The Wire is Deeper Than You Think

The Wire is Deeper Than You Think

If we’ve said anything with The Wire
we’ve tried to critique the drug war for being what it is in places like West
Baltimore it is no longer a war against dangerous narcotics. It may be have begun
as such but now it is a war against the underclass and it’s being fought by
people who have against people who have not. There have been very few television
shows that embrace the idea of real human beings on a real human scale it’s
really hard to do I’m hard to keep people interested but we were not
interested in being hyperbolic with the show the show is rooted in people who
were rooted in a real place and that’s improbable for television and that’s
what I think that’s what everyone felt was so subversive it was a it was a very
idiosyncratic message from up from a very real place look may I do what I can
do to help y’all but the game is out there and it’s either play or get played
if there’s anything that distinguishes the wire from a lot of the serialized
drama you see it was that the writers were not from television none of us grew
up thinking we wanted to get to Hollywood and write a TV show or a movie
ed Byrnes was a cop and then he was a schoolteacher there were journalists on
the writing staff there were novelists there were playwrights too everyone
began somewhere else in the beginning there is the story what story are you
trying to tell what characters are required to successfully tell that story
it is the writers responsibility to treat the character as a complete human
after that the writing is just organic shit’s going wrong here’s where I think
it’s going wrong and here’s what I think might make it right that impulse was the
same in the wire writing room as it would be at the editorial board of a
good newspaper we’re building a house here every single one of us all the
writers all the actors all the crew all the directors everything in our bag of
tricks it’s all the tools in the toolbox it’s not about how often the hammer
comes out it’s about the house we’re building I’m not one of those people who
likes writing I just have to do it I tend to pace
around and think about scenes I tend to take a nap in the middle of the day I
tend to struggle to stay at the computer or I’ll stay at the computer and
research a point heavily I’ll flail around for an hour and a half to get to
small phrases that’ll end up cutting anyways it’s not really dawdling because
all that time thinking about it worrying about it is me coming up with better
ideas or throwing out bad ideas and then when the script is finally do I’ll be
spitting it out as fast as I can one piece of advice would just be this
don’t tell a story because you’re sustaining a franchise don’t tell a
story because they’ve given you hours to make a TV show and you want to have an
audience that’s the problem with most episodic television which is that once
you get a TV show up you think that the meaning of your life is to keep the show
up at all costs so if the audience is one more Omar give them more Omar if
they want more stringer Bell give them more stringer so the greater questions
which I think a lot of writers and television don’t ask themselves are why
are you telling this story what does the story mean when you can answer the big
questions then you are ready to write you can’t even call this shit of war why
not war’s end on the wire we were trying to
explore this stuff you don’t see the dope on the table all that has been done
to death sometimes the real poetry of police work is a couple of detectives
with their feet on a desk in the back room looking at ballistics and that
sounds like anti drama but that’s a trick to making good drama the drama has
to be earned there have to be moments of anti drama you can’t make a good show
based on pure verisimilitude pure anti drama but you have to acknowledge a lot
of ordinary life most TV doesn’t do that I’m not interested in like labels of
good and evil like this guy’s a drug dealer so he’s evil or this guy’s a cop
so he’s good or this guy’s politician he’s either good or evil either a good
guy or a former or a bad guy a guy needs to be thrown out of office that whole
dynamic is that’s the pornography of American
entertainment I look at these TV things as being a chance to have a discussion
about something more than I wish these two characters would get together I wish
that he wouldn’t have gotten killed you know I understand that the viewers
experience it that way and they’re not wrong but man if all you’re doing is
being entertaining I don’t know that I can sort of like look sort of the ghost
of my father in the eye at night and say you know that leaving newspapers was a
I’m anything but an apostate the least I could do for viewers was give them an
argument about the world we live in we’re going to use drama for the same
purposes that some guys write op-ed pieces or editorials if it works it
might just be more interesting that dramas about whether they catch the bad
guy or it might suck but at least it was ambitious in its intent it’s Baltimore
gentlemen the gods will not save you we kind of wanted to have an argument about
where we were going and what the stakes were what it seemed like they were in
our post-industrial city of Baltimore now if we only write something that
makes you think about Baltimore it’s problematic so we were trying to be
specific to what we knew and what we were very familiar with but also write
to what seemed to be the condition of Western democracy I think we’re just
using Baltimore in an allegorical way the vast majority of Americans live in a
metropolitan area and we are in urban people I think the institutions were
depicting people can recognize as being very similar to the institutions and
problems of their own city the city to me is basically the only possible
vehicle that we have to measure human achievement how do we all live together
and how do we get a society that from one day to the next is actually
progressive we don’t get it twisted I do some dirt too but I ain’t never put my
gun on nobody who wasn’t in the game a man must have a code no doubt one of the
best sources of information a cop can have is a stick-up artist who’s doing
