61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another spectacular season
The fourth season of HBO's critically acclaimed The Wire picks up after the explosive events the conclusion to the third season, as cop Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) finds himself patroling the streets of Baltimore and seemingly out of the loop (McNulty is relegated to more of a supporting player in these episodes than ever before) as this season focuses on the coming...
Published on September 11, 2007 by N. Durham
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another great season
As a whole the show is fantastic, though it definitely reached its peak in season 2. Everything that made it great happened then. The other seasons are essential viewing for sure, just 2 has the highest quality.
Published 1 month ago by Joshua John
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another spectacular season,
The fourth season of HBO's critically acclaimed The Wire picks up after the explosive events the conclusion to the third season, as cop Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) finds himself patroling the streets of Baltimore and seemingly out of the loop (McNulty is relegated to more of a supporting player in these episodes than ever before) as this season focuses on the coming election between Mayor Royce (Glynn Turman) and Tommy Carcetti (Aidan Gillen), and a group of young corner kids getting ready to go back to school. What makes this season of The Wire so surprisingly compelling isn't the drama between the cops and the crooks like we've seen before, but what this group of young corner boys (Maestro Harrell, Julito McCullum, Tristan Wilds) experience and the choices they make, which not only effect their own lives, but inexplicably effect the lives of everyone else involved as well. In the meantime, new kingpin Marlo (Jamie Hector) makes even more of an impact as the cops try to nail him, Herc (Domenick Lombardozzi) finally gets his stripes, Prez (Jim True-Frost) becomes a teacher, and Omar (Michael K. Williams) gets in over his head when he goes toe to toe with Marlo. By the end of season four, it is apparent that the end is near, and that McNulty and his crew are sitting on a powder keg that will be as explosive as anything that has ever been seen on HBO. Undoubtedly one of the finest and most realistic TV dramas ever crafted, The Wire is once again spectacular entertainment.
119 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this,
The story so far... (Don't read any further if you don't want to know any detail of what happens in this Season of the show).
On street level, Stringer Bell is dead, Avon Barksdale is back behind bars and the cold and wilful Marlo Stansfield (played by Jamie Hector) looks like he's squaring up to be crowned king. Preston "Bodie" Broadus (played by JD Williams) is the only true Barksdale soldier still holding it down but finds it's a whole new game with a whole new set of rules. Meanwhile, the drug dealers' nightmare that is Omar (played by Michael K Williams) has a new protégé in tow and he's as busy as ever. The scene when he and Marlo finally come face to face is pure TV heaven.
On law level, political involvement in the Major Crimes Unit sends its best personnel off in all different directions: Lieutenant Daniels (played by Lance Reddick) gets promoted out, Detectives Kima Greggs (played by Sonja Sohn) and Lester Freamon (played by Clarke Peters) are squeezed out - and back to Homicide - and Detective Jimmy McNulty (played by Dominic West) realises he's running the risk of losing his soul and goes back on patrol. He also gives up the booze and tries to become a family man. The end result of all this is that no one is really up on the wire and by the time the incredible number of bodies being stacked up in vacant houses by Marlo's two lieutenants Chris and Snoop (played by Gbenga Akinnagbe and Felicia Pearson) come to light, there are so many of them, the task of solving the crimes seem pretty much unsurmountable to the shocked law enforcement personnel.
On City Hall level, Councilman Tommy Carcetti (played by Aiden Gillen) does the unimaginable and wins the mayoral elections in Baltimore but finds it might be the beginning of his battles rather than the end.
And if all that were not enough, in the middle school system, the 'No Child Left Behind' programme is shown up for what it really is, while 8th graders - some, like Michael (played by Tristan Wilds) and Dukie (played by Jermaine Hawkins) with drug addicted parents; some, like Namond Brice (played by Julito McCullum) with drug dealing parents - dad Wee-Bey (played by Hassan Johnson) is in prison and mother De'Londa (played by Sandi McCree) wants her little boy to grow up and be just like his daddy - and tragically, some with no parents at all - Randy (played by Maestro Harrell) is in foster care and Sherrod (played by Rashad Orange) is taken under wing by Bubbles (played by Andre Royo) of all people - are left to their own devices and to the lure of the streets. Some of the younger kids like the streetwise and smart-mouthed Kenard (played by Thuliso Dingwall) and the car-stealing, joy-riding Donut, so small he can barely see over the steering wheels of the cars he jacks (played by Nathan Corbett), we don't get to see their parents at all. Ever.
