Monday, April 13, 2009

Complex characters in The Wire

I’ve only gotten to 5 episodes of The Wire so far, but so far it’s been pretty impressive. Though I’m not a fan of realistic violence on television, I like that the show in general isn’t cheesy like other police/crime investigation shows.

What really stuck out to me was the complexity of the characters. The good guys have some bad in them, and the bad guys have some good in them. It really relates to the theme we observed in Blue Velvet, in which we learned that people aren’t simply evil or good—generally, they have a little bit of both and which one is more dominant is up to the individual. Most of The Wire’s characters seem to fall into this category.

Take D’Angelo for example: He just got off for shooting someone, and he is a big time drug dealer. However, when he is told that the witness who testified against him in trial was killed and three children were now orphaned, he becomes emotion and begins to write a letter of apology. Though he is a criminal, he isn’t heartless.

Similarly, Avon Barksdale has a strong sense of loyalty to his family, despite being the boss of a major drug dealing organization. He continuously says that family is the most important thing because in the end, blood will always be there. You would think that criminals would be fickle about their loyalty and only care about what was going to benefit them the most, yet it seems that the worst criminal in this show has the most loyalty out of all.

On the other spectrum, the detectives aren’t without their dark sides. I forgot his name, but in one of the first episodes a detective hits a teenager who is leaning on his car, for no apparent reason other than to show is power. The kid goes blind in one eye, but the detective doesn’t get punished. In fact, Daniels tries to give him cover up stories to use. Perhaps no good would come out of broadcasting that the police, the protectors of society, screwed up. However, it’s still evidence of evil/corruption within an individual who is supposed to be a role model to society.
As I continue to watch the remaining 8 episodes, I’m sure I’ll see more evidence of the unexpected presence of good and evil in characters. I’m excited to see how it all turns out.

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