drug dealers because once you once you start sticking up drug dealers you have
to carry a gun because they’re after you so if you can catch up with them before
the dealers do then you can work out some kind of accommodation with this guy
you know before the judge this guy can go to work for you so I
used to hunt down these guys quite a bit because they were always willing to talk
so I knew a lot of them and when David and I were creating the character we
know we want to make this one this character the one guy who stood up
against the institutions and eventually I learned that I had to move away from
the singular point of view of the cops because it’s very easy when you’re a
reporter in the beginning to embrace who’s giving you information you know it
was much more accessible to go to the Western District and have their version
of events than to go to the 1400 block of
Carrollton and talk to the neighbors who you know didn’t trust the Baltimore Sun
to begin with I mean just a predominately black city and most of the
crime was rooted in the in the black community and so I’m a white guy who
grew up in the suburbs but you know there’s an awful lot you can accomplish
by just coming back and showing up is a little bit of the battle and then being
willing to ask a stupid question in journalism of course you have to quote
people accurately when people have verbal idiosyncrasies your job is not to
clean those up you’re almost being clinical about how people talk to be
fair to the material that was good training for developing an ear my
ability to meet people on their own terms and gather not only facts but
voices mood character and spirit that comes out of reporting the wire made the
argument from its first season that the modern world is becoming increasingly
indifferent to individual catharsis and individual dignity and human beings are
worth less I come from a city where 47% of the african-american males are out of
work they’re not needed we’ve constructed an economic model that
doesn’t need a lot of human beings it doesn’t need as many as it once did
for certain people to attain wealth the idea that these massive institutions
school systems and police departments and drug trades and political entities
and newspapers might actually become utterly unfeeling to the people they’re
supposed to serve and the people who serve them seems to me to be the
paradigm of the 20th century and I think it’s going to continue but there ain’t
nothing you fear more than a bad headline you’d rather live in and let
the world see you work a shovel the drama that I reread before I started the
wire was not Shakespeare it wasn’t check off and it wasn’t O’Neill it wasn’t all
the stuff that is rooted in the struggle of the individual against himself the
stuff that spoke to me is the Greek trauma in which faded and doun
protagonists are confronted by a system that is indifferent to their heroism to
their individuality and to their morality but instead of Olympian gods
that are throwing lightning bolts and people up for the fun of it we have
postmodern institutions the police department is the God the drug trade is
the God the school system is the God city hall is the God the election is the
God capitalism is the ultimate God in the wire capitalism is Zeus how do you
get to be the king and ain’t like that see the King state a king a year ago a
magazine asked if I’d offer up a brief something on a book that influenced me
that changed the way I thought to the way I wrote or why I wrote at all I
didn’t hesitate James oh geez let us now praise famous men a book so
devoted to his humanist arguments that his pages made me both proud and ashamed
to be a journalist in the same instant a Gees classic is one of the most intimate
studies of American poverty ever attempted and at the point of
publication the author was somewhat aghast at the delicacy of the lives in
the balance the possible affront to the essential dignity of the broke and
desperate world that he and Walker Evans had captured in prose and photograph
true the wire was fiction and true to it was operating in the medium of American
television which is premise on entertainment above all but concede at
least that the problems depicted in the wire are an actual dynamic in places
like West Baltimore where people are marginalized and destroyed as a systemic
function a writer who had used such a world solely as entertainment or who
thinks entertainment alone justifies such use
he needs to soak in famous men for at least a few chapters if I could do it a
G declares I do know writing at all here it would be photographs the rest would
be fragments of cloth bits of cotton lumps of Earth records of speech pieces
of wood and iron files of odors plates of food and of excrement booksellers
would consider it quite a novelty critics would murmur yes but is it art
and I could trust the majority of you to use it as you would a parlor game is the
wire art who but a professional critic gives a rat’s ass is it a parlor game
exactly so with Omar as the big winner I don’t think the wire has all the right
answers it may not even ask the right questions we thought some prolonged
arguments about what kind of country we’ve built might be a good thing and if
such arguments and discussions ever happen we will feel more vindicated in
purpose then if somebody makes an argument for why the wire is the best TV
show in years hey everyone thanks for watching if
you’re an aspiring screenwriter I have a youtube channel just for you so my
friend Tyler Mari has a YouTube channel where he talks about the fundamentals of
screenwriting he talks about things like story structure character developments
and character arcs and how to create conflict basically everything you need
to know to begin writing your screenplay I’ve been writing for a while now but
I’ve learned a lot from this resource so I will have a link in the description
down below for it I definitely recommend it as always if you have any
recommendations for videos for me to make from your favorite TV shows or
movies just comment it down below and I will read them and I’ll add it to the
list I’ll see you guys next week as we take another look behind the curtain


