Dear “The Wire,”
You are the greatest television series that ever was or ever will be.
I’m sorry if that puts a heinous amount of pressure on you, and I understand such a superlative statement invites hordes of angry dissenters. But in the end, I’m not all that sorry.
You are one of the great loves of my life, so I know anything I say about you sounds as though it should be taken with a grain of salt. But I want to tell the world—and you—exactly why you’re the most special tale of fiction in the modern era.
David Simon, the man who dreamed you up, cut his teeth as a reporter, then turned his experiences with homicide detectives in Baltimore into a non-fiction book. Then he switched gears, writing another book about the complex lives of real drug dealers and their families. He decided to combine these two into a television show that would depict both.
A cop show with sympathetic drug dealers? I cautiously went along.
But you didn’t stop there, “The Wire.”
Your first season showed me the inner workings of an urban police department ruled by politics and stats. You taught me that drug empires are run by incredibly intelligent people with a ruthless desire for survival, that my ideas about organized crime were simplistic at the least and classist at the most.
In your second season, you switched gears and you gave me your “elegy for America’s working class,” as Mr. Simon put it. I watched with a lump in my throat as the dock workers’ world crashed around them.
Then for season three, you went to Baltimore’s City Hall, and I went with you, eager to have my all my false notions about modern city politics completely pulverized.
Believe me, they were.
Then, in season four, you really rocked my world. You showed me the effect all of the horrors of this world have on those most innocent—children—in the realm I want to personally improve (education). It was a powerful experience.
Finally, your grand finale, season five, truly taught me to question the media, not only its influence but also its motivations. All the while, the same characters, those wonderful and complex and entirely unique characters, faced new challenges, encountered impossible decisions and recovered from tragedies.
By the show’s end, I’d become a more knowledgeable, compassionate person. Thanks to you, “The Wire”, I am now both ashamed and proud to be American.
I am at a loss for a way to end this, so I’ll stop my adulation and leave you with the words of a much more brilliant writer than I: the great David Simon.
“We enjoy being provoked and titillated, but resist the rigorous, painstaking examination of issues that bring us to the point of recognizing our problems.”