cover image All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of ‘The Wire’

All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of ‘The Wire’

Jonathan Abrams. Crown Archetype, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0-451-49814-4

Lovers of HBO’s The Wire rejoice: journalist Abrams (Boys Among Men) delivers a comprehensive study of what goes into creating an acclaimed TV show. In what is essentially, aside from some contextual summaries, an oral history, Abrams displays his thoroughness, interviewing many of The Wire’s actors (Idris Elba, Michael B. Jordan, and Dominic West to name a few) as well as the series’ creators and writers, and even HBO’s chairman. Abrams explores the creative decisions that set The Wire apart from other programs, among them creator David Simon’s decision to have the series play out like a novel and the decision that no character would be a pure hero—all of the show’s characters have many faults. Abrams’s access to the show’s players gives new insight, as when actor Andre Royo tells him: “People ask me what was the best character on the show. I always say Baltimore.” Abrams indisputably has created a thorough examination of The Wire’s conception, production, and lingering cultural afterlife. (Feb.)