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The Wire is set in a modern American city shaped by economic restructuring and fundamental demographic change that led to widespread job loss and the depopulation of inner-city neighborhoods.1 While the series can be viewed as an account of the systemic failure of political, economic, and social institutions in Baltimore in particular, the fundamental principles depicted in The Wire certainly parallel changing conditions in other cities, especially older industrial cities in the Northeast and Midwest. Indeed, it is for this reason that The Wire captures the attention of social scientists concerned with a comprehensive understanding of urban inequality, poverty, and race in American cities.


Chaddha, Anmol, and William Julius Wilson. "Way Down in the Hole”: Systemic Urban Inequality and The Wire." Critical Inquiry 38.1 (Autumn 2011).