The Wire season 2 (2003)

Returning directors Ed Bianchi (now working on an alternate-reality King David miniseries), Steve Shill (whose Beyonce movie did pretty well) and Timothy Van Patten (of Master Ninja) are joined by Elodie Keene (two TV movies starring Linda Hamilton), Thomas J. Wright (Millennium, Firefly, a Hulk Hogan movie), Daniel Attias (Stephen King’s Silver Bullet), Rob Bailey (CSI), Ernest R. Dickerson (The V Word, Juice, cinematographer on Do The Right Thing) and series co-creator/producer Robert F. Colesberry (also first a.d. on Warhol’s Bad) who died six months after season two ended.

I briefly mentioned why I’d give a crap about TV episodes’ directors in my season one write-up – I started watching the show after reading an online fight over it. An auteurist extremist (heh) watched one late-season episode and wrote a tirade accusing the episode’s director (not the writer, not the series creator) of being homophobic and called the show “the most awful racist drek I have seen in years.” My favorite part: “The show, like a lot of current American TV, has deliberately bad exposition. This is designed to make you watch all 54 previous hours of the series, so you can figure out what the heck is going on.” This started a hundred-message discussion culminating in the dramatic exit of the list’s founder, and got me interested enough to finally watch the show which everyone but those two guys were passionately defending.

The Dead this season: D’Angelo Barksdale (Larry Gilliard Jr.) moved on to The Machinist and Brad Anderson’s Fear Itself episode and some new Patrick Swayze show. Frank Sobotka (Chris Bauer) was in Flags of Our Fathers, Broken Flowers, starred in Anderson’s Sounds Like, and is in a new vampire show. Stolen-goods warehouser George Glekas (Teddy Cañez) shows up in Law & Order from time to time. People who probably won’t be back (serving long prison terms or witness-protection): Nick Sobotka (Pablo “Liev’s brother” Schreiber) was in J. Demme’s Manchurian Candidate remake and Stuart Gordon’s Fear Itself episode (and should consider being Ben Affleck’s stand-in if he runs out of work). Ziggy Sobotka (James Ransone) was in Inside Man and Generation Kill. Dealer White Mike (Brook Yeaton) is actually The Wire’s props guy who worked with John Waters back in the day. Greek drug man Eton (Lev Gorn) played a dealer in Keane with at least two other Wire actors, and russian muscle guy Serge (Chris Ashworth) was 25th-billed in Terminator: Salvation.

I’d be here all week if I attempted a plot description. Season 2 was slow going at the start, pulling the team back together, but it got rolling towards a great/depressing ending, which should lead naturally right into another season. I wonder if there was no guarantee of a second season after #1, but after #2 a third was a sure thing.