang life, inner city life, working on the docks, teaching inner city schools and working in a city newsroom -- because each season takes the core group of characters through different venues.

There are no stereotypes, no plot twists that are put in just to amp up the story line. Instead there are characters that feel real, that you end up caring about.

Check it out!
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on April 4, 2010
I don't want to write a long review for The Wire because nothing I could say would be adequate. Simply put: The Wire is the best police drama that I have seen in all my years of watching television. Set in a decaying Baltimore, the Wire explores the city's drug dealers and the police who investigate them. Each season profiles a different public institution: the police, the ports, the municipal government, the schools, and finally in the fifth season, local journalism. I discovered it on DVD and watched each season in long weekend marathons because I simply could not stop watching it. It is that compelling. See it.
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on December 3, 2015
One of the best television series EVER! The second season struggles a bit, but it gets it together by the end. Fantastic characters and superbly written. I bought this on sale for $72 CDN! It sells for $269 at Best Buy! Great price and quick delivery. I'm very pleased!
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on February 20, 2012
This is the best show you've never heard of. It is a great inner city crime drama. You really care about the characters. I enjoyed all the episodes and am saddened that there are no more episodes to watch. The only negative is that it is not filmed in high def so the episodes are a little grainy. The series was filmed before hi-def was the standard (started in 2002). Buy this box set, you won't be disappointed!
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on March 16, 2014
Awesome series! The show is very gritty, but it does seem to offer up a very true depiction of the lives of people involved in the drug trade. We are still on Series 1, but we're definitely hooked. The inner city and the ever-expanding drug culture presented in this series appear quite realistic (and both frightening and sad at the same time) to those of us who've never experienced that life first hand. The acting is wonderful, and the characters are well developed. Michael B. Jordan is fabulous, and I can see why he was selected for the role of Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station. Gotta love Idris Elba (Luther) in anything he does as he is one phenomenal actor, and he certainly does justice to the character of Stringer Bell. At the end of the day, I'm so glad that I didn't have to navigate that kind of life growing up. Well worth the money1
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on February 9, 2016
Wire is an exceptionally well written series that captures the Baltimore social systems between drug rings and police, and the underlying issues that exist within each institution. The series are riveting it's hard to stop at the end of each episode. While the issues themselves are dark, the humor and wit breaks up the levity. It's impossible not to fall in love with the lead character McNaulty whose intelligence but rogue like nature makes him endearing.
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on December 27, 2012
A lot of people around me heavily suggested that not watching The Wire at least once in your lifetime would mean you wouldn't know what "real" TV was.

They were right.

During the first few episodes, you'll be spending most of your time learning about characters and what the story revolves around. Then you'll be completely sold. While I personally am the kind of person to try to sit through as many episodes in a row as possible, with The Wire I could only watch 1-2 a day so that I'd have time to digest all the information and try to figure out what would happen in the next few episodes. The show makes you want to think and speculate. I can't even imagine how it was when the show first aired, people must have gone mad having to wait a week per episode and a few months between seasons.

It is a very powerful drama show that takes many different directions, starting at the very root of Baltimore's problems (drugs) to show how it could affect just about everything. Great cast, amazing dialog, music is spot on.

Definitely a must buy/watch. I blindly bought this without reading any review other than what my friends told me (which wasn't much aside from "just buy it") and have not regretted my investment.
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