Stealing Life

"The Wire," by far my favorite show on television, is now in its fifth and final season on HBO. Even if you haven’t been watching this sprawling Baltimore-based drama, you can catch up with this handy synopsis of seasons 1-4. As I noted in my recent OMT, each season of "The Wire" focuses on a different element of city life. This year creator David Simon has trained his eye on The Baltimore Sun, the newspaper where he got his start. The newspaper scenes have already provoked a heady debate, especially on Slate, where David Plotz is "worried" that Simon’s obsession with The Sun may is coloring his portrayal of newsroom life. (More here on Simon’s tangled history with The Sun.) I found the scenes thrilling, especially as the reporters scrambled to put together a last-minute corruption story based upon a minor item on the city council’s agenda. But then again, I used to be a newspaper reporter. But don’t worry; it’s not all about us. Simon continues to weave in storylines from previous seasons, about the city’s cops, drug dealers, public school kids, even the mayor. Each episode is incredibly rich, a reminder that at its best television can surpass even film in the depth and range of its artistic achievement. Tim Reidy
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