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The Wire: Complete HBO Season 2 
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From David Simon, creator and co-writer of HBO's triple Emmy-winning mini-series 'The Corner', this unvarnished, highly realistic HBO series follows a single sprawling drug and murder investigation in Baltimore. Told from the point of view of both the police and their targets, the series captures a universe of subterfuge and surveillance, where easy distinctions between good and evil, and crime and punishment, are challenged at every turn. In this season, McNulty (Dominic West) has been demoted to harbour patrol, Daniels (Lance Reddick) is in the police archive dungeon, Prez (Jim True-Frost) is chafing in the suburbs and Greggs (Sonja Sohn) is stuck behind a desk. Meanwhile, on the docks of the Baltimore harbour, the rank and file scrounge for work and the union bosses take illegitimate measures to reinvigorate business, but a horrific discovery is about to blow the whole port inside out. While the detail is on ice, a new case begins. Episodes comprise: 'Ebb Tide', 'Collateral Damage', 'Hot Shots', 'Hard Cases', 'Undertow', 'All Prologue', 'Backwash', 'Duck and Cover', 'Stray Rounds', 'Storm Warnings', 'Bad Dreams' and 'Port in a Storm'.
Picking up after the dramatic events of its maiden season, the second series of The Wire achieves something really rather special: it even manages to outclass the first.
For those fresh to the show, surely the best, most intelligent piece of scripted drama to emerge from America in the last decade, the actual premise is fairly simple. Across the thirteen episodes of its season, it charts one case, and the numerous influences upon it. So it devotes roughly equal time to those committing the crimes as it does to those chasing them.
This time, the Baltimore Police Department have twin worries. Theres the continuing, festering narrative of events from the season before, along with a new problem when a container of dead bodies turns up at the nearby docks. After initial battles over whose statistics the bodies will be attributed to, a fresh case begins for the embattled officers of the Major Crimes Unit.
Yet season two is about much more than the case itself. Bubbling under the surface are characters with real problems, that take their toll on the day-to-day, while at the docks themselves there are union struggles underway, which also have a part to play. Thanks to, frankly, superb scripting, these various narrative threads are woven together quite brilliantly, and the result is perhaps the finest series of The Wire to date. And thats no small feat.
If youre one of the many who have let The Wire fly under their radar thus far, then youre urged to rectify that. Clearly season one is the logical starting point, but begin your adventure in the knowledge that this second series is simple exceptional. For the rest of the US television industry, this is the standard to aim for. --Simon BrewSee all Product description
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As always, the line between good and bad is all over the place, you will likely change your mind several times over who you are rooting for and what you want to happen. The story develops in its usual impeccably unrushed pacing, while still managing to be frequently thrilling and always compelling. Not One Bad Scene.(One scene in the second half is particularly incredible in its understated and minimalist portrayal of a dramatic event, but I shan't ruin it).
To be honest it is worth buying just to see Bunk wearing jogging kit, and for the personal lives of the characters, never mind the deeply satisfying depiction of task force surveillance.
If you bought season 1, you will obviously be adding this, don't hesitate- but also resist watching them all in a couple of days- stretch out the drama, 3 episodes a week, I recommend, make it last- it deserves it.
Hand on heart the best thing I have watched. Ever. (I will soon buy season 3, like to space them out, anticipation is part of pleasure.)
At the end of Season 1, Lt. Daniels' unit successfully cracked the Barksdale case, but political infighting between different police departments saw arrests made prematurely. Whilst Avon and D'Angelo were sent down, the evidence against Avon was flimsy and his time inside was limited, whilst back on the street the formidable Stringer Bell has been put in charge. Meanwhile, Daniels has been booted down to work in the evidence lock-up and McNulty has been sent over to the harbour patrol, to his extreme annoyance, whilst Freamon and Bunt are working in homicide. When McNulty fishes a body out of the harbour and port authority police officer Beadie Russell uncovers thirteen corpses in a freight container, the police's attention is turned to the harbour. This garners the interest of Commander Valchek, who is anxious to bring down the head of the stevedores' union, Frank Sobotka, after his union raises more cash for the local church's new stained-glass windows than Valchek's.
Season 2 of The Wire sprawls slightly more than the first season, a result of the story having to incorporate a large number of new characters and locations whilst at the same time keeping tabs on the characters from Season 1. The project gangs, Stringer Bell, Omar and so forth are firmly on the back-burner for the season, with their story forming a subplot that clears up some loose ends from the first season and sets up the events of Season 3, where they return to prominence. Whilst characters such as Omar and Bubs get limited screen time as a result compared to the first year, at least they don't vanish altogether. Luckily, the new characters are a good match for the originals. Union politics and the gradual loss of American industry and hands-on labour are covered in a fascinating manner. Frank Sobotka (played by Chris Bauer) is the character whom the season's themes centre on, showing how an essentially decent man who values loyalty and fair play is gradually morally eroded, ground down by the city institutions and effectively destroyed, whilst the start of the same process is shown happening to his nephew Nicky (Pablo Schreiber). On the law-enforcement side, Amy Ryan makes a good impression as Beadie Russell, the working beat officer who is pulled into the detective unit formed to investigate the port situation and finds herself out of her depth, until she steps up. On the street side of things, the fascinating character of Brother Mouzone (Michael Potts) is introduced very late in the season, as more pieces are set up for the third year.
The Wire remains dramatically intense, with several deaths (one in particular) and shocking plot developments meaning you don't know who is safe, or who can be trusted. The show's black sense of humour is retained (the entire investigation starts due to a personal feud between Valchek and Sobotka over whose union gives more money to their local church), the fascinating investigative tactics used by the police are expanded upon and the increasingly bleak portrayal of the modern American city is balanced by a few decent characters and moments of hope.
The Wire: Season 2 (*****) takes slightly longer to get going than Season 1, but remains gripping, intelligent and adult television and the climax is much harsher.
How wrong I was. Bravely shifting the focus from the streets where the drugs are sold to the docks where they arrive in Baltimore, the plot is even more complex and satisfying than that of series 1, with more characters to take on board and understand and even broader in scope, inter-twining the lives of the dock workers, police, drug dealers and the politics of prison life.
Without saying any more and without giving anything away, this is just as good as series 1, possibly even better.
This is genuinely the best TV I have ever seen, and having already watched series 1 twice after buying it 2 months ago, I know that I will be re-visiting this programme for many years to come.
Worth every penny - buy it.
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