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Out on the Wire is a comics documentary about how the new generation of great American radio and podcast journalists/storytellers weave their magic.
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Also by Jessica Abel. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Looking for More Great Reads? Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices. Read it Forward Read it first. I still have my son to raise. It was pretty comical, but back then it wasn't. There was water shooting all over the place, and I'm, like, 'Oh shit! What the hell was I thinking? Whatever brought Steve to that moment had been incubating for a long time.

He joined the Army at He's a big man—played football for Nampa High School—and he was a good and willing fit for the position of airborne scout. He wanted to go to Vietnam, but by the time his training was over, essentially Vietnam was, too. There was no shortage of unfriendly locales for the U. Steve's first deployment was to the East German border, where he watched helplessly as a man's corpse was left hanging for two days in the barbed wire after being shot while trying to defect. Korea followed—Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, Egypt, Lebanon—he was five miles away when the Marine barracks, along with Marines, were bombed in Ten years in, his leg was injured in a parachute accident and he could no longer jump.

In exercises, he and his crew could put a mm shell through a target the size of a basketball hoop from 1, meters. With skills like that, there was little doubt who would come out of it victorious in any encounters with Saddam Hussein's armored divisions. Clearing bunkers sticks in my head. It was boogying across the desert. I lased him; put a heat round right through him. Well, apparently, it was carrying fuel, because it just went up in a giant fireball. An unusual explosion for that kind of vehicle. And then these guys are running out, and they're all on fire.

That stuck with me for a while. If you go to Basra today, there's not a very big dog population. We took care of them. We buried all these dead Iraqis, and dogs were digging them up at night, and you see a dog running off with some guy's arm So we took care of the dogs. I shot this guy's tank out from underneath him. The next morning, I'm looking through the thermal sight and I see this little hot spot I get over there and he's hiding. The guy is soaking wet, it's been raining, and it's cold as hell.

I took him around behind the tank. He'd been told that Americans would execute him, and he just knew he was fixing to die. I give him a blanket, an MRE, put him up on my tank. I carried that little bastard around with me for 24 hours. He had pictures of his wife, pictures of his kids. He's a soldier, doing what he's supposed to do. Defending his country just like we were defending ours.

So you gotta respect the guy. Even when they're dead. You bury them properly. You make sure they're taken care of. You register their graves. And you treat every soldier with the same respect that you want. He'd been experiencing sleep disorder and suicidal thoughts for years, but at the time, he wasn't aware it was a great problem. You weren't the happy-go-lucky, jolly guy that I knew before.

You were quiet, you were sullen, you didn't communicate like you used to. I didn't realize I had changed that dramatically. In November of '96, was when I first went and got help, and that was a big deal for me. I'd fought it and fought it. For me, it was You question things a lot more.

You feel an uneasiness. I could not get used to being a civilian. Could not get used to it.

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I go into a building, I'm looking for escape routes. I'm looking for where the most likely attack would come from. I'm going down the road thinking, 'How would I defend this position, how would I defend that position? Nothing's going on, but it's overwhelming, because I feel like I'm being closed in. And how am I going to deal with it? To this day, Steve misses the Army way, the structure, the attention to detail, the camaraderie.

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I expected people to be on time, appropriately dressed, ready to work, ready to do their job If I got upset at somebody for not doing their job correctly or whatever, I would go into Army-mode and start chewing their ass like I did soldiers. In the civilian world, they don't understand that.

They're like, 'This guy is nuts. That was my normal. I don't have an on-and-off switch. You go into combat and shit starts flying everywhere, and you're in this mad minute, two minutes, five minutes, however long it lasts It's usually just short little periods of intense stuff. And then there's quiet, dullness and boredom.

Your lows and highs are like canyons and Mt. And when you come home, you're dealing with a whole different set of priorities. What Steve went through—and is still going through—is not in the least unusual for a combat veteran. Lingering edginess, intrusive thoughts, nightmares, substance abuse, the thoughts of suicide—they have all plagued ex-soldiers probably from the origins of war. After World War I, it was called "shell shock.

