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UPDATE: Read "The Wire" creator David Simon's response here.

"The Wire" concluded its run on HBO in 2008, but Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III says Baltimore is still smarting from its depiction and that the show was a "smear on this city that will take decades to overcome."

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At the Jan. 8 Amplify Baltimore event, Bealefeld told audience members that the show was the "most unfair use of literary license that we've borne witness to," according to video posted on YouTube (Thanks, Nate Mook of Localist.com)

"I heard all this stuff about, 'Well there's crime shows about L.A., about New York, about Miami,'" Bealefeld said. "You know what Miami gets in their crime show? They get detectives that look like models, and they drive around in sports cars. And you know what New York gets, they get these incredibly tough prosecutors, competant cops that solve the most crazy, complicated cases."

"What Baltimore gets is this reinforced notion that it's a city full of hopelessness, despair and dysfunction. There was very little effort - beyond self-serving - to highlight the great and wonderful things happening here, and to indict the whole population, the criminal justice system, the school system."

Those who have praised the show, including TV critics and universities that now teach courses on it, say it was that unflinching depiction of a part of society typically not dramatized on TV that made the show so important. Creator David Simon, a former Sun reporter, has said that the show was a larger indictment on the failings of inner city America - "ruminations on the end of an empire." We'd be remiss not to mention that The Sun took its own lickings in the final season, which Simon said was also intended to be a broader look at the role of the ever-shrinking media.

When the City Council in 2002 held a public hearing to try to find better ways to promote the city in light of "The Wire," Simon testified to defend the show's message. Here's what he said, excerpted from an article by reporter Gary Dorsey:

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