HBO’s “The Wire” concluded its five-season run just last year, but it’s already established itself as quite possibly the greatest TV series in history. It never won an Emmy, and was in fact only nominated twice, both in the writing categories: once for the third season’s penultimate episode, “Middle Ground,” and once for the series finale, “-30-.” Of course, that stat only matters if you think the Emmys are worth a damn, and I think we all know that any organization that so consistently praises Fox’s “House” has some serious priority issues.
But those two scant nominations do highlight something that the show’s faithful followers know all too well: The writing is outstanding. The stories are sprawling, epic, Greek-tragic ruminations on the nature of American conquest and the sacrifices made by the people at the bottom of the ladder on behalf of the ineptitude of those at the top. What’s more, the dialogue is this thick gun-blast of hardened profanity, street slang, police argot, and the undeniably Shakespearean pleasures of hearing gifted orators hold forth on the tilted battle between good and evil. Although creator David Simon handled a lot of the writing, over its 60 episodes the series also relied on stories and scripts from producer Ed Burns and a host of crime writers including George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane, and Richard Price. The show mined material from those who knew it, like when William Zorzi — a former colleague of Simon’s at The Baltimore Sun — joined the writing staff to consult on a political story line and eventually became a large contributor to (and cast member in) the final season’s story, set in part at a dying Sun.
It’s with the show’s rich history and stunning commitment to storytelling in mind that I’m honored to reveal the latest creation from hh, our resident video editor who also cut together The Other 100 Best Movie Quotes of All Time. This time out, he’s come up with an outstanding compilation of 100 of the greatest quotes from “The Wire,” and it’s a jaw-dropping reminder of how many amazing moments this show had. There are so many moments, in fact, that there’s a chance your personal favorite might not have made the cut. (In which case: Show some flex.) But it’s a wonderful video nonetheless. These are the lines that the devoted still recite to each other years after the episodes have aired, and that new converts can’t stop hearing in their heads every day. Let it ring out. — Daniel Carlson