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After one episode ofThe Wireyou'll be hooked. After three, you'll be astonished by the precision of its storytelling. After viewing all 13 episodes of the HBO series' remarkable first season, you'll be cheering a bona-fide American masterpiece. Series creator David Simon was a veteran crime reporter fromThe Baltimore Sunwho cowrote thebookthat inspired TV'sHomicide, and cowriter Ed Burns was a Baltimore cop, lending impeccable street-cred to an inner-city Baltimore saga (and companion piece toThe Corner) that Simon aptly describes as "a visual novel" and "a treatise on institutions and individuals" as opposed to a conventional good-vs.-evil police procedural. Owing a creative debt to the novels of Richard Price (especiallyClockers), the series opens as maverick Detective Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West, in a star-making role) is tapping into a vast network of drugs and death around southwest Baltimore's deteriorating housing projects. With a mandate to get results ASAP, a haphazard team is assembled to join McNulty's increasingly complex investigation, built upon countless hours of electronic surveillance.

The show's split-perspective plotting is so richly layered, so breathtakingly authentic and based on finely drawn characters brought to life by a perfect ensemble cast, that it defies concise description. Simon, Burns, and their cowriters control every intricate aspect of the unfolding epic; directors are top-drawer (including Clark Johnson, helmer of The Shield's finest episodes), but they are servants to the story, resulting in a TV series like no other: unpredictable, complicated, and demanding the viewer's rapt attention, The Wire is "an angry show" (in Simon's words) that refuses to comfort with easy answers to deep-rooted societal problems. Moral gray zones proliferate in a universe where ruthless killers have a logical code, and where the cops are just as ambiguous as their targets. That ambiguity extends to the ending as well; season 1 leaves several issues unresolved, leaving you begging for the even more impressive developments that await in season 2. --Jeff Shannon

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Genre:  Television, Drama
Studio:  HBO Home Video
CastDominic West, Wendell Pierce, Idris Elba, Sonja Sohn, Jr. Larry Gilliard
DVD Release Date:  October 12, 2004
What's your opinion on The Wire: The Complete First Season?
3 Ratings: +5.0
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review by . December 18, 2008
This is great stuff. I can't really add to what others have said here, except to say that this is definitely a series to watch. It's got everything you'd want from a crime drama like CSI, but much more. The characters are interesting: nobody fits an easy stereotype, and no one is simply a good guy or a bad guy. There are several overlapping story arcs, but they all fit together in a complex puzzle. There are hints of many much larger storylines that could be followed up on, but aren't -- it has …
review by . October 11, 2006
Unlike the Amzon.com editorial review I don't think the wire hooks you after the first episode, actually I think it's like that with both the first and second season. The beginning episodes actually may turn some people off of it but you have to keep watching. Everybody starts out swearing way too much, I mean they can't go three regular words without swearing and your trying to figure out why the cast looks so dumb and why you can barely understand them. You have to push yourself through the first …
review by . May 05, 2005
I don't like to spend my time in front of the tv-set just to be entertained.   This series, which I was unable to watch over here in Europe before the dvd-set came out, is simply awesome. It doesn't want to entertain. It wants you to think of what our cities have become and what each and everyone of us could or should do to prevent it from getting worse.  The first set is about a drug-related murder case in Baltimore in which the police, while trying to solve it, discover a huge …
The Wire: The Complete First Season
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