Jane After Dark: The Wire
by Jane Boursaw, posted Jun 1st 2009 11:00AM
I never intended to watch The Wire next in my Jane After Dark pursuits. In fact, I planned on watching Veronica Mars, as many of you suggested. But a good number of you also recommended The Wire, and I had season one sitting here, so I popped it in one night.
I'm not gonna lie to you. It's been slow going. Here's how it went down:
Episode 1: I was completely lost, so I watched it twice to see if I could grasp it the second time around. Then I read the detailed synopsis on The Wire's official HBO site. Clearly, this show is not meant to be watched while you're doing something else. You need to sit down and focus on what's going on.
As I've mentioned before, Jane After Dark chronicles my DVD adventures while I'm working on the computer at night. But that's proving to be difficult with The Wire. This show has a LOT going on, and every scene is vital to the evolution of the show. Miss something, and you almost have to backtrack because every scene is integral to something else down the line.
Episode 2-6: I'm still kind of lost, but there's something about the story and characters that keeps me coming back. I have a pretty good handle on the cops and their individual stories; it's the drug dealers I'm having trouble with. But after watching the episodes and then reading the synopsis for each, I'm starting to get it. In a nutshell, Avon Barksdale and his partner Stringer Bell are running a drug business in Baltimore and leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. Det. Jimmy McNulty and a team of cops are hot on their trail, keeping tabs on them via surveillance and wire-tapping equipment. And of course, there are lots of other people -- both good and bad -- involved on both sides of the law. Many grey areas there.
For me, the beauty of The Wire is in the characters more than the storyline. McNulty is a bit of a "loose wire" when it comes to going after the bad guys. He's not afraid to think outside the box and tell his superiors how to do their jobs. His personal life is a train wreck, but that makes for an interesting cop, right?
I also appreciate seeing some of the actors I've grown to love on other shows this past year, including Lance Reddick, who plays Agent Broyles on Fringe. If you mute the TV, his character of Lt. Daniels on The Wire looks and moves pretty much the same as Broyles. From what I gather, though, Daniels might be a dirty cop.The jury's still out on Broyles, but he seems like he's on the up and up.
Then there's John Doman, who plays Dep. Comm. for Operations William A. Rawls on The Wire. But I started watching Damages last winter, and know him better as Walter Kendrick, a guy with more than a few similarities to Tony Soprano. Idris Elba, who plays Stringer Bell on The Wire, also plays Charles Miner on The Office. Quite a different character there.
Just about every scene of The Wire is great in one way or another, but one that stands out for me is where McNulty and Bunk are reconstructing the murder of Diedre Kesson. They're laying out photos of the body on the floor of her apartment and re-enacting how the shoot might have gone down, and the only words they speak are expletives. Even though the whole thing is tragic, the way they play the scene is pretty funny.
So I'm heading into the second half of season one of The Wire, and I'll report back next week and let you know how it goes. Any pointers for me from all of you Wire fans? Any tips or intel are much appreciated!