And with that attention, many veterans of earlier wars started to recognize their own troubled lives reflected in the younger generation of soldiers, and after decades of suffering, finally sought out therapy. Within six months of returning from deployment in those theaters, every soldier—be they active duty, National Guard or Reserve status—is evaluated with a Post-Deployment Health Re-Assessment. Out of the hundreds of thousands who have been tested thus far, the PDHRA data is showing that somewhere around 35 percent of them have come back with psychological problems that, in the view of VA professionals, need to be addressed.

People can't sleep because of nightmares, hyper-vigilance and restlessness. It wears you down over time.

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Substance abuse is up. We are keeping track of that. Post-deployment deaths are up. That is something we see in every war They take more risks. The end of a young veteran's marriage doesn't necessarily mean PTSD is involved, but the VA is tracking the rate of divorce among returning soldiers. From to the end of , the divorce rate in the Army officer corps rose almost percent. And while the alarming rise in suicides among military people has made news of late, it may be only indirectly related to PTSD.

If you look at what's happening and why people are committing suicide, it's because their marriages, their families are falling apart. You can make another connection to that If they have PTSD, that might make them harder to live with and harder to stay together as a family," Dewey explained. Being deployed not once, but twice, three times, four times. PTSD is probably involved at a secondary level Dave didn't want his identity known, and Rudy—upon learning one of the other vets interviewed for this article wanted to remain anonymous— said "If that's what my brother wants, I'm with him.

Dave, 61, walks with a cane and is on medication for chronic pain. When asked if his bad leg has anything to do with the wounds he got in Vietnam, he first answers no, then backtracks. I needed to get that adrenaline high again, so I did stupid things, including big motorcycles. I used to ride with the vets, and we'd decide, 'OK, let's take some acid and ride from [Los Angeles] to San Diego as fast as we can go at 3 in the morning.

This [he points to his knee] is from a high-speed motorcycle accident. When you look back on it, that can get pretty depressing at times. I called in air strikes. That's what we were out there to do. Randy, in a moment of desperation, reveals knowledge of a murder to the assistant principal, leading to his being interrogated by police. When Bubbles takes Sherrod, a homeless teenager, under his wing, he fails in his attempts to encourage the boy to return to school. Proposition Joe tries to engineer conflict between Omar Little and Marlo to convince Marlo to join the co-op.

Omar robs Marlo who, in turn, frames Omar for a murder and organises attempts to have him murdered in jail but Omar manages to beat the charge with the help of Bunk. Omar is told that Marlo set him up, so takes revenge on him by robbing the entire shipment of the co-op. Marlo is furious with Joe for allowing the shipment to be stolen. Marlo demands satisfaction, and as a result, Joe sets up a meeting between him and Spiros Vondas , who assuages Marlo's concerns. Having gotten a lead on Joe's connection to the Greeks, Marlo begins investigating them to learn more about their role in bringing narcotics into Baltimore.

Freamon discovers the bodies Chris and Snoop had hidden. Bodie offers McNulty testimony against Marlo and his crew, but is shot dead on his corner by O-Dog, a member of Marlo's crew. Bubbles turns himself in to the police and tries to hang himself, but he survives and is taken to a detox facility. Michael has now joined the ranks of Marlo's killers and runs one of his corners, with Dukie leaving high school to work there.

Randy's house is firebombed by school bullies for his cooperation with the police, leaving his caring foster mother hospitalized and sending him back to a group home.

Namond is taken in by Colvin, who recognized the good in him. The major crimes unit from earlier seasons is largely reunited, and they resume their investigation of Marlo Stanfield. The fifth season focuses on the media and media consumption. John Carroll of The Baltimore Sun was the model for the "craven, prize hungry" editor of the fictional newspaper. Fifteen months after the fourth season concludes, Mayor Carcetti 's cuts in the police budget to redress the education deficit force the Marlo Stanfield investigation to shut down.

Cedric Daniels secures a detail to focus on the prosecution of Senator Davis for corruption. Detective McNulty returns to the Homicide unit and decides to divert resources back to the Police Department by faking evidence to make it appear that a serial killer is murdering homeless men. The Baltimore Sun also faces budget cuts and the newsroom struggles to adequately cover the city, omitting many important stories. Commissioner Burrell continues to falsify crime statistics and is fired by Carcetti, who positions Daniels to replace him.

