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The Wire: Season 5 (2008)

Dominic West , Clark Johnson  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dominic West, Clark Johnson, Aidan Gillen, Clarke Peters, Wendell Pierce
  • Format: Box set, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: August 12, 2008
  • Run Time: 630 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00123BY6S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,254 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Wire: Season 5" on IMDb

Special Features

The Wire: The Last Word: A documentary exploring the role of the media
The Wire Odyssey: A retrospective of the first four seasons
Six audio commentaries by creator David Simon, cast, and crew

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

A barroom toast to Det. Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West), a one-man good cop/bad cop, offered in The Wire's final episode could very well serve as this series' epitaph: "When you were good, you were the best we had." Season five bears witness to this. The 10 riveting, wrenching episodes focus on yet another beleaguered Baltimore institution, The Baltimore Sun daily newspaper, whose staff, much like the police, is forced to do more with less. One editor (Clark Johnson) struggles to maintain the paper's journalistic standards in the face of declining ad revenues, employee buyouts and bureau closures. An ambitious reporter (Tom McCarthy) undermines him by taking a page out of the Stephen Glass/Jayson Blair playbook, manufacturing sensational quotes, and eventually, whole stories, while bean-counter management encourages its rising star and keeps its eye on the (Pulitzer) prize. Meanwhile, on the streets, the year-long investigation of rising drug lord Marlo Sansfield (Jamie Hector) and the 22 bodies found in "the vacants" has been discontinued and police morale is at an all-time low (the money promised to the department has been diverted to the schools). McNulty manufactures a serial killer case that will have far-reaching repercussions in the mayor's office, where Tommy Carcetti (Aidan Gillen) is mounting a run for governor a mere two years into his term. "I wonder what it would be like to work at a real police station," McNulty rages at one point. The Wire, as ever, is all about real. It's a gritty and unflinching look at life in one of roughest districts of a "broke-ass city." There is street justice for some characters, and street injustice for others. Some meet sad, sudden, or shocking ends that defy TV convention. Referring to Marlo, McNulty declares early on, "He does not get to win; we get to win." The hard-earned victories are mostly small, or come with a price. Not that The Wire does not offer glimmers of hope. Bubbles (Andre Royo) struggles to maintain his sobriety (Steve Earle portrays the leader of his 12-step program and also does the theme song honors this season), and the final episode features a cameo by Jim True-Frost as the once overwhelmed teacher, "Prez," who now seems to have the hang of the job. The ratings-strapped and criminally Emmy-snubbed The Wire has always been a critic's darling with a passionate fan base. To the show's credit, it did not make itself more accessible in its final season (consequently, its send-off did not receive near the fanfare of The Sopranos or Sex and the City). That should not dissuade newcomers to the show. It is heavy lifting, and if you're just joining The Wire, a visit to the show's official website for orientation is recommended. But buy it, watch it, and be patient. It's so worth it. From the masterful storytelling to the peerless ensemble, it just doesn't get any better than The Wire. But that's not exactly news. --Donald Liebenson

Product Description

In the projects. On the docks. In City Hall. In the schools. And now, in the media. The places and faces have changed, but the game remains the same. Times are tough for the detail. Mayor Carcetti has slashed the departments budget to the bone. Police are operating without overtime some without cars and radios. Angered, McNulty is off the rails again and headed down a dangerous path of deception and lies that will ally him with an unscrupulous reporter. The drug trade still rules the corners, all you have to do is read between the lines.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary
Featurette


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
89 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The bigger the lie, the more they believe" April 6, 2008
Format:DVD
That quote by Bunk (Wendell Pierce) in the opening episode of the final season of David Simon's brilliant The Wire sets the stage for the events that unfold in these final ten episodes of the beloved HBO series.

Picking up from the fourth season, Mayor Carcetti (Aidan Gillen) is pouring money into the Baltimore school system, which prompts the police force to work without paid overtime, and also finds the ever self-destructive Jimmy McNulty's (Dominic West) wiretap on murderous drug dealer Marlo Stanfield (Jamie Hector) put to a premature end. Things begin to change however, when McNulty, along with Freamon's (Clarke Peters) help, manipulate and orchestrate an imaginary, homeless preying, serial killer that garners national attention, all in an effort to put Marlo away once and for all.

Also, much like the previous season focused on the broken education system, the fifth season focuses on the impact of the media in the form of the Baltimore Sun; as editor Gus Haynes (longtime series director Clark Johnson) deals with the downsizing of his staff, and the rise of a reporter (Thomas McCarthy) who may be making up his stories. In the meantime (proving that The Wire is indeed the most multilayered television drama ever created), other subplots abound, including a revenge driven Omar (Michael K. Williams) returning with Marlo in his sights; young Michael (Tristan Wilds) and Dukie (Jermaine Crawford) learn just how dire their situation is; Bubbles (Andre Royo) finds light at the end of the tunnel; and Daniels (Lance Reddick) prepares to take on the role of Commissioner.
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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
I'll begin this review as a review of the series, then move on to Season 5 in particular:

I have long thought that some of the best stuff on TV can be found among HBO's Original Series. I'm a big fan of some of HBO's better known dramas including Rome and The Sopranos, as well as of some lighter fare such as The Ali G Show and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Strangely, I'd barely even heard of The Wire until about a year ago, when a friend of mine (who generally has very good taste) was raving about it. At his suggestion, I purchased Season One on DVD. I was hooked about half way into the series, and I eagerly devoured Seasons 1-4 on DVD just in time to catch Season 5 as it aired on HBO. I can't pay this series high enough praise - to me, it transcends the TV medium, and rather than compare it to other TV series, I'd rank it up there as one of the greatest stories ever told (or rather the greatest stories I've had the good fortune of reading, hearing, or viewing). Many reviews rave about The Wire as an excellent TV Series, though in my opinion this excellent work would more appropriately be compared to an epic novel than to anything on the small screen.

