(HBO Dramatic Series) The most unvarnished, uncompromising and realistic police drama ever returns for another hard hitting season. McNolty has been demoted to harbor patrol, Daniels is in the police archive dungeon, Prez ... more »is chafing in the suburbs and Gregs is stuck behind a desk. Meanwhile, on the docks of the Baltimore harbor, the rank and file scrounge for work and the union bosses take illegitimate measures to reinvigorate business, but a horrific discovery is about to blow the whole port inside out. While the detail is on ice, a new case begins...DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Audio commentaries with Dominic West and Michael K. Williams, executive producer Karen Thorson and editor Thom Zimny. Episodics and Recaps
Craig F. (sci-fifan) from SANTA FE, NM Reviewed on 4/13/2018...
This show is really well done. The characters are well written. The stories have some authenticity to them. Police work is shown to be not all glamor and action. And sometimes things don't work out for the 'good guys' whoever they are.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jr N. from TAMARAC, FL Reviewed on 8/27/2016...
This is one of the best show ever on television. Set in Baltimore and Philly the story line stays at top level through out all the episodes .. didn't want to see it end. Five stars for sure!
Something perfect just got BETTER...
JunkyardMessiah | Los Angeles, CA United States | 12/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How do you improve on perfection? Ask David Simon and co., because Season Two of THE WIRE somehow managed to surpass the flawless first season. I love this series. It's THE SHIELD with a brain, it's HOMICIDE with balls, it's THE SOPRANOS in the ghetto, it's HILL STREET BLUES in the 21st century. In short, it's the best of all TV worlds, all rolled into one, and thus, comparable to nothing else out there.
Season Two takes us into a world that is seldom seen, and never before explored in this depth on TV-- the world of dockworkers/longshoremen. If you had told me that I'd come to be fascinated by the lives of a bunch of doughy Polish dockworkers in Baltimore, I'd have laughed at you. Well. Cut to five minutes after the season two Wire finale: I was blubbering like a baby, brought to tears by some seriously epic storytelling, thoroughly invested in the triumphs and tragedies of these men.
Hats off to anyone and everyone involved in this show-- you're doing GREAT work!"
I'm still not worthy
Wheelchair Assassin | The Great Concavity | 12/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Coming off the utter triumph of its first season, The Wire faced a pretty big test in trying to move on without compromising its astoundingly high quality, but having just finished watching I'm pleased to say any traces of a sophomore slump are virtually nonexistent. Once again, the show brings just the right mix of cynicism, humor and tragedy to its stories of crime, punishment, and lives on the edge. I don't know about the claims on this site that season two is superior to its predecessor, but The Wire's standards of writing, characterization, and realism are still very much intact. Not to mention, The Wire's sprawling focus and blink-and-you're lost complexity are, if anything, stepped up as it juggles multiple, often tangentially related, plotlines over the course of its twelve-hour running time. This season certainly doesn't see The Wire abandoning its examination of crime in Baltimore's black ghettoes, but rather expanding the view of its microscope to cover the illegal activities of the (mostly) white working class on the docks of the city's East Side and the international syndicate that provides their side income. As a result, the reach of the show has become even more comprehensive, stretching from the projects to the docks to the police headquarters to the prison system. At times there's a bit of a too-many-cooks feel to the events of this season as the show tries to shoehorn the struggles of the disrupted Barksdale-Bell drug crew into the main plotline (in a setup for the third season, it turned out), but that's a small complaint, as what goes on the screen is still probably the best TV out there.
