• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Jun 2, 2002
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
The Wire Image
Metascore
95

Universal acclaim - based on 17 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.2

Universal acclaim- based on 365 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: In chronicling a multi-generational family business dealing illegal drugs and the efforts of the Baltimore police to curb their trade, this series draws parallels between these organizations and the men and women on either side of the battle.The words of Gary W. Potter, Professor of CriminalIn chronicling a multi-generational family business dealing illegal drugs and the efforts of the Baltimore police to curb their trade, this series draws parallels between these organizations and the men and women on either side of the battle.The words of Gary W. Potter, Professor of Criminal Justice and Police Studies at Eastern Kentucky University, in writing about the savings and loan scandals of the 1980s, can also be used to illuminate some of the central premises of the show:"There is precious little difference between those people who society designates as respectable and law abiding and those people society castigates as hoodlums and thugs. The world of corporate finance and corporate capital is as criminogenic and probably more criminogenic than any poverty-wracked slum neighborhood. The distinctions drawn between business, politics, and organized crime are at best artificial and in reality irrelevant. Rather than being dysfunctions, corporate crime, white-collar crime, organized crime, and political corruption are mainstays of American political-economic life."Tim Goodman, the television critic for The San Francisco Chronicle, summed the show up perfectly when he wrote: "This show is precisely the reason you pay for HBO."In New York's Newsday, Diane Werts says: "Most TV crime series aspire to John Grisham's level. 'The Wire' aspires to Dostoevsky's."Season ThemesSeason One centers around a family of drug dealers and the innerworkings of their empire. It also follows the detectives who are trying to catch the high members of the empire. Season Two steps away from the drug trade (while still mentioning characters from the previous season) to a case of dead prostitutes which turns into a look at the corruption surrounding the Port. Season Three investigates politics and finishes the main stories that were left open in season one. Season Four focuses on four middle school students and their journeys through the public school system and continues to address the politics of an inner-city and the issues of an election. Season Five is rumored to be about the media's role in Baltimore. Season Five will be the show's final season.Theme MusicIn the Season One opening credits, the Blind Boys of Alabama did Tom Waits's "Way Down in the Hole". The Season Two opening credits feature Waits's version of the song. According to creator David Simon, "It was our way of saying: This is the same show (song) but this year, the tale itself (singer, tonality) will be different." The Neville Brothers's version of the song opens Season Three. The theme which plays over the end credits was composed by the show's music supervisor, Blake Leyh.

    International AiringsAustralia -- Monday at 12:00 p.m. on Ch.9. Currently airing Season 3.
    New Zealand -- Wednesday at 11:40 p.m. on TV2, beginning December 15, 2004.
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  • Genre(s): Drama

Where To Watch

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 17
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 17
  3. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Newark Star-Ledger
    Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    What Simon is doing with "The Wire" - besides crafting arguably the most realistic cop show ever - is taking the narrative style of books and translating it to television. ... By itself, it raises TV's collective IQ at least a few points. [29 May 2003]
  2. Arizona Republic
    Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    It's flat-out brilliant. [1 Jun 2003]
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    The Wire, while brilliant,is not exactly user-friendly. Attention is required, but the series more than repays the time and effort invested.
  4. Denver Post
    Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    One of the best series anywhere. [8 Jun 2003]
  5. Newsday
    Reviewed by: Noel Holston
    Jul 18, 2013
    90
    Be forewarned that opener is dense, quick- moving and largely absent the sort of explanatory dialogue that dramatic series typically use to ensure that we have our bearings. Even viewers who savored each installment of the original series may feel disoriented. Newcomers may feel as though they're watching a foreign-language film without subtitles. My advice is to videotape it, re-watch and have faith. The coherence quotient goes up by the hour, and patience will be rewarded. [30 May 2003]
  6. Philadelphia Inquirer
    Reviewed by: Jonathan Storm
    Jul 18, 2013
    90
    An immensely satisfying - and immensely complicated - police drama. [31 May 2003]
  7. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Reviewed by: Tony Norman
    Jul 18, 2013
    80
    There's something inspiring about series creator David Simon's trusting his audience enough to tell a complex story about the elusive motives of cops, drug dealers and longshoremen without shortchanging his characters' humanity in the process. [31 May 2003]

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 21
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 21
  3. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. May 13, 2014
    10
    The Wire is simply the best show ever created. Once you get into the show you will not want to stop watching it. It is totally engrossing andThe Wire is simply the best show ever created. Once you get into the show you will not want to stop watching it. It is totally engrossing and it is almost impossible not to love this work of perfection! Expand
  2. Aug 19, 2013
    10
    The second season follows the edge of perfection. A brilliant story and script, as in the first season. You know watching this season why theThe second season follows the edge of perfection. A brilliant story and script, as in the first season. You know watching this season why the people consider The Wire, as one of the best series ever. Expand
  3. Apr 30, 2015
    10
    This is the first and only 10 I've ever given anything on Metacritic. It deserves an 11, honestly. This right here is the greatest televisionThis is the first and only 10 I've ever given anything on Metacritic. It deserves an 11, honestly. This right here is the greatest television show ever produced, on any network in any decade. Expand
  4. Oct 6, 2011
    10
    This is the season where I fell deeply in love with The Wire. After that, we were inseparable. I could try to **** the DVD case all for theThis is the season where I fell deeply in love with The Wire. After that, we were inseparable. I could try to **** the DVD case all for the sake of this show. It's beyond brilliant. It's holy Expand
  5. Mar 3, 2012
    10
    I've watched many, many television shows, and I can confidently affirm that The Wire is by far the greatest achievement in the history of TV.I've watched many, many television shows, and I can confidently affirm that The Wire is by far the greatest achievement in the history of TV. I won't bother typing up a long and well thought-out review because I'm sure the previous users have done a fair enough job of describing this show, but I will say this: no other television series compares to The Wire, and it will be a long time before another one does. Expand
  6. May 24, 2013
    9
    The Second, 12 episode, Season of the critically acclaimed 'The Wire' picks up proceedings not long after the events of year one with theThe Second, 12 episode, Season of the critically acclaimed 'The Wire' picks up proceedings not long after the events of year one with the investigative team lead by Daniels now disbanded. Rather than jumping straight back into the aftermath of the Barksdale drug empire (which becomes more of a background story this time around) the writers instead choose to introduce the viewer to another social group found in the city of Baltimore, namely the dock workers that are struggling to make ends meet in modern times. When thirteen bodies are found in an unclaimed container another unpredictable and intriguing case starts to unfold.

    All credit must go to the writers and cast who are able to effortlessly craft another fascinating tale despite a completely new focus and the introduction of a whole host of extra characters. As with Season One the line between the supposed good guys and bad guys remains blurred as the show takes the time to fully explore the motivations of its entire cast and it is this that makes The Wire far more than just another cop show.
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  7. Jul 24, 2012
    7
    Normally to call a season of a show a 7 out of 10 is incredible, but following one of the best seasons of a show I have ever seen it was a bitNormally to call a season of a show a 7 out of 10 is incredible, but following one of the best seasons of a show I have ever seen it was a bit of a disappointment. Bottom line is that the dock worker plot just did not work for me. Their was not one of these characters that I rooted for or felt the least bit invested in. Still love all the cop work, and there was enough Stringer and Barksdale to wet my appetite for next year, I would have just liked more of it. Here is hoping next year is more season 1 and less 2. Expand

See all 21 User Reviews

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