The Wire has rightfully been praised for, among other things, 1) it's realism and 2) it's excellent character development, but what really sets The Wire apart is its tackling of complex, timeless themes such as poverty, suffering, lawlessness, and the underlying forces (such as beuracracy, corruption, and greed) that lead to the ultimate failure of the system to correct these issues. The Wire takes a close, and very critical view of how our political, educational, media, and law enforcement institutions fail to eliminate the poverty and drug problems that plague Baltimore.
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Better Or Worse "It's All Connected" April 3, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
***EDIT NOTE (August 7th, 2008)***
I have learned from IGN that by the end of this year - early 2009 at the latest - all 5 seasons of THE WIRE will be released in a box set. I will write a review once Amazon puts up an item for purchase.

If you want to go in fresh, then I suggest not reading any Season Five reviews. But if you've already started, then read on. I've done everything possible to avoid spoilers, yet critique from my own point of view.

***ORIGINAL REVIEW***
Typing reviews on TV seasons can be problematic. If you're a newcomer to the series who just wants to know whether THE WIRE held up through all 60 episodes, the short answer is a resounding "Yes!" This series took big chances with each season, and each episode was carefully constructed and executed. They don't call this show a "visual novel" for nothing. THE WIRE is easily the most realistic TV series ever produced, and mastered the art of slow build-up.

But for those who missed out on Season Five, I'll keep this as spoiler-free as possible. If you're looking for a debate, go to IMDB --- you'll find plenty to fight about.

Trying to discuss plot threads and outlines of this Season would take an entire website, so let's split this up into the key players:

THE POLICE
---Season Five lets the Major Case Squad return to its roots as they track Marlo Stanfield, but the twist is that the entire police force is underpaid with morale at an all-time low. Whatever happened to Baltimore's economy since last year has crippled the cops from doing good policework, let alone keep the stats at an acceptable level. The few individuals who're motivated to work the cases, however, choose a shockingly unethcial approach.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars good movie
The wire was a good undercover, drug enforcement, series, with a lot of interesting characters. A reas street action show.
Published 4 days ago by Brian P. Enclade
5.0 out of 5 stars More with Less
The Wire is just some of the best television I have ever seen. Omar, Bubbles, Bunk, Michael... People who are not the focus of every episode and yet make lasting impressions. Read more
Published 4 days ago by JLD
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wire
This is the best series that has been made. The drug trade is real and the Baltimore City Public Schools are difficult to teach in. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Jack Henry
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best series on HBO
An excellent presentation for the whole series. Very well done script and in a reality setting. Was a pleasure to watch.
Published 1 month ago by Archie Ponder
5.0 out of 5 stars The best TV series so far ...
I consider The Wire to be the best TV series I have seen. That is why I bought them, even though I'd seen them before. Just wanted to own them and keep them close.
Published 1 month ago by Valdimar Jrgensen
5.0 out of 5 stars Love The Wire
I had to go back and pick up the greatest show on TV. I have the fourth season but now I will have to find the rest 1,2 & 3!
Published 1 month ago by Eldred Foster
5.0 out of 5 stars Realistic Episodes
Life is difficult in Baltimore intercity and very realistic in the neighborhoods depicted. Episodes contain much nudity and sexual behaviors that relate to the era and places they... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Marilyn A. Goldsmith
4.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST ACTION SERIES I've ever seen
One of the best series of all time. I really enjoyed this season, as I do all of sthe seasons in this series
Published 1 month ago by Karl Boone
5.0 out of 5 stars THE WIRE IS THE BEST
Perfectly acted. Brilliant script. We would watch this show repeatedly - if only we hadn't bought this as a gift for someone else. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mark W Campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars Great series.
Awesome series. Each season confronts different issues faced by a large city. Really looks at politics, education, etc not just the drug culture.
Published 1 month ago by Rachel Lewis
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Favorite Season of the Wire?
Man oh man, I too loved all 5 seasons, but the 4th just left me stunned. Broke my heart. To see how the youth became victims, to see their innocence and hopes dashed. Rarely do we get to see stories of how school systems and education participate in, and are impacted by, the life of a city, as... Read more
Dec 28, 2009 by V. Hendricks |  See all 4 posts
The Wire, Season Five
The box does have the CC symbol on the back, but I have not tried it out myself.
Aug 26, 2008 by M. Smith |  See all 4 posts
What next?
You should check out "The Shield"
Sep 22, 2008 by David B. Stakston |  See all 3 posts
language besides english?
I would also like to know if there is anothr language besides english? Is there French?
Aug 24, 2013 by Michael Morin |  See all 2 posts
English subtitles? Be the first to reply
Spanish subtitles Be the first to reply
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