The Wire - Season 5 (2008)

The Wire - Season 5
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Strong violence, drug use, coarse language and a sex scene

Actors: Dominic West, John Doman, Wendell Pierce, Lance Reddick, Deirdre Lovejoy, Sonja Sohn, Seth Gilliam, Domenick Lombardozzi, Clarke Peters, Andre Royo, Michael K. Williams, Jim True-Frost, Frankie Faison, Corey Parker Robinson, Delaney Williams, J.D. Williams, Aidan Gillen, Wood Harris, Gbenga Akinnaqbe, Robert Wisdom, Chad Coleman, Felicia Pearson, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Tray Chaney, Michael Kostroff, Jamie Hector, Thomas Mccarthy, Clark Johnson

In a city that can no longer even recognise its problems, much less begin to solve them, police detectives attempt to bring in one last, worthy case against a violent crew of narcotics traffickers. And when bureaucratic poverty and infighting threatens that case, one detective will risk everything, creating a fraud that will eventually entangle the city's newspaper, which is weakened by declines in circulation and advertising. With journalism itself so vulnerable and desperate, an unscrupulous, ambitious reporter will ride the story wherever it goes or wherever he wants it to go. From the streets, to the port, to the schools and the halls of government, The Wire has chronicled the tribulations of a post-industrial American city. Now, in its final season, the drama directs its last question to the media and its consumers: if anything in The Wire's depiction of urban America was genuine or important, then what is it, exactly, that occupies our attentions? What are the stories we embrace? And what are the stories we ignore? And why?

DVD Boxset
Status: QuickPick
Run time: 662mins
Origin: UNITED STATES
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Audio Formats: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
Television Revision
by Andrew Williams,

Now, this is a story all about how... Baltimore police are locked in a fierce battle with the king of the city’s drug trade, Marlo Stanfield (Jamie Hector). Mayor Carcetti (Aidan Gillen) is trying to parlay his electoral success into a possible run for governor, stick-up man Omar (Michael K. Williams) is looking for happiness away from the street, and the Baltimore Sun enters the fray as The Wire turns its focus to the media. Happy days? As a series, The Wire is pure genius. But even a genius sometimes needs an edit. The problem with its fifth season is that it falls into the same trap as hundreds of storytelling endeavours: it overreaches. Creator David Simon had only ten episodes with which to end the show’s run, and his decision to include a look at the newspaper business detracts from...

Now, this is a story all about how... Baltimore police are locked in a fierce battle with the king of the city’s drug trade, Marlo Stanfield (Jamie Hector). Mayor Carcetti (Aidan Gillen) is trying to parlay his electoral success into a possible run for governor, stick-up man Omar (Michael K. Williams) is looking for happiness away from the street, and the Baltimore Sun enters the fray as The Wire turns its focus to the media.

Happy days? As a series, The Wire is pure genius. But even a genius sometimes needs an edit. The problem with its fifth season is that it falls into the same trap as hundreds of storytelling endeavours: it overreaches. Creator David Simon had only ten episodes with which to end the show’s run, and his decision to include a look at the newspaper business detracts from the rest of the storylines he spent four seasons building. If this thread was engaging, he could be forgiven. However, it lacks compelling characters and is pretty one-sided.

Luckily, all the characters you’ve come to know and love are still here and still as brilliant and compelling as ever. The depiction of the intertwining worlds of drug dealers, police officers, lawyers, and government officials continues to be fascinating, accurate, and cynical. The acting remains stellar. Each story is resolved; sometimes tragically, sometimes happily. Just like life.

The final frontier: Season Five might be the worst season of The Wire, but it’s still a great season of television. A fitting end to an essential series.

Top three episodes: 8) Clarifications. 9) Late Editions. 10) -30­-. A great series deserved a great ending, and despite some missteps early on, the last three episodes are among the best of the lot. It's perhaps not until the final, completely appropriate shot that we can fully appreciate the scale of what we have just seen.

Worst episode: 2) Unconfirmed Reports. It’s surprising that in a show primarily about drug dealers and policemen, the journalists are the ones without shades of grey (especially coming from former journo Simon). The trouble starts here, in which we’re presented with a conflict in which one of the two protagonists has no moral high ground whatsoever. The irony is that the ‘hero’ of this story thread is a newspaper editor (played by show director Clark Johnson), yet the thread lacks both balance and editing.

Season MVP:  A tie between creator and leading man. David Simon is responsible for an influential, innovative, and incisive series. Crucial to its success was Dominic West as the lead of a show that never really had a ‘lead’. His performance as Jimmy McNulty got better and better, and only once his tale came to an end could we truly appreciate its depth and breadth.

3.5/5

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Member Reviews (6)

What am I going to do now that it's over?
Posted Saturday, 17 May 2014 See my other reviews
Snoop
says
It poses the hard questions and delivers every single season. Few series are this intelligent, few experiences are this enthralling, if you dont enjoy this series you dont deserve a TV. It's all in the game.
Posted Tuesday, 7 May 2013 See my other reviews
quatermass
says
For all I know it might be a good series but endless ghetto slang and brutality is not my scene. In a word, depressing.
Posted Tuesday, 23 April 2013 See my other reviews
Greg
says
Quite possibly one of the best TV shows ever created.
Posted Friday, 18 January 2013 See my other reviews
Tracey
says
Love this whole series.I have watched it from the beginning and can't wait for next disc to arrive
Posted Thursday, 8 March 2012 See my other reviews
The Bunk
says
Just the best TV series ever. Start at the beginning, watch every episode on DVD and you'd have to agree there's nothing else that comes close. All in the game, yo.
Posted Tuesday, 28 June 2011 See my other reviews
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