The Wire: The Complete Fifth Season

After faithfully watching the past four seasons, I eagerly unpacked The Wire: The Complete Fifth Season (HBO, $59.99). The brilliance of David Simon’s series has always been the subtlety of his characters. The hero/villain line is pretty fuzzy: Bunk (Wendell Pierce), the cop who refuses to play along with renegade Jimmy (Dominic West) and his ethically questionable plan for getting more police funding, is also a drunk philanderer. Michael (Tristan Wilds), a fast-rising dealer and hit man, is desperate to keep his little brother out of the game. In fact, the series’ first flatly evil characters are new in this final (sob!) season—they’re editors at The Baltimore Sun, where Simon used to work. (Apparently it was not an awesome experience.) After you purchase the box set, I recommend a weekend marathon immersion in the 10 episodes contained on these four discs. Make no plans, get a pint of Jameson, start at the beginning, and breathe a sigh of relief that great television is still out there. Or was. Scarecrow Video, 5030 Roosevelt Way N.E., 524-8554, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. LAURA ONSTOT

Tue., Sept. 2, 2008

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