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Q: Will the Carcetti for Mayor storyline comment on the state of political discourse in this country the way
Season 3 echoed Iraq with "fight on the lie"? Tell us about the Carcetti mini-series. Was that a serious
possibility? [Glen in Pennsylvania, John]
A: The election-year story will continue to examine the possibilities of reforming our mythical version of
Baltimore. It will also echo the theme of education in that political characters will receive their own instruction
in the limits and circumstances of municipal government. And because the political structure acts on the police
department, the school system and every other municipal facet, the political storyline informs all of the others, in that
The use of the Barksdale-Stanfield drug war as a metaphor for our terrible misadventure in Iraq was something of a bonus
theme in season three, which was largely an examination of reform and its possibilities. Nonetheless, we saw an
opportunity to address ourselves to Iraq with Avon Barksdale's willingness to risk his authority, his treasure and his
empire in a war of choice against an insurgency that he naively underestimated. Consider that something of an extra
bang for the HBO buck, and if you happen to see Mr. Rumsfeld, Mr. Cheney or Mr. Wolfowitz on the street, feel free to tell
them the following:
1) If we were all Japanese, and they were confronted with all the death and disaster perpetrated in their names
and behind their wrongheaded geopolitical assumptions and outright lies, honor itself would require each to grasp an
ancient, ceremonial knife and eviscerate himself.
2) Unless of course, they are men without honor, which is apparently the case, so never mind the above.
3) Instead, just mention that they can kiss my white ass.
As to the political project you mention, we greatly desired the opportunity to write the election as an eight-part series
that would have aired between seasons three and four of The Wire and would possibly have launched a companion show,
The Hall, to focus on American municipal politics and provide something of an antidote to the Father-Knows-Best
tonality of more popular political drama. We felt that with a detailed examination of how American politics
actually works on a day-to-day level, we could go even deeper into our examination of American urban culture and the
circumstances in which we find ourselves. We wrote two scripts and submitted them, along with a bible for the
remaining episodes, to HBO.
Chris Albrecht was impressed with the scripts - he wanted to see some of that material covered in season four of The Wire.
But he was not willing to have two under-watched dramatic series out of Baltimore, and so we folded some aspects of the
political into season three and ran the election simultaneous to the school story. Obviously, we could not
therefore address everything that we hoped to address with a separate political drama and for that matter, there were
elements of the school system and the urban educational environment that we could not address in full detail.
We contemplated a second season of The Hall between seasons four and five of The Wire, and, if the drama
succeeded as we believed it would, additional seasons of The Hall going forward after The Wire concluded its
run, with Carcetti edging ever closer to the national political scene. There is a great drama to be done in exactly
how an American city is governed - or not - and Bill Zorzi, as a veteran political reporter, is just the fella to lead the
charge. But we did not achieve that goal with HBO. Perhaps another time and in another circumstance.
It's hard to blame Chris for his reluctance. Perhaps if The Wire had Sopranos-like numbers, there
would have been a call for us to provide more episodes about Baltimore. But our numbers are what they are and we
are grateful for the commitment that HBO has made in allowing season four to go forward.
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