Marlo Stanfield lures his enemy Omar Little out of retirement by having Omar's mentor Butchie murdered. Proposition Joe teaches Stanfield how to launder money and evade investigation. Michael Lee continues working as a Stanfield enforcer, providing a home for his friend Dukie and younger brother Bug. Omar returns to Baltimore seeking revenge, targeting Stanfield's organization, stealing and destroying money and drugs and killing Stanfield enforcers in an attempt to force Stanfield into the open. However, he is eventually shot and killed by Kenard , a young Stanfield dealer.

Baltimore Sun reporter Scott Templeton claims to have been contacted by McNulty's fake serial killer.

Out on the Wire: the podcast

City Editor Gus Haynes becomes suspicious, but his superiors are enamored of Templeton. The story gains momentum and Carcetti spins the resulting attention on homelessness into a key issue in his imminent campaign for Governor and restores funding to the Police Department. Bubbles is recovering from his drug addiction while living in his sister's basement.

He is befriended by Sun reporter Mike Fletcher , who eventually writes a profile of Bubbles. Instead, Freamon helps McNulty perpetuate the lie and uses resources earmarked for the case to fund an illegal wiretap on Stanfield. Bunk resumes working the vacant house murders, leading to a murder warrant against Partlow for killing Michael's stepfather.

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Freamon and Leander Sydnor gather enough evidence to arrest Stanfield and most of his top lieutenants, seizing a large quantity of drugs. Stanfield suspects that Michael is an informant, and orders him killed. Michael realizes he is being set up and kills Snoop instead. A wanted man, he leaves Bug with an aunt and begins a career as a stick-up man.

With his support system gone, Dukie lives with drug addicts. McNulty tells Kima Greggs about his fabrications to prevent her wasting time on the case. Greggs tells Daniels, who, along with Rhonda Pearlman , takes this news to Carcetti, who orders a cover-up because of the issue's importance to his campaign. Davis is acquitted, but Freamon uses the threat of federal prosecution to blackmail him for information. Davis reveals Maurice Levy has a mole in the courthouse from whom he illegally purchases copies of sealed indictments. Herc tells Levy that the Stanfield case was probably based on an illegal wiretap, something which would jeopardize the entire case.

After Levy reveals this to Pearlman, she uses Levy's espionage to blackmail him into agreeing to a plea bargain for his defendants. Levy ensures Stanfield's release on the condition that he permanently retires, while his subordinates will have to accept long sentences. Stanfield sells the connection to The Greeks back to the Co-Op and plans to become a businessman, although he appears unable or unwilling to stay off the corner.

As the cover-up begins, a copy-cat killing occurs, but McNulty quickly identifies and arrests the culprit. Pearlman tells McNulty and Freamon that they can no longer be allowed to do investigative work and warns of criminal charges if the scandal becomes public. They opt to retire. Haynes attempts to expose Templeton but the managing editors ignore the fabrications and demote anyone critical of their star reporter. Carcetti pressures Daniels to falsify crime statistics to aid his campaign. Daniels refuses and then quietly resigns rather than have his FBI file leaked.

In a final montage, McNulty gazes over the city; Freamon enjoys retirement; Templeton wins a Pulitzer; Carcetti becomes Governor; Haynes is sidelined to the copy desk and replaced by Fletcher; Campbell appoints Valchek as commissioner; Carcetti appoints Rawls as Superintendent of the Maryland State Police ; Dukie continues to use heroin; Michael becomes a stickup boy; Pearlman becomes a judge and Daniels a defense attorney; Bubbles is allowed upstairs where he enjoys a family dinner; Chris serves his life sentence alongside Wee-Bey ; the drug trade continues; and the people of Baltimore go on with their lives.

During the fifth season, HBO produced three shorts depicting moments in the history of characters in The Wire. The three prequels depict the first meeting between McNulty and Bunk; Proposition Joe as a slick business kid; and young Omar. All seasons of The Wire have received positive reviews from many major television critics, several naming it the best contemporary show and one of the best drama series of all time.