Season two starts with the major players, on both sides of the law, dispersed all around Baltimore, with McNulty and Daniels serving punishment duty as a result of their actions at the conclusion of the first season, Avon Barksdale and his nephew D'Angelo in lockup following their arrests, Omar hiding out in New York waiting to testify in a key murder trial, and Stringer Bell left trying to maintain his and Avon's housing-project drug empire in the face of serious supply problems. McNulty, especially, has become a train wreck, with his addictive personality and dissatisfaction with his new post on the Maritime Police reaching new heights of self-destructiveness highlighted by an hilarious episode-opening bender that sees him smashing up his car and having random sex with a diner waitress before passing out in her bed. It's not long, though, before everyone gets back together, as a personal vendetta draws the attention of Major Stan Valcheck (aka Prez's father-in-law) to the longshoreman's local led by his old neighborhood rival Frank Sobotka. It does feel a bit contrived seeing the wire team brought together for another case, but seeing them do their thing in all its detail is still just an fascinating as ever when they finally get to it. The show still provides a better look into modern policing than anything I've ever seen, from the nuts and bolts of surveillance work to the internecine wrangling that does nothing but impede the actual solving of crimes. Not to mention, there are plenty of shocking moments thrown in to shake up the audience, from a pile of dead bodies in a container at the conclusion of the first episode to some truly cringe-inducing murder scenes to the sight of shotgun-toting street criminal and all-around tough guy Omar making out with his boyfriend.
Season two introduces a new cast of villains, led by the mysterious elderly crime lord known only as The Greek and his murderous underlings, who have taken advantage of the local longshoremen's declining fortunes to turn the city's docks into their own personal way station for drugs, prostitutes, and God knows what else. It also delves into the hard-boiled existence of a people who, in their own way, have been forgotten almost as much as blacks in the housing projects as the U.S. continues its transition to a middle-class country. In the role of Frank Sobotka, Chris Bauer makes a more than convincing everyman, as we see the character dealing with everything from his crumbling union to his bumbling wannabe-criminal son to his nephew's increasing involvement in the urban drug trade. As he struggles to keep his local (and his family) together in the face of the tightening scrutiny of the cops and the pressure of the Greek's crew, Sobotka also becomes increasingly symbolic of the decline of American union labor, but at the same time he emerges as a compelling character in his own right. Frank is a relic and a dinosaur and he's starting to realize it more and more, but he still fights to maintain as much of his niche as he can, keeping up his determined front even as things fall apart around him. He's proud of his job and what he's accomplished, and his grim resolve to resist his declining fortures sends him on an inexorable path to the season's grim resolution.
While they don't assume center stage as much as in the first season, the Bell-Barksdale crew and many of its central figures are still around to one extent or another, with a whole new set of problems (ranging from the imprisoned D'Angelo's newfound independence to the aforementioned dearth of quality product) putting Stringer and Avon in major damage-control mode. Left to run the crew largely on his own, Stringer emerges as an even more fascinating and complex character, a villain whose intelligence and calculation are matched only by his ruthlessness; you get the sense this guy would kill his own mother in the name of business. At the same time, though, it's hard not to admire his single-minded commitment to being the best at what he does, no matter how tough the decisions it requires of him. Watching Stringer work, I couldn't help but think he would've made a great captain of industry if he had been born in the suburbs instead of the projects. This season also sees the start of the rift between Stringer and Avon that would only intensify in the third season. Needless to say, the emergence of this division is handled in the show's usual organic and realistic manner, with the tension between Avon's street-soldier philosophy and Stringer's all-business approach culminating in their vastly different attempts to resolve their supply problems. Fortunately, the problems in the Bell-Barksdale camp do give us viewers Brother Mouzone, a bowtie-wearing Muslim hitman from New York with an odd combination of comprehensive education and seemingly unmatched deadliness, who's brought in by Avon to protect the crew's territory and ends up running into some problems of his own involving a long-running grudge between Omar and Stringer.
As others have noted, the events of any season of The Wire are difficult to encapsulate in a review; anything anyone can write short of a full-length magazine feature is just going to be a bare-bones outline that comes nowhere near capturing the exhaustive detail that goes into each episode. Suffice it to say, then, that season two is a seamless progression from its predecessor, while at the same time setting up events that continue to unfold even now, two seasons later. It's just part of an ongoing saga, but at the same time everything that happens in this season is worth watching in its own right. Every season is brilliant in its own way, from the intense, propulsive first to the sprawling, tragic, recently completed fourth, and season two is no exception. If you've never seen this show, you're missing out on the best TV has to offer. Seriously. "
A great show gets even better
Craig | Ohio | 01/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The second season starts with a classic cop show scenario - McNulty, now working for the marine unit, pulls a young girl's body out of the water. From there, another season of perfection unfolds. It's not fair to give spoilers in these reviews, but suffice to say that the show moves once again with its unhurried pace, building towards some kind of resolution. And who knew that they could make the tribulations of a bunch of stevedores seem so interesting?
