Exclusive David Simon Q&A (page 15)
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Exclusive David Simon Q&A 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 sense.

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.

Aidan Gillen as Tommy Carcetti 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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