Getting Close to The Wire. Representation as Socio-Political Critique
Other Titles: 
Conference: IMAGEing Reality: Representing the Real in Film, TV and New Media (Pamplona, october 2009)
Keywords: 
The Wire
Television Studies
Issue Date: 
2015
Citation: 
García Martínez, Alberto Nahum. ""Getting Close to The Wire. Representation as Socio-Political Critique"". Conference: IMAGEing Reality: Representing the Real in Film, TV and New Media (Pamplona, october 2009)
Abstract
SLIDESHARE The Wire (HBO 2002-08) is one of the most ever critically acclaimed TV-shows. It transcends the film noir genre by offering a multilayered portrait of the whole city of Baltimore: from police work to drug dealing, getting through stevedores’ union corruption, tricks of local politics, problems of the school system and some unethical journalism practices. One key element in the TV-series is the realist style that David Simon and Ed Burns, executive producers, have stamped on The Wire as authorial mark; a realist style that lay the foundations of the social, cultural, and political critique The Wire exhibits. This paper proposes to locate the representational strategies employed by The Wire in three different scopes. On the one hand, we will study the production context of the TV-series, in order to find out how the non-fiction book upon the show is based and the autobiographical background of the creators heighten the realism of The Wire. Secondly, we will analyze the filmic elements that spread the “illusion of truth”: use of non-professional actors, stylistic sobriety, and a fragmented and expanded narrative that shows the ambiguity of the real. Finally, the last part of this paper tries to enlighten certain issues intertwined with the notion of realism in The Wire: the constant presence of the city as a moral landscape and the rupture of two American myths: working hard will lead anyone to wealth and America as a place of inclusion.

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