And this is not even the half of it. The scene is thus set for the fourth season of this incredibly articulate HBO series and on many levels, primarily due to the focus of school-age children, it might prove to be the most explosive season of all. With its awesome ensemble cast, "The Wire" continues to draw the highest praise from the most unexpected of quarters all over the world. Don't miss this. And don't let the complex storylines, unglamorous settings or gritty (and often violent) scenes and colourful language put you off. It's like watching real life or reading a novel. In the real world, situations do not usually get resolved within 50 minutes, just as they don't get tied up neatly within a chapter of a book. It was appointment TV for me on the FX channel earlier this year and I so cannot wait for the DVD. This is without a doubt, the best thing on TV.
PS. I've deliberately refrained from using the B word because I've come to understand that it upsets certain people and I totally understand why.
We could be missing the point though, with the utmost respect. The stories that are being told here - and they are just stories by the way; "The Wire" is not a documentary series or even a docudrama - could be told from Washington DC, Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Detroit or any major US city and still be just as authentic, and just as believable. I don't believe The Wire is a statement about a particular city. I think the creators and writers have just gone with the location they know - and love, it has to be said.
I don't feel it's a statement about America either, particularly. Drug addiction, drug wars (the so-called wars being fought against drugs and the wars the drug dealers are contantly fighting amongst themselves), the proliferation of guns in our communities, political corruption and, (as is highlighted in this particular season), deficient child educational systems in particular and the way children are collectively being failed by the very society that is supposed to protect and nurture them in general, are all evident all over the world if we know where to look.
IMO, these are stories about human nature and the different ways in which man's actions affect the world we live in. That's what makes "The Wire" so fascinating.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No spoilers but a huge recommendation!,
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If you have seen The Wire in its previous three seasons and wondered whether this one measures up, the answer is "absolutely yes". If you haven't seen the show at all, what are you waiting for?
Previously I would've said season 2 was my favorite, but I think this one surpassed it. It is astonishing to me that the show gets better and better. We continue to see deeper facets of characters we are familiar with, and we get a group of new ones that become vividly etched in our consciousness very quickly. Pat Moran Casting in Baltimore deserves an award for consistently finding strong actors for the show, including for this season, a good-sized group of early teens and younger.
"The Wire" IS the great American novel that so many have talked about writing "some day". David Simon and his fellow scribes were driven to paint a realistic gritty portrait about life in a contemporary American industrial city and we have all reaped the rewards.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
The fourth and penultimate season of The Wire sees the show moving into new territory. At the end of Season 3 the Barksdale organisation was finally destroyed for good, McNulty found himself some happiness and Daniels got a promotion. The goals set out in Season 1 had been achieved. So, where next for the Major Crimes Unit and the players of the game?
Season 4 follows several storylines in tandem. The MCU is now chasing down Marlo Stanfield, whose organisation has picked up from where Barksdale left off and now rules over most of the western district of Baltimore. However, their rise to power has apparently been accomplished with virtually no deaths, bemusing Lester Freamon. With the wiretaps also coming up empty, Freamon's attempts to follow the money trail attract the ire of his superiors and pretty soon the MCU is all but shut down and Freamon and Kima end up working in Homicide instead. Elsewhere, McNulty is enjoying the (relatively) easy life as a beat cop, Daniels is heading up his own force and Carver is maturing as an officer, with only Herc apparently resisting any change, at least until he catches the Mayor's eye (in a rather interesting manner) and finds his star rising as a result. But overall the police side of things, at least to start off with, seems pretty quiet.
