The Wire (HBO)
The second season of The Wire secured a place for the series in the history of America’s most outstanding police/crime television. Set in Baltimore, one of the nation’s more complex urban environments, the narrative shifted focus from its first-season exploration of urban drug wars. In the course of the second season’s 12 episodes, The Wire (named for electronic surveillance) examined the steady decline of the working class in American cities, as exemplified by Baltimore’s port and waterfront. There the lives of working men and women—longshoremen, truck drivers, and their families—are pulled into webs of global trading in drugs and prostitution. But the intensity of the series rises not so much from crimes committed and solved as from the moral struggles faced by those people whose entire lives are being transformed through economic conditions and technological transformation beyond their control. Pride in work well done is threatened by necessity, opportunity, and intimidation. There are no simple solutions in this world where ambition and privilege taint those in authority and dignity defines many who commit crimes. The Wire was created by David Simon, who also writes and serves as executive producer with the late Robert F. Colesberry. Nina K. Noble and Karen Thorson serve as co-executive produces. A gallery of outstanding writers includes Edward Burns, Joy Lusco Kecken, George P. Pelecanos, and Rafael Alvarez. Directors include Ed Bianchi, Elodie Keene, Steve Shill, Thomas J. Wright, Daniel Attas, Tim Van Patten, Rob Bailey, Ernest Dickerson, and Robert F. Colesberry. For creating a complex fictional world comparable to those found in the best novels, a Peabody Award goes to The Wire.