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The Wire Doesn’t Have 1 Key Thing Other Prestige Dramas Have (& That’s What Makes It Brilliant)
2024/04/10

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HBO's The Wire is often regarded as one of the greatest TV shows ever made, despite not achieving the same level of fame as other acclaimed shows such as The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, or Game of Thrones. However, with retroactive praise and reassessment from modern audiences, The Wire is finally receiving the recognition it deserves. One key detail that sets The Wire apart from other prestige TV shows is its portrayal of the city of Baltimore as the true protagonist.

While the show follows the life of police detective Jimmy McNulty, it also focuses on various members of law enforcement, gangs, and other side characters.

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This decision blurs the line between protagonist and supporting characters, highlighting the city of Baltimore itself. By making Baltimore the protagonist, the show captures the authenticity of real life, where there are no clear-cut main characters. The actions of corrupt law enforcement and occasional altruism from criminals mirror reality, making the show more relatable and thought-provoking.

This unique approach also works well in The Wire because it sheds light on the real issues faced by people living in similar environments. Without a traditional protagonist, viewers are forced to look at the abhorrent behavior objectively and reassess real-life politics.

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Unlike shows with clearly defined protagonists, The Wire feels like a slice of life or a documentary, making it easier to sympathize or empathize with the characters. It encourages viewers to think critically about the complex issues depicted in the show.

While The Wire excels in its use of a city as the protagonist, other shows like Law & Order and Game of Thrones also benefit from a similar narrative structure. By subverting the traditional idea of a central protagonist, these shows offer a more nuanced and realistic portrayal of their respective worlds. This allows viewers to see different perspectives and engage with the story more freely.

In conclusion, The Wire's decision to make Baltimore the protagonist sets it apart from other TV shows. It highlights important issues while compelling viewers to reassess real-life politics. By blurring the line between protagonist and supporting characters, the show captures the complexity of real life, making it a must-watch for anyone who appreciates thought-provoking storytelling.

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