The Wire remains as addictive as any drug dealt on its Baltimore streets. After the audacious tangential shift of season 2’s dirty-dockworker story line, we were tempted to prematurely proclaim HBO’s benchmark drama the best crime show ever. Now, with the arrival of The Wire: The Complete Third Season on DVD, we can safely shout it from the rooftops. One would be hard-pressed to find another series that blends the personal and the political in such a kinetic yet thoughtful way.
The five commentaries on this collection, including one by newly appointed scribe Richard Price, are drier than previous seasons’ (nothing will ever top Dominic West’s hilarious slam of Orlando Bloom’s acting ability on the season 2 set), but fans will appreciate its observations about all the Western-influenced visual metaphors (showdowns play a large role in season 3). Fiercely opinionated creator David Simon dishes out his feelings on the show’s shrewdly illustrated parallels to the Iraq war and on New York City’s smug attitudes toward crime fighting. He also joins some of the cast and crew for a chat with students at the New School, where he reveals that the Law & Order shows really get his dander up (”There were more corpses on the three Law & Order franchises… than there were actual homicides in Manhattan!”). Thankfully, we have to wait only until Sept. 10 for the premiere of season 4; and in the meantime, with this excellent collection, Wire-heads can happily, to borrow a phrase, ”re-up.”