Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The Baltimore Sun has been posting articles on the back and forth between Baltimore police commissioner Frederick Bealefeld and THE WIRE creator David Simon.

Bealefeld said at a January 8, 2011 event that the show was the "most unfair use of literary license that we've borne witness to" and that it's a "smear that will take decades to overcome." You can read most of what he said (with a video, even) over at the Baltimore Sun Blog.

Simon took issue with that and responded very quickly. You can read that one here.

I'm not from Baltimore and have only ever been there one time. That one time I parked my rental car and as I got out, a guy standing on a corner said to me, "You shouldn't park here. Go down a few more blocks in case you're still out when it gets a little darker."

I don't know if he was serious or not, but I moved my car. I looked at him in my mirror as I drove away and he didn't start laughing like he pulled a fast one on me. He simply stood where he was and finished his cigarette. That made me believe that Baltimore wasn't the nicest place and when I saw The Wire, I kept thinking back to that moment and how similar that area looked to the dangerous parts portrayed on the show.

Everyone I've ever met from that city said the show was depressingly realistic and there weren't a lot of shows that can say that—especially cop shows. I'm not in any position to say how real it is or isn't, but from everything I've seen, heard and read about that show and the fact that David Simon is a former Baltimore crime reporter and his co-producer Edward Burns is a former Baltimore detective, I'd say it's a pretty good chance.

But again, I don't know. I live in Salt Lake City. Our two biggest problems are deciding where to build a shiny new police headquarters and overeager Highway Patrolmen with tasers and an itchy trigger finger. Neither of those are anything close to the problems of Baltimore and never will be. That's something I'm grateful for and another reason I like living here.

But it does seem to me that where there's smoke there is fire and police commissioner Bealefeld is just trying to focus attention on something else while he figures out a way to curb what has (seemingly) been a problem in his city for nearly two decades.

Of course, I have a biased opinion in this. Not only is THE WIRE one of my favorite shows of all time, but I will trust a journalist over a cop any day of the week. And unfortunately for everyone, that's probably not a good thing.


Here's an Esquire article Simon wrote a few years back that's one of my favorite things he's done. Check it out if you've got a minute.

And if you ever plan on watching THE WIRE, don't watch this video. It spoils too much. But if you've seen it, these are some of the best quotes from all 60 episodes.

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