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Podcast Review: The Wire at 20

The Wire at 20 is a podcast that celebrates the iconic HBO show The WireThe host is Method Man, who played “Cheese” on the show. Method Man interviews the show creators and actors. The latest episode is a tribute to Michael Kenneth Williams, who played Omar on the show. Fans of the The Wire will love hearing details about the production and background information about the actors who played their favorite characters in the series. Even those who have not seen the show will enjoy the conversations between Method Man and his interesting guests.   

The podcast begins with an interview with David Simon and Ed Burns, who are the creators of The Wire. Before working on the show, Simon worked as a police beat reporter with The Baltimore Sun and wrote two books about his experiences in Baltimore. Burns was a police officer who patrolled the Western District of Baltimore. With support from the DA, he helped bring down a major drug network in the city. The character James McNulty in the show is loosely based on Burns’ experiences as a police officer. Simon and Burns infamously had heated debates when writing episodes of the show. The discussions with Simon, Burns, and others who worked on the show are incredibly interesting. You can see where the personal experiences of the creators appear in the show.    

The following episode is an interview with Hassan Johnson, who played “Wee-Bey.” Interestingly, Johnson and Method Man share Staten Island roots. They joke about Method Man seeing Johnson playing with Hot Wheels when they were younger. They separated as they were beginning their careers but reconnected since working on The Wire. Even their daughters are best friends. It is enlightening to hear the complexities of the character of Wee-Bey. Though he is a gangster, he seeks a different path for his son and has an affection for the fish that he keeps in a personal aquarium.  The conversation between Method Man and Johnson is casual and enjoyable.

A recent episode is a remembrance of Michael Kenneth Williams who played Omar on the show. Actors and those who worked on the show share their memories and appreciation of Williams. Williams began his career as a background dancer before becoming a successful actor. Jermaine Crawford (Duquan Weems) recalls being initially intimidated by Williams. This changed when they danced together at a party. Wendell Pierce (Bunk) talks about Williams being a loving and kind person. He describes acting in a scene with Williams as his favorite part of the show.  Andre Royo (Bubbles) describes how Williams embraced life, and how much energy he brought to the set. All those interviewed pay a touching tribute to Michael K. Williams.

The Wire at 20 is the perfect companion to the show. Method Man is a great host and conducts insightful interviews with creators of The Wire and actors who were on the show. Fans of the show will enjoy hearing the creative process that made it successful and how Burns and Simon included what they experienced in the streets of Baltimore into The Wire. Those involved in The Wire’s creation wanted to make it as realistic as possible. You will hear how they successfully did that from the interviews. Fans of Michael K. Williams will appreciate the tribute to him in the latest episode. For these reasons,  I highly recommend this podcast to fans of The Wire

Due to the adult language in The Wire at 20, I recommend it for mature audiences only.

The Wire at 20 can be heard on the Great Pods website and apps such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and more.

Michael Walsh

Adult Services 

Will Branch