My wife gave me the complete series as a Christmas gift and although the television series is more than a decade old now I do not feel it has lost any of its relevancy regarding crime and human nature over this past decade or two.
There are a total of 60 episodes spread out over five seasons and there are just too many great performances and excellent story lines to mention them all. Suffice to say that the two main characters are two Baltimore city detectives. Jimmy McNulty (played by Dominic West) is a white Irish rebellious detective who will screw anyone to get to the criminal he is chasing. Along the way he hurts a lot of his fellow cops, his bosses and lets down his immediate family time and time again. With all his faults though once he gives you that great Irish grin of his all is forgiven, no matter what the circumstances.
McNulty's partner is Detective William Moreland, better known around the station house and the bars simply as "Bunk" who knows McNulty best. Bunk is a heavy set well dressed black cop (played by Wendell Pierce) who likes to chomp on a cigar and drink hard liquor to extremes. Bunk has a lot of life in him, and is considered a cops impression of what a real detective should be. A hard drinking, womanizing, persistent cop who really wants to get the worst criminal elements behind bars serving hard time.
Both Bunk and McNulty have ex-wives and two children but their lives really evolve around the city of Baltimore's urban city corners where drugs are always readily available, and murders are popping up within the walls behind condemned row houses by the dozens. The other two characters who deserve special mention are the drug lords, Avon Barksdale (played by Wood Harris) and Russell "Stringer" Bell (played by Idris Elba). Now these two gangsta's grew up on the city streets of Baltimore like many other city hoods but the difference is they had both street smarts and the will to kill anyone who got in their way. Theirs are interesting story lines throughout the series and keep the audience guessing what they will do next. No spoiler alert so I will defer from giving away too much on their path to destruction.
Two characters who you can't help but feel compassion for due to their diverse journeys throughout the series are the drug addicted junk man Reginald "Bubbles" Cousins played to perfection by Andre Royo, and the shotgun wielding gay drug thief Omar Little, also played with fearless perfection by Michael Kenneth Williams. Now their lives when involved in any scene are never predictable and you cannot help but root for them to win. Hell, even the cops cut them a lot of slack as they can see that their hearts are big, but their minds are twisted after living on the streets their entire lives.
I could go on and provide details on at least another dozen strong performances by other cops, attorneys, judges, police captains, shipyard workers, and even kids, but I suggest instead that you keep this crime themed television series on your "must watch" list and if you ever want to see a series that captivates the drug crime world of a major urban city such as in this Baltimore story you won't be able to stop watching until you watch at least a couple more episodes before you go to bed far too late in to the early morning hours because it is just that good a dramatic crime series. And isn't that really when the crime comes out? Late at night?
I give it a perfect 10 out of 10 and a MUST SEE for a television crime and dramatic series.
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