“The Wire” was grand, sprawling, magnificent tv, but it was not the kind of show where you could latch on to a main character or characters. No one was especially sympathetic. And the closest the show came to having a flesh-and-blood central protagonist was McNulty, who was a complete asshole. I myself was in love with Stringer Bell–but they killed him off without a backward glance in Season 3. And Omar was fabulous, but he flitted in and out and was never fleshed out enough to work as a lead. This dearth of characters to relate to or even pull for likely goes a long way toward explaining why viewers never flocked to the show. (Well that, and it was so relentlessly grim.) But it may also go a long way toward explaining why Emmy voters never embraced it: “The Wire” was easy to appreciate but tough to love. And the series’ artistry aside, many members of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (who, after all, aren’t exactly a bunch of high-brow critics) may prefer their shows more personally and emotionally engaging than David Simon was ever willing to allow his to be.
Maybe it’s my fratboytarian instincts, but I always thought McNulty was a lovable rogue. That said, her larger point is so far off the deep end I’m seriously questioning if we were watching the same show. A paucity of lovable characters? Really? Bubbles? Prezbo? Kima? Herc and Carv? The kids from Season 4? Am I going insane or did she just doze off in the middle of season one?