Joshua Brown introduces a critical retrospective on creator David Simon's five-season (2002–8) HBO series, The Wire, with its riveting portrayal of blue-collar life in postindustrial Baltimore. In this section, Arts and Media, four scholars place the drama within its larger sociohistorical context. Focusing on season 2's depiction of the city's conflict-ridden waterfront in an era of globalization, Peter Cole extols the show's treatment of race, class, and union themes as embedded in a compelling narrative with believable characters. Jennifer Luff worries that in plumbing the depths of institutional urban decay and depravity—and thus lumping together the transgressions of schools, cops, politicians, and media types alongside bankers, drug dealers, and long-shoremen—The Wire may end up substituting moral revulsion for a more penetrating political analysis of the city's fate. Similarly, Thomas Jessen Adams believes that Simon, in his juxtaposition of a once-buoyant “producerist” blue-collar world since dragged down by deindustrialization, inadvertently risks projecting a gender-based nostalgia of once-happy times. In a final comment, Jennifer Klein extends the gender theme with an emphasis on the changing role of women (unevenly captured in the series) within global capitalism.

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