‘We Own This City’: The New Series Shifts Away From ‘The Wire’

The Wire creator David Simon’s latest HBO series, We Own This City, is based on the real-life scandal of the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) which came to light in 2017. The new series is drawing a ton of comparisons to The Wire.

However, there is one major difference between the critically acclaimed series and We Own This City.

Jon Bernthal as Wayne Jenkins wearing plainclothes and Jamie Hector as Sean Suiter wearing a suit in 'We Own This City
Jon Bernthal as Wayne Jenkins and Jamie Hector as Sean Suiter in ‘We Own This City | Paul Schiraldi/HBO

‘We Own This City’ has several familiar faces.

In most of his projects, Simon has been known to use the same actors. The same goes for We Own This City. According to Vulture, Simon has described the series as a “coda” to The Wire.  The older series is a fictional telling of all of the departments that make up Baltimore. However, this new series focuses on the police department specifically.  HBO said in a statement,

WE OWN THIS CITY shows how the department’s desperate reliance on statistics over substances eventually led to the inability of department officials to supervise the Gun Trace Task Force and the further inability of the department to discipline rogue police. At the time of the GTTF scandal in 2017, though there were numerous indications of corruption within several plainclothes units going back almost a decade, Baltimore police commanders held to the belief that any street unit could bring in guns and drugs consistently had to be championed and protected. WE OWN THIS CITY depicts the inevitable corruption of a unit given this carte blanche.

Yet, there are several familiar faces seen in the new limited series. The Wire alum includes Delaney Williams as the new BPD police commissioner. Jamie Hector, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Tray Chaney, Chris Clanton, and Jermaine Crawford all portray police officers/ Domenick Lombardozzi stars as the head of the Fraternal Order of the Police. Finally, Maria Broom is a citizen concerned about criminal activity in her neighborhood.

‘We Own This City’ depicts policing very differently than ‘The Wire’

The Wire focused on cops with moral codes who ultimately wanted to do the right thing and loved their city, like Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West). McNulty wasn’t afraid to go against his superiors to get things done. Moreover, he and the rest of his team worked within the system to make Baltimore a better place.

In stark contrast, Wayne Jenkins and the rest of the GTTF were focused on using their status and intimation to line their own pockets. Soon enough, their goal for policing was only about financial gain and harassment, which was in direct contrast to the cops that we saw in The Wire.

‘We Own This City’ will play out over the course of six episodes

We Own The City covers a ton of ground using flashbacks and flashforwards over the cross of six episodes. The show examines the city’s obsession with numbers and the over-policing of Black communities. Moreover, the politics within the police department pitted the Homicide department against the Drug department.

The HBO press release says it follows the Baltimore Police Department’s “policies of drug prohibition and mass arrest were championed at the expense of actual police work.”

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