The first season received mainly positive reviews from critics, [65] [66] some even calling it superior to HBO's better-known " flagship " drama series such as The Sopranos and Six Feet Under. Despite the critical acclaim, The Wire received poor Nielsen ratings , which Simon attributed to the complexity of the plot; a poor time slot; heavy use of esoteric slang, particularly among the gangster characters; and a predominantly black cast.

After the first two shows of season two, Jim Shelley in The Guardian , called The Wire the best show on TV, praising the second season for its ability to detach from its former foundations in the first season. The critical response to the third season remained positive. Entertainment Weekly named The Wire the best show of , describing it as "the smartest, deepest and most resonant drama on TV. It also worried that the loss of the show would have a negative impact on Baltimore 's economy.

At the close of the third season, The Wire was still struggling to maintain its ratings and the show faced possible cancellation. As the fourth season was about to begin, almost two years after the previous season's end, Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that The Wire "has tackled the drug war in this country as it simultaneously explores race, poverty and 'the death of the American working class,' the failure of political systems to help the people they serve, and the tyranny of lost hope.

Few series in the history of television have explored the plight of inner-city African Americans and none—not one—has done it as well. Williams's acting as Omar Little. Critics have often described the show in literary terms: Robert Kirkman , creator of The Walking Dead , is a strong follower of The Wire ; he has tried to cast as many actors from it into the television series of the same name as possible, so far having cast Chad Coleman , Lawrence Gilliard Jr. Most of the awards the series won were for season 4 and season 5. Despite the above mentioned awards and unanimous critical approval, The Wire never won a single Primetime Emmy Award nor received any major nominations, except for two writing nominations in and In the years following the end of the series' run, several colleges and universities such as Johns Hopkins , Brown University , and Harvard College have offered classes on The Wire in disciplines ranging from law to sociology to film studies.

Phillips Academy , a boarding high school in Massachusetts, offers a similar course as well. With the freedom of artistic expression, The Wire can be more creative. It can weave together the range of forces that shape the lives of the urban poor. The Wire has also been the subject of growing numbers of academic articles by, amongst others, Fredric Jameson who praised the series' ability to weave utopian thinking into its realist representation of society ; [] and Leigh Claire La Berge, who argues that although the less realistic character of season five was received negatively by critics, it gives the series a platform not only for representing reality, but for representing how realism is itself a construct of social forces like the media; [] both commentators see in The Wire an impulse for progressive political change rare in mass media productions.

While most academics have used The Wire as a cultural object or case study, Benjamin Leclair-Paquet has instead argued that the "creative methods behind HBO's The Wire evoke original ways to experiment with speculative work that reveal the merit of the imaginary as a pragmatic research device. HBO aired the five seasons of the show in , , , , and New episodes were shown once a week, occasionally skipping one or two weeks in favor of other programming.

Starting with the fourth season, subscribers to the HBO On Demand service were able to see each episode of the season six days earlier. BET adds commercial breaks, blurs some nudity, and mutes some profanity. Much of the waterfront storyline from the second season is edited out from the BET broadcasts. The series was remastered in The HD versions became available for purchase on various digital platforms on January 5, , and were released on Blu-ray on June 2, In the United Kingdom, the show has been broadcast on terrestrial television on BBC Two , [] although controversially it was broadcast at The series became available in Canada in a remastered The DVD sets have been favorably received, though some critics have faulted them for a lack of special features.

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Retrieved January 9, Sheffield, Rob September 21, Retrieved September 22, Jones, Emma April 12, Retrieved September 4, Archived from the original on March 13, Retrieved July 25, The Inside Story of The Wire ". Retrieved May 13, Retrieved December 19, Retrieved January 15, Retrieved October 14, Retrieved February 12, A Year on the Killing Streets.

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Retrieved December 22, Retrieved March 17, Archived from the original on December 4, Retrieved August 29, Analyzing the best show on television". Retrieved June 14, Archived from the original on August 31, Retrieved March 28, Retrieved November 27, Archived from the original on October 13, The Complete First Season". Archived from the original on September 8, TV's finest hour is back".

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