Mary M. Dalton
nd, so, our semester spent immersing
ourselves in The Wire draws to an end with a
collection of student essays on themes and
characters we encountered in the series. This volume
begins with a dedication to Jon Kolnoski, my former
student who insisted (rightly) that I watch Season Four
as I was beginning work on the final chapter of Teacher
TV: Sixty Years of Teachers on Television, a book I
co-authored with Laura R. Linder. After tumbling into
the season and then the series from Season One
head-first, I never looked back and have joined the
ranks of those declaring it episode-for-episode and
season-for-season the best television series ever
because of its ability to embed compelling personal
narratives inside incisive critiques of cultural
institutions and systems.
The enduring relevancy of the series cannot be
contested. Not long ago, my students were thrilled to
see a video of President Obama talking drug policy with
David Simon. As I write this conclusion, Martin
O’Malley is making noises about running for President,
and protesters in Baltimore are getting restless about
the lack of answers in Freddie Gray’s death. Seeing
images related to that story has been sobering for us
and strangely personal. As one student said in class,
“I don’t think I would have paid as much attention to
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