Word on The Wire
The Wire has now officially ended. First Sex and the City, then The Sopranos, now this? Damn it HBO, stop crushing my dreams! I don’t know how I will get over the loss of The Wire. I will actually have to think of other things to talk about with my friends and that’s just a frikkin’ hassle.
So much has been written about how it was the best show on TV, so I won’t harp on that point, other than to say, it really was the best show on TV. So, to mark the end of an era, I have compiled all my favorite moments from each season; the good, the bad and the ugly. (If you’ve never seen the show, go buy all five seasons on DVD and watch them, then read this post – I don’t want to ruin it for you.)
The infamous Bunk and McNulty ‘Fuck’ scene
This scene was probably the first to show the true genius of the writers. As Bunk and McNulty work their way through a crime scene, they use only the word ‘fuck’ (and variations thereof). They manage to tell the whole story of how this girl was killed without needing to use another word. (Put that in your pipe and smoke it South Pasadena!)
D’Angelo’s near miss
When D’Angelo’s told he had to drive Wee-Bey to Philly, he thinks he’s gonna get clipped. They go into Bey’s house and D, nearing tears, braces himself for the hit. When Bey turned the lights on, it turned out he just wanted to show D how to feed his fish while he was away.
Wallace being killed by his friends Bodie and Poot is, to this day, probably one of the most difficult things I ever watched on television. The dynamic between these three characters had been such a driving force of the show and it is just heartbreaking to think that somewhere in America, there are young boys who actually have to make those decisions for real.
Ziggy loses his shit
After watching Ziggy try to carve a path for himself as a crook for most of the season, I found his turn of events quite shocking. He was a funny character, a harmless guy. When Ziggy was screwed over on a business deal he thought was a sure fire winner, he went back to the guy who screwed him, guns blazing. Watching him sitting in his car afterwards trying to light his cigarette, crying and hearing the sound of police sirens, you just knew that in that instant, his whole life had changed.
Throughout the show Rawls has undoubtedly had some of the best lines, but for me, this was one of the greatest. When Bunk and Freamon return from questioning the crew of a boat and getting nowhere due to the number of languages on board, Rawls says ‘I don’t care if they’re speaking Mandarin Chinese with a cock sucker’s lisp.’ Classic.
One word: Hamsterdam
Interesting social experiment or the apocalypse? You decide.
Stringer fesses up
After managing to cover his tracks pretty well, Stringer, in a moment of anger, finally confesses to Avon that he was responsible for having D’Angelo killed. Needless to say, the news was not received well.
Bernard’s comic relief
After months of driving here, there and everywhere to buy phones for Marlo, Bernard and his annoying girlfriend are finally arrested. Sitting in the police station, cuffed, his girlfriend launches an endless tirade about how dumb he is. Bernard turns to the guy next to him and says ‘I can’t wait to go to jail.’ It’s so easy to get bogged down with all the serious situations in The Wire, that these little gems are priceless.
Avon and Stringer’s goodbye
Their friendship could be seen unraveling throughout the season, as they looked to take their operation in different directions. As they stand on Avon’s balcony reminiscing, knowing they are both trying to kill each other, makes for an incredibly icy, yet sad, scene.
Snoop buys a nail gun
I’m not ashamed to admit, Snoop scares the living crap out of me. Probably one of the most complex female characters ever on television, this scene, where she discussed the pros and cons of a nail gun with such ease, knowing that she was using it to board up the houses where she was dumping dead bodies, gave me shivers.
Michael refuses Marlo’s money
It was a small moment, but a big one. Showing that this boy, despite all the pressures around him, has a code of honor, was laying the ground work in the first of many parallels drawn between him and Omar. The way he shut Marlo up with just a stare showed that he was in for bigger things, however reluctant he may have been.
Randy doesn’t just tug on the heart strings, he yanks those bitches right off
He was branded a snitch, had his house fire bombed and his foster mother was killed in the blast. As Carver, who came to visit him in the hospital, walked away, Randy, his face scratched and bloody from the blast, just kept saying ‘you gonna look out for me Detective Carver?’ over and over. This scene ripped my heart out, stomped on it, chewed it up and spat it out.
McNulty loses his damn mind
After being so angelic in season four, McNulty gets back to his crazy ways in full force. The start of his downward spiral would be when he decides to tamper with a dead body to make it look like a murder. Let the insanity commence!
Avon gets in bed with Marlo
Not literally, obviously, but when Marlo goes to the jail to visit the Russian (a meet that Avon facilitated), and Avon throws up the west-side gang sign to Marlo at the end, you sense that shit is just about to get crazy.
Gus fights the power
When slimy reporter, Scott submits yet another made up story with conveniently invented quotes, Gus decides to drop it as the lead story. When confronted by the managing editor, he says casually ‘we have a sourcing policy here and I know it and I do not feel comfortable bending the rules in this instance,’ as he saunters out of the office. Watching Scott squirm was priceless.
Snoop bites the dust
When Mike pulls his gun on her, she doesn’t even flinch. She turns away from him, strokes the back of her head so he can get a clear shot and says ‘how my hair look Mike?’ Damn – she is the hardest of hardcore!
Marlo’s cool exterior heats up
When some loose lipped fool lets it slip to Marlo, while they’re in a jail cell, that Omar had been calling him out for weeks, Marlo completely loses his shit. ‘My name is my name!’ he shouts. It’s the first time you ever see Marlo lose his cool. And you just know that if they ever get out of that jail cell, that idiot who told him is the first to get capped.
Dukie’s entire character arc
From the time he was introduced in season four, you couldn’t help but feel sorry for Dukie. Watching him make such an effort to get on the right path, and how Mike was so protective over him, was just endearing. But as season five progressed, he became the very definition of being a victim of your circumstances. In the montage at the end of the final, episode when they showed him shooting up, well, it’s clear that Dukie took some lessons from Randy on how to rip my heart out, stomp on it, chew it up and spit it out.
There are probably another fifty great moments I can think of, but those are the ones that stood out the most to me. What I enjoyed most about the show is that you really had to actively engage in watching it. The story lines could get so complex and intermingled, you couldn’t not pay attention. Each season they shone a light on a different aspect of society and showed that they all connect. Discussing this with a friend the other day, we came away concluding that the main message we got at the end of the show was ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’, which can be both positive and negative.
Here’s to you Wire. You will be missed.