Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wired to Sociopathy

I've been watching a real interesting show for the second time. The show is called The Wire and its cowriter is a former Baltimore detective who is using his old case files to contribute to the show. The interesting aspect of this show is the fact that it tells about the system from a inside perspective in the unseen war between the drug dealers and the police, then goes further to explore the source of the so-called drug war. Instead of having the evil sociopathic drug dealers vs the stand-up police force saving society, they show the sociopaths leading the charge on both sides with the general public and underlings caught in the crossfire. The first season begins with a homicide in the projects and a subsequent trial where the defendant wins because they had paid off the witnesses. The detective, McNulty, gets tired of losing cases so starts manipulating the system in order to go on a crusade against the criminal enterprise he keeps losing cases to. The interesting thing about it is the twist it takes on that the detective admits he doesn't care about stopping the drug dealers -- he just wants to show everyone how amazing he is. Throughout the show this detective shows more and more traits of a sociopath until the last season, where the show straight admits this is what they were building you to see. The detective fakes a serial killer on the loose in order to build funds for his unit by making identifying marks on murders he's called to solve. To further it he makes calls to the newspaper faking to be the serial killer. When the FBI profiler comes in a meeting and explains the killers traits (The DSM-IV'ss definition of a sociopath) the entire room glances at him.

Each season focuses on sociopaths in different parts of the system. The justice system, the waterfront, the schools, and finally the media. Different people from inside those institutions have commented they were the most realistic portrayals of the institutions they had ever seen on TV. It is actually Barack Obama's favorite TV show. However, Showtime actually refused to take up the show due to its pessimism. This show has a more accurate portrayal of sociopathy in reality in contrast to shows like Sopranos or Dexter.

I will leave you with a dialogue from the show:

Lester: Tell me someting Jimmy, how do you think it all ends?

McNulty: What do you mean?

Lester: A parade? A gold watch? A shining Jimmy-McNulty-day moment, when you bring in a case sooooo sweet everybody gets together and says, "Aw, shit! He was right all along. Should've listened to the man." The job will not save you, Jimmy. It won't make you whole, it won't fill your ass up.

McNulty: I dunno, a good case—

Lester: Ends. They all end. The handcuffs go click and it's over. The next morning, it's just you in your room with yourself.

McNulty: Until the next case.

Lester: Boooooy, you need something else outside of this here.

McNulty: Like what, dollhouse miniatures?

Lester: Hey, hey, hey, a life. A life, Jimmy. You know what that is? It's the shit that happens while you're waiting for moments that never come.


  1. Careful, TV will rot your brain.

    -Dr Whom

  2. All the better to manipulate them with my dear!

  3. Actually, thanks to this poist, I'm going to check this program out. I'd heard of it but didn't bother watching. I'm not a huge fan of the cop show thing. But this sounds intriguing.

  4. my mother turned me on to this show, she thought the writing was brilliant. i agree.

  5. You know what? I got interested in this show after reading this post about a month a go... now I´ve seen all five seasons :D. I couldnt stop watching.

    Great show.

  6. I loved the wire. I didnt notice any sociopaths though. everyone seemed normal to me.

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