Movies - TV
Fans Weren't The Only People Put Off By The Wire's Seasonal Whiplash
Over the initial 13 episodes of “The Wire,” audiences gained fluency in the world they were unceremoniously dropped into — the street language, the cadence, the lack of flashbacks, and the harrowing realism it all serves — only for the showrunners to begin the following season following an entirely new storyline, a move that shocked both fans and cast members alike.
The Season 2 begins, Barksdale's people have been replaced by the laborers of the docks. The show's new POV was another microcosm of the drug conflict but, like the cumulative effect of the episodes themselves, amassed into something greater, earning the authority to pass condemnation to all institutions involved but few of its individuals.
However, some cast members took issue with the jarring shift, as the late Michael K. Williams explained, "[...] I approached David, and I was like, 'How come we make the show hot, and you give it to the white people?' […] he said, 'Trust me, if we go right back to the projects, we're going to make the story that we're building here way too small.' That went way over my f****** head. It wasn't until season 3 that things started to click."
Clarke Peters, who played Det. Lester Freamon had very distinct thoughts on the show's oscillating direction from season to season. As he stated in an interview, stating in an interview with The Guardian: "I thought: 'What the f*** is this? What happened to our drugs?' For me, it was a way of saying: this isn't about you. This is about the city of Baltimore. It was necessary."
Creator David Simon argues that without the focus on other systems at play, "It would be a cop show," and nothing more. The perspective shift didn't end at the docks; Season 3 dealt with cop-lead compromise, Season 4 dove into the broken school system, and the final season scrutinized the media reportage of the entire mess. Simon succeeded: 20 years after its pilot episode, "The Wire" is still far more than just a cop show.