  1. It's a great show.. it really is.. i've watched it 7 times.. but.. enough with the "it's deeper than you think" .. IT'S A GREAT SHOW
    but enough : )

  2. If yall liked this then you need to watch the documentary called "The House I Live In" it was made by the guy who made the wire and it explains the real reason behind drug laws and its all about keeping certain ppl oppressed

  3. Unemployment is at an all time low if we reduced immigration wages would rise like most other “socialist” nations

  4. I wish I lived in a world where only smart people were allowed to write anything consumed by the masses… The Wire writers were dope…

  5. If you’ve watched every season of this show 10 x’s, you’ve still never seen it. That’s how brilliant it is.

  6. I just re-watched S03-4. There aren't words to accurately describe how excellent EVERY-SINGLE-THING on this show was. ESPECIALLY Bodie and Poot and the younger kids. Harder to find good child/younger actors. They were all phenomenal. Duquan really breaks my heart. I knew a kid like that when I was that age, and I was not nice to him. I regret it terribly.

  7. Omar was not the winner Marlo was he was the evolution of all that was created in the show.. A shape shifting opponent who became and obsorbed all that he faced… He was animalistic like Avon a strategist like Stringer principled like Omar etc

  8. What’s crazy is I met the teacher that wrote on the show while in school in PG county and he said he was a writer on the show and wanted me to be in the show I didn’t believe him smh then I seen his name on the credits and was PISSED


  10. Top 5 TV shows ever in order IMHO – The Wire, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos and OZ. Never got to watch game of thrones, but so many people talk about it so ill give it honorable mention. but i will check it out soon

  11. Thought i was late to the party since i just finished the show. Nope, people still ravin bout the wire and I know why.

  12. I still compare all other tv series to the wire since I watched it so many years ago ..only two that came close were GOT (except last seasonand ) Breaking Bad…1st season of true detective got my attention…seasons 1-3 of TopBoy…walking dead fell off…Sopranos fell off…westworld ..some potential there but none like the wire…strong writting from beginning to end

  13. The message I got from the show was how pointless the drug war was. Nothing to do with the war on the underclass…


  15. My opinion:
    1) Mad Men: Captivating and thought provoking despite a boring subject matter (advertising). Great character development. Amazing set design. Amazing acting
    2) The Soprano’s: Emotional roller coaster every episode. Amazing acting. Changed TV forever
    3) The Wire: Starts really slow and then hooks you in. The deepest message. However Dominic West is probably the worst lead actor on this list. Idris Elba is actually the best actor on The Wire’s cast
    4) Breaking Bad: Arguably the best cinematography. Amazing cast (Bob Odenkirk, Bryan Cranston, literally anyone). However, it’s very sensational and unrealistic
    5) Game of Thrones: Meticulously produced but I’m not a fan of outlandish fiction

  16. It was never a war against narcotics and nor is it a war against the underclass.
    It was, and now IS a War On Black People!!!!

  17. This was a true story. That’s why it was good. That cop took real story and made a show from it. Some of the real people are still in Baltimore

  18. My uncle Melvin wrote the wire. Rip. The wire was about his life. The directors of the series added a few things here and there. But Melvin wrote the wire, He was the preacher in the wire but in life he was the big drug dealers. The whole thing was about his real life as Baltimores kingpin. Kill yourself for your fugking lies. MELVIN is the wire.

  19. Omar was real and nit a made up character. He was a big light skinned dude. The people who put this video up seem to be lieing quite a bit. I guess they want the credits for real peoples lives. Fugking scavengers.