On the streets Marlo's rise to power has been achieved with the help of his two enforcers, the terrifyingly cold-blooded and ruthless Chris and Snoop, who have come up with a brilliant scheme to hide the resulting bodies from the police. Proposition Joe, who has inherited most of the surviving Barksdale crew, is continuing his efforts to entice Marlo into the cooperative to little avail, so he hatches a scheme to get Marlo on his side by setting up a war between him and the indefatigable Omar. Unfortunately, this leads to a pretty bloody and complicated state of affairs for all concerned.
Elsewhere, Tommy Carcetti is running for the position of mayor, but the race is a difficult three-way contest between him, the incumbent Royce and fellow councilman Tony Gray. Unfortunately, no sooner is the winner in office then they are delivered two massive problems: how to handle the proven incompetence of police commissioner Burrell when they cannot fire him for political reasons, and the discovery that they have a jaw-dropping $54 million budget deficit due to overspending in the schools.
At the same time, Prez, the former MCU member fired from the force in Season 3 after accidentally killing another officer, has started a new life as a maths teacher. His class is noisy, uncooperative, disrespectful and sometimes shockingly violent (one student slashes another's face open with a razor in his first week). However, the primary narrative for Season 4 focuses on four of the students in Prez's class - Randy, Dukie, Namond and Michael. These are all new characters, although with some ties to existing ones: Namond is the son of former Barksdale enforcer Wee-Bey and Michael is a member of Cutty's gym.
The scaling back of the other characters in favour of following these four youngsters around may seem like an odd move, but it pays off brilliantly. Having tackled the police, criminals, politicians, and dockworkers, Season 4 is about teachers, students and the role of education in shaping the lives of the young. Early in the season a divide is identified between those kids who could make something for themselves and the corner kids who don't want to do anything other than stand on the streets and sell drugs to make money, and where the four main characters fall on that divide and how they swap sides and change over the course of the season is fascinating to watch. At first glance Michael seems to be the most positive and promising of the four, but his interest in sports and growing cooperation in class hides a bitter and painful home life that soon leads him into Marlo's circle, whilst happy-go-lucky Randy makes a series of mistakes that prove costly. In fact it's Namond, who is selling drugs from the start and being schooled for a life of crime by his father from behind bars, who undergoes the most interesting and seismic shifts in character, all depicted through the brilliant-as-usual writing and some fine performances from the young actors involved.
Andre Royo as Bubs also has to be singled out for mention, as Bubs hits rock-bottom in this season and Royo's depiction of a man whose already crappy life disintegrates completely is absolutely stunning. At the same time, Dominic West's low availability for the season means that McNulty doesn't appear very much, meaning more screen time for Freamon (Clarke Peters) and Bunk (Wendell Pierce), which is a very welcome move. McNulty does return to prominence in the last two episodes, which set up the direction of the final season pretty well.
The Wire: Season 4 (*****) is as superbly-written, brilliantly funny, expertly-acted and stomach-churningly tragic as ever, except possibly even moreso than the first three seasons. If there is a negative point, it's that Season 4 is the most epic and sprawling season to date, and it takes a while for all the disparate storylines to start pulling together. But when they do, the result is the most powerful and gripping final run of episodes yet.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Final Chapters of Excellence,
For the few people with open minds and good taste that have discovered "The Wire", I'm not going to continue to extoll it's virtues and throw out the "best show ever" line, as everyone who has had the chance to view any season in it's entirety already knows it truly is that. This program has ruined me for network television, and has made me a true believer in HBO(hopefully they will continue to hit their water marks).
All other crime dramas(law and order, CSI, etc.) seem postured, synthetic, and laughable. No other program I've seen can or has illustrated the sociological turmoil and the despair within gut-wrenching drama, storytelling and brilliant dialogue like this. But like all good things, this too must come to pass. David Simon and co. have steadfast plans to end the saga after five seasons. The fifth season I believe will start in Jan. 2008.
