"The Wire" & David Simon's book "Homicide"

WarpFoxWarpFox Nashville, TN
edited August 4 in Other TV
A few coworkers and I are planning on doing a rewatch of The Wire throughout August and September, sort of as an unofficial work thing, so that we can all be watching it and talking about it at work. This got me really excited to rewatch it and so I started doing some research about the show—reading /r/TheWire, flipping through the Rafael Alvarez book etc. Then, I remembered that a while back, I had bought David Simon's book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and decided last Friday to maybe just flip through it and see if I could find anything interesting. Well, a week later I'm now almost 400 pages into the nearly 600-page tome and am on course to have it finished before the end of next week. I'm hooked. It's so god damn good.

It's no wonder that The Wire feels so raw and real. A lot of stuff in that show, as well as David Simon's freshman show Homicide: Life on the Street, comes straight from the pages of Homicide. For the uninitiated, Homicide is a book written by David Simon where he spent the entire year of 1988 shadowing the homicide unit of the Baltimore police department. It's a work of journalism, so all of the cases, victims' names, detectives' names, incidents, etc., are real. And, in true David Simon fashion, he also has a thing or two to say about how police work is often politicized and how, rather than justice, the clearance rate is the bottom-line in homicide. I saw it described somewhere as "a sympathetic yet unromantic view of police work."

Reading this book has given me a whole new appreciation for The Wire, and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to get a real-life look at how the sausage is made.

P.S. if anyone else feels like it's time for a rewatch of The Wire, feel free to join in. We are starting next week and plan on watching two episodes each week.

Comments

  • Garthgou81Garthgou81 Placerville, CA
    Ya know, I never made it to the very end, the final season lost some steam for me, or I got distracted or something. I may join you guys in this rewatch, so I can finally complete the damn thing. Also, I have it on blu-ray and I want to really enjoy that side of things. 
  • WarpFoxWarpFox Nashville, TN
    edited August 4
    The 5th season isn't the best, as A.Ron has pointed out on a few occasions, but I appreciated what Simon was going for. Honestly, on my first watch the most difficult season to get through was the 2nd. It's hard to go from Avon Barksdale and the drug game in the projects to caring about the stevedores and Frank Sabotka.
  • Oh man, the second season might be my favorite, the way it slow-builds from the docks to the streets to city hall.  Like you said, it's jarring at first but then they weave everything together and you realize it's about a much deeper story than just street crime.

    Anyway, I know this is a bit off-topic, and the book mentioned sounds great, but has anyone watched the "Homicide" tv series?  I've tried a couple times and it just loses my interest.  The only episode I can remember is the one where the AC is broken in the office.  It's a show that I SHOULD like but just can't get into.
  • WarpFoxWarpFox Nashville, TN
    Just bought the first two seasons on DVD from work and I plan on sprinkling it in, but I haven't watched it yet. I did watch a scene where Pemberton(?) goes off-script and gets a confession out of a guy, and it's a very Wire-esque kind of scene. Made me want to watch the show, but I'm aware it's a '90s procedural, so I can see how it might be hard to keep interest in it.
  • I haven't seen Season 5 yet but Season 2 is probably my favorite.  The first few episodes are really slow and then it just becomes a literal Greek tragedy.
  • WarpFoxWarpFox Nashville, TN
    edited August 4
    I haven't seen Season 5 yet but Season 2 is probably my favorite.  The first few episodes are really slow and then it just becomes a literal Greek tragedy.
    Bruh, you talkin' about Homicide or The Wire?

    Edit: I assume The Wire, because I just noticed the word "literal" lol
  • Yeah.
  • The initial transition into Season 2 from Season 1 is difficult because the focus is taken away from the Barksdales to the Sobotkas.  However, if you go back and re-watch Season 2, it can grow on you and you can start to appreciate how underrated the season was.  I know that happened with me.  As for Season 5, yeah, it's not the greatest but i mean, it still is a lot better than other seasons from other shows.  I mean, if you're consistently hitting a homerun every time and then you hit a double, it doesn't mean that the double isn't still good.

    As for Simon's book, i do remember reading it after watching The Wire and being amazed at how much really did happen.  Same with going back and watching The Corner and seeing how that parallels things that happened in The Wire (as well as using a lot of the same actors but in different roles).

    KingKobraken hale
  • I read and highly recommend The Corner.  Long story short, one year deeply embedded into the lives of the residents of a neighborhood in Baltmer.
    hypergenesbWarpFox
  • WarpFoxWarpFox Nashville, TN
    tom_g said:
    I read and highly recommend The Corner.  Long story short, one year deeply embedded into the lives of the residents of a neighborhood in Baltmer.
    I just finished reading Homicide this morning, and I've been on the lookout for a copy of The Corner to come through the book store so I can snag it up. It's definitely next on the list.
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