  20. The storyline of Omar was so far fetched. Avon, Stringer and Marlo had resources to find anybody they wanted, but couldn’t find Omar when they needed to?

    Omar jumps from an apartment building and is limping around the city shooting people in the knee. Lol.

  21. I watched this when I was young, and I didn't get it I just thought it was good. But later on I watched it when was older an I was shocked about the message it was giving. How much the writer knew about the streets, an it was on point. Made me change my life, if they was this sharp on the how things go in the streets then they know everything that is goung on today with all the tec that is out. An the funniest, most scariest thing about it is that the hood is terrorized by a guy thug that ain't got nothing to lose. Other than that the movie was do relatable, it seem like every hood is the same. When I meet someone that I can enlighten I ask them if they then seen the wire an do they get it. I wonder if they watch this in law school.

  22. What I liked about the Wire was each season was better and different from the previous season. Filming on location instead of sound stages gave it realism. The acting, writing, the characters and the classic one line quotes.

  23. was almost a documentary, David Attenborough in B-more baby!
    Pandering to the mob for profit rarely creates anything sublime. write about truth, suffering, injustice and whole lotta of shitty endings, now that's life. or as Lester Freeman would say 'you know, life, the shit that happens while your waiting for moments that never come' great fucking line.
    Finally, what separates the wire from the rest IMO, INTEGRITY

  24. It seems as if the Baltimore police took on the persona's of the cop characters.  On a side note:  The Wire did what most popular TV shows do.  They added in white people and that usually spells the end.  Ruined new York undercover.  Thumbs up to the writers and actors.

  25. Crazy… Tha wire wasnt really bout tha streetz… Bt about tha role tha police&tha newz paper(at tha time which is now our social media)looked at, viewed&delt wit tha role of tha streetz…..

  26. The wire was a great show one of the best I personally didn't like all that gratuitous violence blacks killing other blacks but that's just me

  27. It ceases to amaze me how the so called good guys break the laws to put people in jail who break laws. This makes them just as much a criminal as those they claim are criminals

  28. The wire was a good show! It was well written well acted and I loved the dialogue and the scenery. But I ain't goin to Lie!!!! If Idris Elba aka Stringer Bell wasn't in it .I wouldn't have it 2 seconds of my time Stringer Bell made that show!!!!!!!

  29. No offense to fans of The Wire, I just didn’t like this show! I finally made it through (on Amazon) Season 1, couldn’t make it through 3 episodes of Season 2, and gave up after 4 episodes of Season 3. Just too boring for me; I only watched because of Idris Elba. I think “The Shield” is the best cop show ever!! “Sons of Anarchy” and “Breaking Bad” round out my favorite shows.

  30. The Wire is an epic tragedy about postmodern America that transcends its medium, television, to attain a status comparable to the classics of world literature: The Iliad, Dante's Inferno, Macbeth. I've watched the series three times now and I will probably do so again every couple years for the rest of my life.

  31. Theater writers, an ex cop-teacher, an ex journalist and no hollywood golden boys and people complaining about this show never got an Emmy nomination WTF? Emmys really?

    This work is uniqe, it's the only sample of something real, a real utopia for storytelling. 20 Oscars wouldn't be enough. who gives a fuck about Emmys.. this can't be classified as just an another Tv-Show.


  33. Best show ever made. Every character, however despicable their actions, is somehow super likeable…the Sopranos is a great show but most of the characters are just freaking psychos and it gets exhausting. The Wire is both exciting, relaxing and you don't need to worry about annoying double crosses or weird reveals…just a city, its infrastructure, people all working for and against each other.

  34. "Is it a parlor game? Exactly so.
    With Omar.. as the big winner"

    Omar was immortalized in the show and IRL, and his fate made him more than just a legend.

  35. 🏆🏆🏆Hands down *THE BEST SHOW EVER*
    When you have people from the President (obama) athletes, teachers, cops, robbers, thugs, men , women from all different races & ethnicities, people from walks of life in & out the country saying this show is a masterpiece..
    Every character had a storyline,
    There are so many plots, quotes, gems & relatable situations that we all were drawn to it.

  36. The addiction of our lost drama with the glorification of bad being viewed as good , compiled with the love and lust of negro drama is what black folks cling to by conscription. Everyone else just enjoys just how the thug world is controlled and maintained by Esau.

  37. The drugs are the playas and the users get played.
    The war is against people .
    Drugs is just the reason.hit he thumbs up if u u here me.thanks

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