No matter how good the show is, no matter how many people it has touched, no matter how much money HBO gives them for another season, it will not continue. At first I was deeply saddened, but at least the show will go out on it's highest note, and will remain totally flawless(the fifth season is going to be the best, and most hard-hitting).
For the last five to six years "The Wire" has been the best kept secret in broadcasting. Like everything that is truly good in todays culture, it is criminally ignored except for the few people who have the patience to sift through the detritis that is modern-day tv.
History of course, always reveals qualty to the masses, and I feel that it is an impossibility that this secret will forever remain a secret. Years down the road, it will become a fixture in it's field; an icon of quality. I like the fact that "The Wire" has spread by almost total word of mouth through intelligent circles; That it has remained pure and un-exploited; that it hasn't become a fixture in pop-culture; that ignorant people ignore it to watch the meaningless, propagandized, consumer-driven schlock that is mainstream television; that it hasn't been reduced to an edited and "Family-friendly" form to be horribly misread; that the privelaged few who have seen any season of it recognize quality and perfection.
But "The Wire" has achieved more than perfection, as the first season was definitely that. Every season just gets better and better, and how do you surpass the status of perfection? What on earth do you call it? That's easy. You call it "The Wire"
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best show on television,
The fourth season of 'the wire' sets a new standard for literature. This isn't just the best show on television, it's right up there with the top titles in drama of all time. You either have to know inner city life intimately or you have to know your literature; for those in the latter category it might take all four seasons to fill you in on the venacular, but like shakespeare, once you fill it, you will be forever affected. If you are in the former category, you'll know how close this show gets to reality. For those in both categories: you must watch this show.
Time and again HBO surprises with making even better shows but for now, this is the best. Us European taxpayers pay our state sponsored television organisations billions to produce this kind of television, but we never even remotely get this quality. For what I'm concerned I'd rather spend that money buying these kinds of HBO shows.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all that... and more,
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I just finished watching the last episode of Season 4 of the HBO drama "The Wire". And I can say without any hesitation, the Wire is groundbreaking, one of the finest television series to ever hit the airwaves. Gritty, realistic, with a heart and soul for it's characters that's wide and awesome. I'm literally in shock over what I was able to watch over the last few nights.
Oddly, I hadn't watched any of the episode leading up to this season. My initial interest in the show was for the "school" focus it had; and the realities of education today. I've been attuned to watching other shows that featured schools, and have become very cynical about them in the past. In most shows, the kids are clean, well dressed, well fed, and sit primly at their desks, in a classroom of 12 twelves, offering witty retorts to the teacher. It's enough to make anyone who's spent time in American classrooms of today hurl. The Wire offers no such premise, but an insightful wisdom that has never been shown on television before.
One storyline in this season of the Wire, for there are many, involve four neighborhood boys, Randy, Dukie, Michael, and Namond, who are just entering the eighth grade. They've formed a tight bond, each one offering something to their group, each one a potential victim in the drug world of Baltimore. As the season plays along, each finds themselves in situations where their decision making ability is put to the test, and it's their decisions at crucial times that drive the honest of their stories. The four actors that play this quartet simply steal the show with their realism, senses of rage, injustice, and eventually, despair.
I could go on and on about the school aspect of this show. They got so much right, the lack of classroom supplies, the overcrowded, disenfranchised students, the sole stress on high stakes testing at the expense of meaningful learning, the teachers -- some visionary and bold, some sell outs. It's the school, the new teacher, Mr. Prez, and how he gives his heart to these kids that offer the true heart of this season's narratives.
Aside from the school, the series also soars with it's continuing drug lord stories that are so incredibly and horrifically played out. Chased by a brave band of police folk, their interplays with the thriving Baltimore drug scene show the complexity of this issue, much beyond "Just saying no". Police politics, and an upcoming mayoral election, prove devastating for "the Wire", as the department is gutted and it's staff sent elsewhere. Everyone, and I mean, EVERYONE turns in such an amazing performance, you would have thought that they were born to play these roles.
