Exclusive David Simon Q&A (page 18)
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Exclusive David Simon Q&A Q: What are the prospects for Season 5?  Do you have to sell the show to Chris Albrecht again?  Does it depend on the success of the on-demand experiment?  Are your actors contracted for season 5?  When will you know if it's a go?  [Emily, Mike, specifik]

A: Yep, I'm always pimping my shit to someone who is less impressed than I want him to be, it seems.  It is a little disheartening because like anybody who works hard at something, I feel that what I've helped to create in The Wire has a unique value and is deserving of more than it receives and I want others to feel the same and do right by the project without me getting on my knees every six months.  But get on my knees I do because to not finish the story properly and in the manner we planned to finish it would be, from my point of view, frustrating and tragic.

Dominic West I think the future of the show depends on the critical attention it receives next month, on the DVD sales, and on the viewership during HBO's various broadcasts and on-demand.  We will know if it is a go by early fall, I would guess.

My actors are not under contract, but I spoke to all of them before the options lapsed and expressed my commitment to finishing the show and my belief that HBO would want us to finish on those terms once viewers got a look at season four.  To a man (and woman), the actors expressed the same commitment.  That includes Dominic West, who, although given a lighter role this year because of both the needs of story and Dom's own career trajectory, is an essential and elemental component for season five.  Dom called from London to say he wanted this show to conclude as it deserves to conclude - as professional a response as I can and would expect and indicative of the reaction I received from the entire cast.  So I am not concerned about the option issue; if HBO wants to finish this show, I'll be filming in Baltimore with The Wire cast by spring.

Q: Any tidbits on what media you would love to skewer in season 5?  [Wirehead you met in New Orleans]

A: No medium in particular.  But having presented all these facets of the urban power structure, and all these attendant urban problems, the next logical question for us to ask is this:

Why don't we see the problems for what they are?  What are we looking at?  What are we paying attention to?  What are we ignoring?  What do we read and watch and consider and what is it that never comes to our attention?  And why?  Having built our city-state, explored its problems and examined government's willingness or lack of willingness to address those problems, the last question we want to ask is why all of us allow things to remain as they do?

To quote Pogo, perhaps "we have met the enemy and he is us."  Perhaps part of the blame resides with us as citizens, with our own capacity for self-delusion and with what we regard as meaningful or important.  For that we need to introduce and examine the great biofeedback loop that is the mass media.  Not in a caustic way, but with the affection of writers, some of who have actually been reporters and admire the craft of journalism.  We are not trying to skewer newspapers or broadcast news or this talking head or that columnist.  We are trying to finish our treatise on the American city and why it cannot heal thyself.

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