The Wire, “F**k” (S01E04)

To start off, something (vaguely NSFW) that could really only be shown on an HBO series in the 2000s.

Besides the overabundance of expletives, the scene is notable for its reliance on the viewers’ understanding of the detectives’ thought process. There’s no explanation, no summative remarks, no revealing dialogue – the viewer is expected to put the pieces together as Bunk and McNulty work.

Within a show that encourages a deep level of attention while viewing, this scene demonstrates the entertainment that can come from actively engaging with the process rather than simply the presentation.

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One thought on “The Wire, “F**k” (S01E04)

  1. Also an interesting counter-example to John Ellis’s claim that televisual text rely on sound to establish their meaning (in anticipation of the distracted viewer). This scene makes no sense unless one pays close attention to the visual field.

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