My head is spinning. I'm now going to start back at season one, and see how this show began, to inform my honored season 4. And I just can't wait.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the best season of any television show ever.,
I assume if you're reading this review you own, or at least have seen, seasons 1 through 3 of the critically acclaimed program The Wire. If not what are you doing; go out and buy or rent or try to borrow from someone the previous seasons, and start from Season 1. Do not, I repeat do not, skip a single episode much less a season. That might be fine for some TV shows, but not The Wire. The Wire unfolds like a great novel, building on itself piece by piece, and with a scope beyond anything done in television beforehand. It's a show that requires dedication, and with that dedication you will absorb some of the most satisfying experiences you have ever felt from a TV show.
For those that have seen seasons 1 through 3, rest assured that Season 4 isn't only on par with those first three season; in my opinion it suprasses them. Every Wire season ads a new layer to the Baltimore culture, and this season it's the school. For me, as someone who went to inner city schools though not in Baltimore, it was aghast how much I could relate my experiences to those of the kids on the show. There are four major characters--Michael, Namond, Randy, and Dukie--and all are performed by the young actors very well.
I'm not going to give much away. The first episode, like the first episode of the other seasons, purposely frustrates the viewer with many new characters brand new plotlines not always clear, and it's hard to make total sense of it even by the third episode. The more the season progresses the more you appreciate that they did confuse you in the beginning because there always is a payoff. This is the first season that doesn't rely much on the Barksdale crew, but it picks up at the street very well, as it does with the Law, and at the Hall. Along with the School all four aspects of the Wire connect in a way so seamless you're amazed television is capable of something so grand.
Special features include six Audio commentaries, and two nice documentaries on the show. One of the commentaries includes all four actors playing the kids I mentioned above, along with the actor who plays Prop Joe, and it's one of the more memorable commentaries I have seen.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Show on Television,
The fourth season of The Wire can easily hold its own against the first and third seasons. I thought it was very good and was hooked on it since the first episode, I can not wait until it is released on dvd.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TV does not get any better on either side of the Atlantic,
The Wire started off as the best and most inteligent cop show on TV. It has now moved on and is simply the bravest and best series ever to come out of America, or Britain for that matter. The is still a lot of cops and drug dealer stuff, but that plot line has to share time with the infighting at City Hall, the Baltimore Police Department and the failures of the Baltimore school system. Without giving to much away, if the local politicians, the police and the schools were as efficient as the drug buisness, then Baltimore would be a much better place to live. While the bosses at the Police Department are fighting amougst themshelves and trying to hide rather than fight crime, the drug dealers have set up a Co-Op to organise the trade in narcotics.
However the main story line concerns four teenagers and their struggle to get something from school and stay out the corner drug trade. The good teachers, including 'Prez' who has left the police, are ground down by the system which presumes that the kids will fail.
The new drug kingpin is Marlo from series 3 a cold businessman whose ruthlessness makes Avon Barkesdale look like your ideal neighbour. One draw back is that because of the various plot lines and the many more characters, all of whom are in true Wire style are given time to develop, you may see to little of your favourite characters from the first three series. In my case this was true with to little being seen of Lester and Kima. Glad to say however that Omar is still plying his deadly and strangely honourable trade.
This is the only show I have seen which portrays working class and underclass America in such detail. It may seem hopeless but you do see people, mainly women, maintaining a decent life under the most extreme circumstances. Others like Cutty turn their back on crime and try to help the neighbourhood kids. In this series even Wee Bay, a ruthless hitman is shown to have a decent side when it comes to keeping his son out of 'The Game'
As in the previous three series there is not a weak performance.This series however the prize must go to Andre Royo as Bubbles who may be a drug addict but is also possably the best man in the series. It will break your heart to what happens to him and Royo's acting is a good as you will ever see.
The bonus features give a lot of interesting information including that a lot of the story and the characters are based on reality. There was for instance a real Baltimore Homicide cop called Bunk.
If you are already a fan you will not need any urging to watch the series.
If you have never watched it go out and buy the first three series because once you have watched the first you will want to see the rest.
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