City and Fate: The Narrative Function of Baltimore’s Visual Presence in The Wire

By José Carlos del Ama and Ismael Lopez Medel.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: February 13, 2017 $US5.00

David Simons, one of the creators of HBO’s TV show “The Wire,” defines his successful series as a Greek tragedy. One of the constitutive elements of this literary genre is the fatalistic vision of human existence. The life of the individual is determined by forces that completely escape his/her control. This article analyzes the role of the urban space in the fatalistic version of the individual existence in “The Wire.” The images of Baltimore allow us to explore real human ecology. The visual presence of the city is powerful throughout the five seasons. Culture is, from an anthropological perspective, the environment a world-open being creates in order to thrive. The images of the city describe with accuracy an actual culture that produces extremes of misery and luxury. Baltimore exists beyond the fiction. The visual relevance of the city provides a chunk of reality that contributes to build a credible narration. Space becomes a narrative agent that frames and determines the individual existence.

Keywords: Media, Misery, City, The Wire, Machiavelli, Public Sphere

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.93-102. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: February 13, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 867.232KB)).

Dr. José Carlos del Ama

Professor, Communication Department, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, Connecticut, USA

Dr. Ismael Lopez Medel

Assistant Professor, Communication Department, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California, USA