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Wendell Pierce: The Wire is a "precursor" to police brutality controversy: "An indicator, a warning light, of the implosion we are feeling today"

  • Responding to a Hollywood Reporter TV critics' debate on TV police portrayals that said The Wire cops had "heroic gloss" amid "darker streaks," Pierce tweeted in defense and praise of the David Simon HBO crime drama. "How can anyone watch The Wire and the dysfunction of the police & the war on drugs and say that we were depicted as heroic," he tweeted. "We demonstrated moral ambiguities and the pathology that leads to the abuses. Maybe you were reacting to how good people can be corrupted to do bad things. If The Wire did anything right, it depicted the humanity of the Black lives so easily profiled by police and the destruction of them by the so-called war on drugs;a deliberate policy of mass incarceration to sustain a wealth disparity in America that thrives keeping an underclass. The Wire, if anything, was the canary-in-the-mine that forecasts the institutional moral morass of politics and policing that lead us to the protests of today. The bigger the lie, the more they believe” was a line of mine that is so salient and profound in today’s climate. The Wire is a deep dive study of the contributing variables that feed the violence in our culture: in the streets and at the hand of police. Classism, racism, destruction of public education, and moral ambiguity in our leadership all feed this paradigm of American decline. I know I sound defensive and I probably am, The Wire is personal for me. The Wire is also Art. The role of Art is to ignite the public discourse. Art is where we come together as a community to confront who we are as a society, decide what our values are, and then act on them. The critique here is that television seems to follow behind the current events of the day. I would ask that you consider that maybe The Wire was a precursor to the discussion that is mandatory now. It was an indicator, a warning light, of the implosion we are feeling today."

    TOPICS: The Wire, HBO, David Simon, George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, Retro TV