Once again, Dominic West anchors possibly the best cast on TV, with continued great work from Idris Elba and the rest of the group. Season two also brings the welcome return of Michael Williams as Omar, who I think we were all sad to see leave during the first season.
The writing is whip smart, and all of the varied directors do an excellent job. It's a credit to the show that it always manages to keep the same feel despite input from so many different directors. West and Williams both provide audio commentaries, but this set isn't about the extras - it's about the show.
If there was any doubt about this show's lasting power, it should be erased with the second season. It's truly one of the best shows to ever grace television. "
It's a world so real you change your view on the real world
Aleka | Chicago, IL United States | 12/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'll start with a caveat: the dialogue can potentially be difficult and the pacing is completely different from any show on television. However, the dialogue is the heart of the show, essential to its realism, and the pacing provides you with such a heart-breaking last episode that you wish every television show so finely crafted their season. The more you invest into the show, the more it gives back to you. So if you're not up for some serious immersion, this isn't the show for you. I watched each episode of season 2 twice when it was first airing on HBO to pick up on everything. That's why DVD is an ideal format for the show. You can really absorb the language and action in a way that's impossible when watching it in weekly installments.
Season 1 stunned me. I hadn't seen anything that completely submerged me into a fictional world while influencing the way I viewed the real world. And I watch a lot of television, good television. Even the other amazing HBO shows (and that includes The Sopranos) fails to have the intellectual and emotional impact on me that The Wire does, especially in this second season. Second season raises the bar to something approaching the Shakespearean. I'm serious. I watch these episodes and get something completely different and profound out of them each time.
The outer struggles of the characters against bureaucracy and for power are fascinating and thought-provoking, but it's the inner conflict of the characters that really elevates the show. No one is good and no one is evil. Characters, all the characters, are morally flawed. The Wire doesn't gloss over the immoral actions of the "good" guys and it doesn't omit the human details of the "bad" guys. All these characters are human and the makers of the show take a humanistic approach to portraying them by inviting the audience to embrace the characters in all their flaws and moral ambiguities.
If you don't start reevaluating our nation's drug policy, you weren't paying attention. If you see this show and don't start thinking, really thinking, about what's going on with the urban poor and working classes, you don't have a heart. "
"It's not only that "The Wire" is great TV. It's that season two doesn't let you down. Take for example "24 Hours". I saw season one, practically straight through, five hours at the time. It was quick, it was intense, it was original. Season two was not fresh. The same issues seem to appear again. I am ready for any leap of faith, the guy shoots from 50 meters, kills three people, but please, please give me a plot that I can believe in.
But back to "The Wire".
I went to the series after suffering withdrawal symptoms finishing "Sopranos", "Deadwood", "NYPD Blue" (these guys stopped at season two and never cared to proceed) and "The Shield". I went through season one and thanked God for having enough faith on HBO to buy two seasons of the show together. I am half-way through finishing season two and I am already convinced that this is not going to let me down. Once again, I enjoy TV with a plot thick enough to get me interested but not to get lost. I like characters that have something different, but no so much that I find them odd. I enjoy a story with a moral center, but not a morality lesson.
Season one was centered in a Baltimore "ghetto". Season two expands into the Baltimore port. There are new characters added to the old ones, and yet you get comfortable with the new plot almost immediately. The production has spend money for the extra shot in an outside location in the middle of the night, just have two characters saying two lines, just to shed a light into what the characters think. It's the attention to detail that makes a good show great. And it's the superb casting, and the talent of writing.
As a consumer many times I felt cheated off my money after buying a product that turned out to be less than what it promised. In the case of "The Wire", as with "Deadwood" (HBO) the "The Sopranos" (HBO) and "The Shield" (Fox) I feel that I would have happily paid more. If you haven't bought season 1, go ahead buy season 1 and 2 together. You would wish that there was season 3 out there."