Perhaps predictably, social media were replete with references to "The Wire" today, as amateur pundits couldn't wait to compare the violence on the streets of Baltimore the past few days with the HBO series that portrayed a city on the brink of despair.
"This live episode of The Wire is riveting," actor and comedian Judah Friedlander tweeted Monday night, as rioters were taking to the streets in West Baltimore and firefighters were struggling to douse flames in many parts of the city.
A Twitter user identifying himself as sports handicapper Johnny Detroit posted, "Season #6 of The Wire live on CNN right now…" A tweet from ESPN senior writer and Baltimore Sun alum Kevin Van Valkenburg pleaded, "If your understanding of Baltimore's myriad complexities is limited to binge-watching The Wire, save your lectures. Tough day for us here."
Meanwhile, David Simon, the Emmy-winning writer and former Baltimore Sun reporter who created "The Wire," took to his website (davidsimon.com) to plead for some semblance of order and lament a lost opportunity for progress in mending his home city's fissures.
"There was real power and potential in the peaceful protests that spoke in Mr. Gray's name initially," Simon wrote in a Monday post, "and there was real unity at his homegoing today. But this, now, in the streets, is an affront to that man's memory and a dimunition of the absolute moral lesson that underlies his unnecessary death."
Simon ended his post with a plea clearly born from a mix of anger, frustration and concern. "If you can't seek redress and demand reform without a brick in your hand, you risk losing this moment for all of us in Baltimore," he wrote. "Turn around. Go home. Please."
Simon wasn't the only "Wire" alum to weigh in on the rioting and violence in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray. Andre Royo, who played recovering heroin addict and police informant "Bubbles" Cousins, tweeted, "To my Beloved city Baltimore..I feel your pain. Stand up..rise UP without breaking down! Discipline not Destruction. #VictorynotVictims."
Tweeted Wendell Pierce, who played Detective Bunk Moreland, "This is not a revolution. This is thuggery." He later added, "Today is a historic opportunity, take that rage to the office of [new attorney general] Loretta Lynch. That is revolutionary."