Picks and Pans Review: The Wire
HBO (Sundays, 9 p.m. ET)
Gritty and engrossing as ever, this police drama widens its sights in its third season, which opened Sept. 19. Now the subject is not just the grinding struggle against drugs or the steady decline of the working class but also the politics and power structure of the city.
Detectives Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) and Kima Greggs (Sonja Sohn) haven't lost their zeal to bring down the Barksdale drug gang, which Stringer Bell (coolly menacing Idris Elba) tries to run on sound business principles and Robert's Rules of Order. But the re-election-minded mayor (Glynn Turman) and acting police commissioner (Frankie Faison) are more intent on doctoring the city's crime statistics to keep an ambitious councilman (Aidan Gillen) from scoring political points.
The strongest new regular is "Bunny" Colvin (quietly convincing Robert Wisdom), a high-ranking cop determined to give his career meaning as he nears retirement. Sad-eyed and world-weary but still harboring hope, Colvin starts questioning the assumptions of the drug war and going his own way. This man could be a danger to the system.