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UPDATED: 4:45 p.m. ET, Sept. 6, 2021

“The Wire” is the best TV series ever made. It also has the best quotes. Let’s argue…

The HBO show premiered in 2002, ran for four seasons, and never once lost its impact. Every season was multi-layered, plots were developed with some thought, and the writers kept the audience invested in its characters. The show also had a clear vision; to show the world the real aspects of Baltimore’s inner city. Even though the show started small, it blossomed into one of HBO’s most popular series.

MORE: Michael K. Williams, Actor Who Starred As Omar In ‘The Wire,’ Dies At 54

While some seasons took a unique look at different aspects of the narcotics scene in Baltimore, others took a hard look at the cities failing school system and its relationship to the kids it’s suppose meant to serve. The show also dove into Baltimore’s ports, government, and news media. Its amazing cast makes the show something you can always rewatch when nothing else tickles your fancy. Idris Elba, Michael K. Williams & Michael B. Jordan all took leaps forward in their careers after appearing on the show. Since the show only ran for four seasons, you can binge-watch it in less than two weeks.

One of the most underrated aspects of “The Wire” is its dialogue. Since character development was an important priority to the writers, the show has some of the best quotes on TV.

Here are 7 quotes from “The Wire” that speak directly to the black experience in America.

Best Quotes From ‘The Wire’

“You come at the king, you best not miss.”

“Shame is some tricky sh*t, ain’t it? Makes you feel like you want to change, and then beats you back down when you think you can’t.”

— Walon, “The Wire,” Season 4Final Grades

“I been doin’ this a long time. I ain’t never said nothin’ to no cop. [Bodie sighs] I feel old…I been out there since I was 13. I ain’t never f*cked up a count, never stole off a package, never did some sh*t that I wasn’t told to do. I’ve been straight up. But what come back? You think if I get jammed up on some sh*t, they be like, ‘All right, yeah. Bodie been there. Bodie hang tough. We got to his pay lawyer. We got a bail.’ They want me to stand with them, right? Where the f*ck they at when they supposed to be standing by us? I mean, when sh*t goes bad and there’s hell to pay, where they at? This game is rigged, man…we like them little b*tches on the chessboard.”

“You put a textbook in front of these kids, put a problem on the blackboard, teach them every problem in some statewide test, it won’t matter. None of it. ‘Cause they’re not learning for our world; they’re learning for theirs. They know exactly what it is they’re training for and what it is everyone expects them to be. It’s not about you or us or the test or the system. It’s what they expect of themselves. Every single one of them know they’re headed back to the corners. Their brothers and sisters, sh*t, their parents. They came through these same classrooms. We pretended to teach them, they pretended to learn and where’d they end up? Same damn corners. They’re not fools, these kids. They don’t know our world but they know their own. They see right through us.”

— Howard “Bunny” Colvin, “The Wire,” Season 4Misgivings

“Man, money ain’t got no owners. Only spenders.”

“You know what the most dangerous thing in America is, right? N*gga with a library card.”

— Brother Mouzone, “The Wire,” Season 2Storm Warnings

“The past is always with us. Where we come from, what we go through, how we go through it; all this sh*t matters. Like at the end of the book, ya know, boats and tides and all. It’s like you can change up, right, you can say you’re somebody new, you can give yourself a whole new story.”

— D’Angelo Barksdale, “The Wire,” Season 2All Prologue

“They f*ck up, they get beat. We f*ck up, they give us pensions.”

— Det. Ellis Carver, “The Wire,” Season 1Cleaning Up

“If anybody asks you if in you in this game, you tell ’em you in it for life, a’ight?. You play it hard, you play it tight, and you make sure n*ggas know you gonn’ stand by your people. No loose talk, no second thoughts and no snitching. Play it like that.”

— D’Angelo Barksdale, “The Wire,” Season 1Cleaning Up

Ilene: Mr. Little, how does a man rob drug dealers for eight or nine years and live to tell about it?

Omar: Day at a time, I suppose.”


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