Our beloved Stringer Bell has probably been the busiest of all "Wire" alums. Aside from spots on People Magazine's "100 Most Beautiful People" and a host of other "Good Looking People" magazines of late, he's also got at least three big budget films in the can, including Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" and the newest "Ghost Rider" romp.
He recently drew accolades for a starring role in "Butley" at London's Duchess Theatre, and equal amounts of praise for the BBC newsroom miniseries, "The Hour," which Time called the "best new show of the summer." Right now he's Iago to Clarke Peters' "Othello..."
David Simon is responsible for one of the greatest feats of storytelling of the past century, and that’s the entire five-season run of the television series The Wire. If that sounds like hyperbole to you, then you haven’t watched the show yet. It is the most intricate web of character, motivation, insight, action, repercussion, and emotion that’s ever been on TV, and it rivals the grand novels of the late 19th century, when novels actually, regularly, had scope.
In an interview with Slate on December 1, 2006, David Simon said that Season 5 would be about the media and media consumption. A major focus would be journalism, which would be dramatized through a newspaper modeled after The Baltimore Sun.
Season four began on September 10, 2006. The series expanded its scope again to include an examination of the school system. Other major plots include the mayoral race that continues the political storyline begun in season three, and a closer look at Marlo Stanfield's drug gang, which has grown to control most of western Baltimore's trafficking.
Season three of The Wire continues the series' even-handed dissection of the Baltimore "drug wars," as seen through the eyes of both the police investigators and the drug lords. With charismatic hoodlum Stringer Bell (Idris Elba) emerging as the unofficial leader of the Barksdale drug empire, and with narcotics detective James McNulty (Dominic West) allowing his personal demons to catch up with him vis-à-vis an ever-increasing dependence upon booze, a curious dichotomy is established whereby Stringer often comes off as the more mentally stable and morally responsible of the two men.
The core of the show is this small group of detectives that made the case on Barksdale and the series continues to chronicle their trials and tribulations on the job and in their personal lives. The abrupt end of that case upset the detectives enough to get most of them in trouble with their supers. So season two starts off with most of these detectives working bad assignments, although some of the detectives (the fortunate ones who didn’t give the supers too much grief) from the case were promoted. The glue of the series Detective Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) who, after pissing off the captain far too many times pushing the Barksdale case, is assigned to boat patrol where his most exciting day is catching fresh crab. On one of these dull days, he comes across the body of a girl floating in the water. The next day a carton that was off-loaded from a ship is found in the docks with the bodies of thirteen young girls who had died of suffocation. It isn’t long before the two incidents are connected and it is reveled that these girls were murdered.
Set in Baltimore, this show centers around the city's inner-city drug scene. It starts as mid-level drug dealer, D'Angelo Barksdale beats a murder rap. After a conversation with a judge, Det. James McNulty has been assigned to lead a joint homicide and narcotics team, in order to bring down drug kingpin Avon Barksdale. Avon Barksdale, accompanied by his right-hand man Stringer Bell, enforcer Wee-Bey and many lieutenants (including his own nephew, D'Angelo Barksdale), has to deal with law enforcement, informants in his own camp, and competition with a local rival, Omar, who's been robbing Barksdale's dealers and reselling the drugs. The supervisor of the investigation, Lt. Cedric Daniels, has to deal with his own problems, such as a corrupt bureaucracy, some of his detectives beating suspects, hard-headed but determined Det. McNulty, and a blackmailing deputy. The show depicts the lives of every part of the drug "food chain", from junkies to dealers, and from cops to politicians.
What ultimately makes The Wire uplifting amid the heartbreak it conveys is its embodiment of a spirit that Barack Obama calls "the audacity of hope." It is filled with characters who should quit but don't, not only the boys themselves but teachers, cops, ex-cops, and ex-cons who lose their hearts to them. This refusal to give up in the face of defeat is the reality of ghetto life as well. Feel me: It's what The Wire is all about.
The Wire, which has just begun its fourth season on HBO, is surely the best TV show ever broadcast in America. This claim isn't based on my having seen all the possible rivals for the title, but on the premise that no other program has ever done anything remotely like what this one does, namely to portray the social, political, and economic life of an American city with the scope, observational precision, and moral vision of great literature.