The Wire: Season 1 (2002)


Season 1
The Wire

Critics Consensus

Though it takes its time getting started, The Wire is worth the wait, spinning a connective web of characters and delivering no-holds-barred commentary on some of America's unsettling societal problems.



Critic Ratings: 25


Audience Score

User Ratings: 968
User image


Air date: Jun 2, 2002
Air date: Jun 9, 2002
Air date: Jun 16, 2002
Air date: Jun 23, 2002
Air date: Jun 30, 2002
Air date: Jul 7, 2002
Air date: Jul 21, 2002
Air date: Jul 28, 2002
Air date: Aug 4, 2002
Air date: Aug 11, 2002
Show More Episodes

The Wire: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

A complex crime drama set in Baltimore, Maryland, that follows the thread of a single police investigation, from the perspectives of both law-enforcement officials and the criminals they're pursuing.


Dominic West
as Det. James McNulty
Sonja Sohn
as Det. Shakima Greggs
Idris Elba
as Stringer Bell
John Doman
as Maj. William A. Rawls
Wood Harris
as Avon Barksdale
Lance Reddick
as Lt. Cedric Daniels
Lawrence Gilliard Jr.
as D'Angelo Barksdale
Larry Gilliard Jr.
as D'Angelo Barksdale
Wendell Pierce
as Det. William `Bunk' Moreland
Clarke Peters
as Det. Lester Freamon
Seth Gilliam
as Det. Ellis Carver
Frankie Faison
as Det. Comm. Ervin H. Burrell
Domenick Lombardozzi
as Det. Thomas R. `Herc' Hauk
Jim True-Frost
as Det. Roland `Prez' Pryzblewski
Corey Parker Robinson
as Det. Leander Sydnor
Deirdre Lovejoy
as Rhonda Pearlman
Nat Benchley
as Det. Augustus `Augie' Polk
Tom Quinn
as Det. Patrick Mahone
Delaney Williams
as Sgt. Jay Landsman
Michael Hyatt
as Brianna Barksdale
Micaiah Jones
as Little Man
Peter Gerety
as Judge Daniel Phelan
Richard De Angelis
as Capt. Raymond Forester
Al Brown
as Maj. Stanislaus Valcheck
Doug Olear
as FBI Agent Terrance Fitzhugh
Michael Salconi
as Det. Michael Santangelo
Michael Kostroff
as Maurice `Maury' Levy
Erik Todd Dellums
as Bryan `Doc' Frazier
Dave Trovato
as Lt. Walter Cantrell
Maria Broom
as Marla Daniels
Shamyl Brown
as Donette
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Wire: Season 1

Critic Reviews for The Wire Season 1

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (12)

Stick with The Wire, at any rate, and you'll get a series that not only is the best on HBO, but also the channel's most lifelike.

Mar 5, 2019 | Full Review…

Baltimore is not just a stand-in for Western civilization or globalized urban rot or the American inner city now given the cold federal shoulder in the folly-filled war on terror, though it is certainly all these things. Baltimore is also just itself...

Nov 5, 2018 | Full Review…

The Wire is comfort television for cynics and paranoiacs.

Jun 21, 2018 | Full Review…

Season one is powerful because it affords those in the projects the same level of humanity as it does the police, if not more. And while it fashions a compelling crime story, it does so while acknowledging the strictures of red tape.

May 22, 2018 | Full Review…

The most important contribution this narrative gave to the entirety of the series comes in how the drug organizations and the Baltimore police department are more alike than one might think.

May 22, 2018 | Full Review…

From the get-go, Simon and Burns proved they had made a show unlike any other.

Apr 23, 2018 | Full Review…

A drama with a depth and complexity which few novels, never mind TV series, have achieved.

Oct 25, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The Wire is far more than the inner-city crime-and-punishment drama HBO initially sold it as.

Jun 13, 2018 | Full Review…

The best crime show out there, deserving of any and all hype.

May 22, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

To really appreciate The Wire, you have to watch an entire season. Unlike most shows, The Wire isn't concerned with serving up cliff hangers to make you tune in next week. A season of The Wire is like a good book.

Apr 23, 2018 | Rating: 10/10 | Full Review…

With each passing week, "The Wire" blossomed, quietly becoming one of the smartest, most engrossing series on television.

Feb 7, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Brutal and absorbing anthropology.

Feb 1, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Wire: Season 1

  • Jun 29, 2019
    A slow burner, but definitely worth the time and effort, not least for developing the characters but also showing off the underbelly of Baltimore. So it lacked a lot of action, but that's good enough for me - give me a good story over guns 'n' bullets any day.
  • Jun 17, 2019
    Takes a bit to get into, but it is well worth the ride! Very well written and directed. Looking forward to future seasons!
  • Feb 13, 2019
    The wire remains one of those boxsets I can watch over again and again. Would not even normally be my thing but by spreading the sting operation over the entire series it really got me hooked. Yes a lot of local US politics but it don't sour it for me , it just educated myself a little throughout the entire run of the wire
  • Jul 02, 2018
    Watched the first season after seeing rave reviews for a while. However I was severely disappointed. Almost nothing of significance happens for large swathes of most episodes, conversations between characters are realistically ponderous and often largely irrelevant to the events of the episode. On the rare occasion where an action sequence sneaks past the editors, I almost wish that it hadn't; as far as I can tell, the director had no knowledge of how to make a tense, or even mildly engaging piece of action. The Wire also often strays into comedy for no clear reason, and the result is rarely actually very funny. The best example of this is in episode 4, where several minutes are spent before the opening credits on some entirely irrelevant and unfunny slapstick scene about moving a cabinet. Overall, I cannot see where the 5 star reviews are coming from for this boring series, that is devoid of action or intruige.
  • Jun 11, 2018
    Character development. Plot. Authenticity. Its all here.
  • Mar 19, 2018
    5/5 - The best season of one of the best shows of all time.
  • Mar 11, 2018
    A must watch & one of the best tv shows ever.
  • Dec 30, 2017
    Don’t know what the fuss is about. Too slow to get into. Don’t like to have to work so hard for my drama.
  • Dec 21, 2017
    This is THE TV SERIE. Great dialogues and fabulous cast. Each season is better than the previous one
  • Sep 22, 2017
    In my opinion, the best thing ever put on film. This series proved that good writing, acting and directing can tackle topical, tough subjects, examine them from all sides and still be extremely entertaining.

News & Features