Last month, for the release of “The Wire” on Blu-ray and the show’s 13th anniversary, City Paper dedicated a whole issue to the show. We thought hard about all five seasons, and made it clear how on point the show was in its diagnosis of the systemic issues within government and the police department and how that’s become even more apparent following the Baltimore Uprising. We assumed that would maybe be the last time we’d really go deep and think about “The Wire,” at least for a while, but there are too many ideas we didn’t get to include for one reason or another.
But members of "The Wire" cast will perform an uprising-themed piece as part of Artscape this year, which got us thinking again about the connections between the show and recent events. The fact that viewers around the country were familiar with David Simon's Baltimore garnered the real Baltimore a great deal of sympathy and understanding following the death of Freddie Gray and the Baltimore Uprising. Let's not give an oppressively lauded television show too much more praise—and indeed, David Simon's own comments, in which he told angry violent protesters to simply go home, were disappointing—but it seems very likely that the overall attitude of the show, which balanced no-nonsense realism about how the system works with a deeply felt sympathy for those caught up in the system from d-boys to the police, made it much harder for the nation to buy into the nonsense that Freddie Gray was "a thug," or that Baltimore's problems are the fault of the people bearing the brunt of those problems, or hey, that the police aren't capable of losing control and harming people. As Baynard Woods said back in our "The Wire" issue: "Carver and Herc killed Freddie Gray."