Thursday, February 14, 2008

How much leeway I give the Wire (none)

I have to admit that I like Law & Order. Sometimes I like shows like that; they're easy to watch, you don't have to read into them too much, and everything is wrapped up neatly by the end of the episode. Each episode is isolated and one doesn't need to have watched the show previously to "get it." The show is fiction, and obviously so (though often based on real events). So when they have the daughter of a psychologist who studies serial killers becoming a serial killer herself to get her dad's attention, it's OK with me. When an adopted girl's parents are killed and her biological mother tries to take custody of her, only to attempt to kill her for her inheritance, it's OK with me. But when "The Wire" has Jimmy McNulty inventing a serial killer and playing the entire city, it's not OK with me at all.

Until now, "The Wire" has been real to me. The places and people are very real representations of life in Baltimore (aside from the fact that some scenes are shot in places like Midtown-Belvedere and supposed to be on the west side; I'll have you know that Tilghman Middle is four blocks from the Lyric Opera House). But this serial killer crap has me pissed. I'm hoping that David Simon can wrap it up with some stroke of genius in the next few episodes, but for the first time, I'm doubting him.

I was devastated when Prop Joe was killed. I debated the fate of the co-op. I cried for Bubbles when his sister kicked him out of the house when she left for work. I got pissed at Herc for letting Randy slip through the cracks. This is all very real to me.

But cops making up murders so they can work on other murders? It's one thing to exaggerate something to make waves or headlines, but to entirely fabricate it? I just can't get on board with it. It seems too tenuous, too ready to break at any moment, not to mention that I just can't make myself believe it. This season has been exciting, but for this one facet. I know from talking to Tripp that this arc hasn't ended yet (he has On Demand; I don't), and I'm disappointed.

Everything else is exciting, and everything else seems to be building in a credible way. But this just doesn't seem real to me. I hope Simon can make it real in the last few episodes.

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