The heat is on in Baltimore. The drug war is being lost, bodies are piling up, and a desperate mayor wants the tide turned before the election. But the police department hasn't got any answers. With the demolition of the F... more »ranklin Terrace towers, Stringer Bell and the Barksdale crew have been forced to improvise. But no matter how hard McNulty and the detail try, the dealers always seem to be one step ahead of the game. DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Five audio commentaries with creatorDavid Simon, director Joe Chappelle, writers Richard Price and George Pelecanos, and producers Karen L. Thorson and Nina K. Noble
Interviews:Q&A with David Simon and Creative Team, Courtesy of the Museum of Television & Radio Conversation with David Simon at Eugene Lang Collete, The New School for Liberal Arts« less
"HBO have at long last, decided to release this on DVD and thank goodness. The Wire is undoubtedly the best TV around these days since "Homicide: Life on the Street". No surprise then, I guess that the same man (David Simon) had/has a big hand in both series.
Unlike most crime/cop shows that have a beginning, middle and end in the one episode, the story here is spread over the entire series. We're seeing stuff that kicked off in Season 1 still developing in Season 3. Some viewers find this challenging - this certainly isn't a show you can watch while cooking dinner or chatting to your buddies on the phone. It's sad that ratings have dropped though because if you give the show the undivided attention it deserves and focus on the story, complex as it is, the rewards are truly immense.
After the drama on the docks that was the main focus of Season 2, Season 3 takes it back to the streets where we most like it. The Baltimore drug wars rage on, with Avon Barksdale, played by Wood Harris, out of jail to find his territory of corners under threat from young & ruthless upstart, Marlo, played utterly convincingly by Jamie Hector. Stringer Bell has held things down while Avon's been away but his methods have been questionable, to put things mildly. Stringer gets his comeuppance this season though and as much as I hated the character - and admired Idris Elba for playing it so well - I honestly didn't see his comeuppance coming in the way it eventually did. Scorching scriptwriting!
The police are desperately trying to keep up. Major "Bunny" Colvin, played by Robert Wisdom, comes up with the 'brilliant' idea of creating a 'safe zone' for drug sale and use in the city and this area gets dubbed Amsterdam. The plan seems to work - the rest of the city suddenly becomes a haven - but Colvin keeps the project from his superiors. The results are disastrous, for him and for the city.
Meanwhile, the detail is back on the hunt and as we watch them chase their tails, the questions left hanging in the air are what is this so-called war on drugs about, exactly? And who is winning?
In the background, meanwhile, there's scheming, wrangling and backstabbing in the corridors of the city political powers. Unlike the stuff on "The West Wing" this is the kind of politics I can get into and this is a story that is going to run and run.
Like any TV show, this one has its 'stars' but this is truly an ensemble performance. Everyone, whether it's by playing a starring role, a recurring role, bit part or even an extra, gets to contribute a crucial part of the jigsaw that makes up the big picture.
Still, I must mention some of my favourite performers. Apart from those already mentioned, they include: Lance Reddick, an actor with the ability to convey more with a single look than most actors can with a whole minute of dialogue, as Lieutenant Daniels; Dominick West, who plays Detective Jimmy McNutly, a cop who races to save the world while his own life crumbles around him; Sonja Sohn, who plays Detective Kima Greggs, McNulty's loyal partner, who realises she's not as ready for a life of domesticity with her girlfriend and their baby as she had originally thought; Andre Royo, who plays Bubbles the 'co-operative' drug fiend with heart; Michael K. Williams, who plays Omar the gay gangster with a shotgun - something I never thought I'd see on TV in my lifetime; Frankie Faison and John Doman who play Commissioner Burrell and Deputy Commissioner Rawls respectively (for some reason, neither fails to make me laugh out loud with every line they deliver); Michael Hyatt, who plays Brianna Barksdale, mother of D'Angelo (who was murdered in Season 2) and sister to kingpin Avon; and last but by no means least, the 'dynamic' duo Detectives Herc and Carver, played wonderfully by Dominick Lombardozzi and (the beautiful) Seth Gilliam respectively.
And then there's Chad L. Coleman as Dennis "Cutty" Wise, the ex-con who finds he no longer has the stomach for the streets. He turns to volunteering, running a youth boxing gym. Here's an actor to look out for and he brings an intensity to his role that I found mesmerising. I hope we get to see more of him in future Seasons.
This is a totally believable drama with cracking dialogue and nary a cliche or stereotype to be seen. The reactions to the show, both positive and negative just go to show how a gritty and realistic drama series can hit home.
