The Wire's creator explains that the series -- routinely, if tiresomely, called the greatest TV series ever made -- is actually a journalistic endeavour. David Simon, who also wrote Homicide: life on the street, learnt first hand about corrupt politicians, flawed detectives and all kinds of criminals while working as a reporter on the Baltimore Sun.


here is the passage where it says, "there may be Londoners or Mancunians whose knowledge of west Baltimore drugs slang exceeds that of dealers in Philadelphia or New York."

It is astonishing that because of a programme like this, the knowledge of a drugs culture in Baltimore has become more widespread amongst "middle-class Britons" than possibly those who actually live there themselves.

Is this type of drama programme the future for uncovering and investigating corruption all over the world? And will viewers sacrifice watching TV news for instead delving into fictional/non-fictional mixtures of accounts like this on TV? Perhaps the latter question is over the top, but it is interesting that David Simon's programme has caused such "compelling" characters and possibly shown an overly-pessimistic view of being unable to hold power to account and overhaul allegedly corrupt ventures.

A good read and I'm sure a good watch, as although I've heard of the programme I have yet to watch it...but I think I will from now on. 

I am sure David Simon learned a lot from his time on the Baltimore Sun. Among other journalists turned fiction writers Martin Amis learned from his time on the New Statesman as did Robert Harris from his time on the Sunday Times. Gavin Esler continues to learn from his experience on Newsnight. But the observable evidence that good journalists sometimes acquire excellent raw material with which to create fiction does not make the fiction they create journalism. Reporting is an evidence based activity and it will live and die as such. To start confusing fact and fiction is to wander into the grim, mumbo jumbo of post-modernism - the meta-narrative that denies the value of all other meta-narratives in an effort to assert its own primacy. On this basis i think David Simon is mistaken to describe The Wire as a journalistic endeavour. It is excellent, but it isn't reporting any more than For Whom the Bell Tolls is an accurate history of the Spanish Civil war. Ah yes, Hemingway, the examples abound.       

Arrogant? Moi?