The Wire

Season 1 Episode 1

The Target

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jun 02, 2002 on HBO

Episode Fan Reviews (18)

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out of 10
336 votes
  • A slow burning start with real characters.

    The first episode of 'The Wire' is not an easy one to get into. The show is intensively character driven and very relaxed in pacing so on first watching it can make you feel like "what's the fuss about this show?" In fact I almost put down the series after watching this episode because I felt little had happened, but a recommendation from a friend made me carry on watching. I am glad I did.

    On rewatching the sheer brilliance of the episode is clear from the start. It can seem hard to get into because it's so very different from other shows out there. McNulty's passing interest in D'Angelo Barksdale's trial becomes the spark that starts smoldering. While it isn't until later episodes that things really catch fire, it's this episode that starts the ball rolling.

    What is clear from the outset is the shows dedication to portraying realistic, flawed and understandable characters. From McNulty's sheer disrespect of authority, his partner "Bunk" Moreland's wry observations and humour to Bodie's street smart attitude there is an incredible attention to realism in personality. Combined with this is something that's truely special in any show, it treats you as an intelligent human being who can understand events, drives, goals and actions without having them explained. So many shows feel the need to help the viewer 'understand' what happens, but right from the get-go 'The Wire' says to you "You're smart enough to understand yourself." This is refreshing, but also can make it harder to access for viewers who prefer less cerebral entertainment.

    When you've finished watching this first episode it is best to reserve judgement, consider it to be the match that lit the fuse. Enjoy the characters, dialog and story. However much you enjoyed the first episode, you will enjoy later ones to an even greater degree. It just keeps getting better as the season progresses.
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