This is a must for any connoisseur of mature and thought provoking TV. This is one show that takes a long, unapologetic and uncompromising look at an underclass we would all prefer to ignore and thus, while it's not always pretty, it is always riveting. If you don't have seasons 1 & 2, I recommend you get them now. This one of very few shows I am able to watch over and over and not get bored, learning and appreciating something new each time. I am placing my pre-order for Season 3 forthwith! "
Way down in the hole? Hardly
Adam Dukovich | 08/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After a virtuosic first season and an ambitious (but not quite as thrilling) second season, The Wire's third season proved to be the best one yet. Even though it hasn't been embraced by the public at large (like, say, The Sopranos), the show has received gobs of critical acclaim and delivers the goods, too, every week. I think that not only is The Wire a better show than The Sopranos (which is, admittedly, a truism), but it is a show which better reflects our post-9/11 mindset than its erstwhile New Jersey neighbor. The Sopranos is a product of another time, the zeitgeist of the late 1990s, with its constant putdowns of moneyed, whining, shrink-visiting, latte-sipping, politically-correct hipsters (the Eagles song "Get Over It" being perhaps the definitive cultural manifesto of the time). That show produced three excellent seasons of TV, but then 9/11 changed the world and Tony, Paulie, et al, never managed to get back ahead of the curve. The Wire was formed in direct response to 9/11 and links the drug war to the War on Terror, in both a direct and indirect sense, while examining the institutions (both legitimate and seamy) and the individuals that inhabit them. Although the show is described (even by itself) with such terms as "gritty" and "unvarnished", it is actually not so simple--in the show, as in life, few people fall into the sinner and saint categories. Leaders in these institutions are generally rational and even the antagonists occasionally speak uncomfortable truths. The result is a universe in which we find people's character defined not by their social or economic position.
Season 3 builds on the previous seasons and returns to the streets for a showdown between Avon Barksdale's (Wood Harris) crew (still managed, in the interim, by Stringer Bell (Idris Elba)) and a vicious upstart by the name of Marlo, who has taken control of Avon's territory thanks to Stringer's attempts to go straight. On the law side, Kima's (Sonja Sohn) doubts about motherhood continue to grow, while newly-minted Deputy Commissioner Rawls (John Doman) rips district commanders to shreds (and is the subject of a revelation of some interest). At the center of it all is Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West), whose liaison with an elite political consultant leads to some quite surprising conclusions that make you reevaluate the character entirely. The political plotline leads naturally into the new arena the show explores, Baltimore's city politics, which prominently features two figures: Mayor Clarence Royce, who seems like an honest, reasonable man, and City Councilman Tommy Carcetti (Adrien Gillen), whose character flirts the line between raw ambition and occasional idealism. In between these personalities is still-Acting Commissioner Burrell (Frankie Faison), whose previous cock-of-the-walk status gives way to getting chewed out by the Mayor. There are plenty more great storylines: Daniels (Lance Reddick) hooking up with Pearlman (and dealing with his nominal wife), Bunk trying to find a wounded officer's gun, and Major "Bunny" Colvin deciding to legalize drugs in condemned areas in order to keep the dealers off the streets. Colvin's plan does reduce crime, and things seem to be getting better, except that the legal drug area ("Hamsterdam") is a hellhole, and eventually the plan is exposed. This plotline just goes to show how much bigger problems can get if they're ignored. Overall, a spectacular season from a show that exceeds even high expectations."
Best Show on HBO!!
D. Hannon | Portland, OR | 05/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I watched Seasons 1 & 2 again last week and came to the realization that it was the best show on HBO. I used to have Sopranos in my top spot, but the Wire has passed it. It has the patience and intelligence I wish the Sopranos could consistently maintain. However, the Wire has only had three seasons and the Sopranos six, so it is might be harder for Chase and crew.
Season Three picks up where Season 2 left off with Daniel's new team investigating the dope in Baltimore. Like the two previous seasons having a theme (1-streets & police, and 2-dock workers and smuggling) this season involves the politics.
Season 2 is still my favorite, but all three seasons are amazing. The third continues the standards of the previous two seasons with excellent writing, acting, and pacing. Robert Wisdom who potrays Major Colvin and Aidan Gillen who plays Councilman Thomas 'Tommy' J. Carcetti are excellent new additions who hold their own to an exellent ensemble.
Thank you HBO for making a 4th Season, despite lower ratings. The critics are right, this is the best drama on TV."
Brilliant, this show just keeps getting better and better
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 08/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As the third season of HBO's brilliant and innovative the Wire begins, it becomes apparent that the war on drugs in Baltimore is primed to explode. The previous season, most of the show was focused on events surrounding the docks, but with season three, the series is shifted back to the streets as both sides of the war on drugs escalate to new methods in an effort to eliminate one another, and it's a war that no one is winning. Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris) is out of jail and looking to reclaim what's his, even if it means going head to head with Stringer Bell (the excellent Idris Elba). In the meantime, Detective Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) finds his own life falling to pieces more and more, but it won't stop him from doing what he feels he needs to do. Featuring a large ensemble cast, all of whom leave a lasting impretion (from Frankie Faison to Lance Reddick), the Wire is one of those rare accomplishments in the world of television that does so much right that it can't be put into words. The Sopranos and other shows always get the spotlight from the real gems on HBO, and the Wire is one of those shows that deserves much more recognition than it's ever gotten. If you don't believe that, the proof is right here, and soon enough, the much anticipated fourth season will be premiering, and upon viewing this season, you'll be salivating for it."
Best Show on TV
Robert Smith | 06/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Wire gets better with each season. Without a doubt, it is the best show on TV. Season 3 has it all: great writing, great acting, and the best story of the entire series. If you love the Wire, you must get this."