Setting the tone for all seasons to come, season one of HBO's The Wire divides its attention equally between cops and dealers, offering a fascinatingly objective overview of the Baltimore drug scene. The weekly, hour-long series also pays homage to its spiritual predecessor, Homicide: Life on the Street (both series were created by Tom Fontana), by basing its debut episode (originally telecast June 2, 2002) on the same book (by David Simon) that inspired the earlier program. After drug dealer D'Angelo Barksdale (Larry Gilliard Jr.) beats a murder rap, Detective James McNulty (Dominic West) vows never to let D'Angelo out of his sight, hoping that the criminal will lead him to an even bigger fish -- namely, D'Angelo's uncle, drug kingpin Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris). McNulty's task is complicated by a variety of things, including the corruption and dissension within the police department -- which in turn hampers the effectiveness of the man leading the investigation of the Barksdale empire, Lt. Cedric Daniels (Lance Reddick). Meanwhile, Avon Barksdale and his second-in-command, Stringer Bell (Idris Elba), are likewise bedeviled with their own personal and professional problems as they gear up to do battle against their underworld rivals. Throughout the series' first 13 episodes, police officers and criminals alike are seen to possess their own curious codes of honor and rules of conduct, allowing viewers to empathize with both the hunter and the hunted (without, of course, ever completely siding with the "bad guys"). And though the season finale is titled "Sentencing," it is clear that the story is far from over.
Cast & Crew
Dominic West - Det. Jimmy McNulty
Sonja Sohn - Det. Shakima Greggs
Wendell Pierce - Det. William `Bunk' Moreland
Lance Reddick - Lt. Cedric Daniels
Clarke Peters - Det. Lester Freamon