'The Wire' and Alternative Stories of Law and Inequality

118 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2013

See all articles by Robert C. Power

Robert C. Power

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School

Date Written: August 8, 2013


This Article examines 'The Wire' for what it says about inequality in the United States today and what society can do to bring about greater equality. Part I identifies several themes explored over the five seasons of the series — the failure of law enforcement in the inner city, the harsh life and inadequate education of impoverished children in such areas, and Baltimore as an example of inefficient and corrupt city government. Part II reviews the Rodriguez case to consider the extent to which it defined the nature and scope of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause in terms of funding and providing public services. Part III returns to 'The Wire’s' three themes to describe in detail how the stories depicted in the series stand as examples of inequality that are particularly corrosive to society. Part IV returns to law, with seven sections identifying possible responses to the unequal society portrayed in the series.

Keywords: 'The Wire', television, crime, equal protection, public education, San Antonio v. Rodriguez, poverty, Plyler v. Doe, school funding, strict scrutiny, 'no snitching', code of silence, police brutality, drug legalization, Warren Court, wealth classification, common law right to equal services

JEL Classification: K00, K1, K3, K4

Suggested Citation

Power, Robert C., 'The Wire' and Alternative Stories of Law and Inequality (August 8, 2013). Indiana Law Review, Vol. 46, No. 425, 2013; Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-62. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2307624

Robert C. Power (Contact Author)

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School ( email )

3800 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9380
United States
717.541.3980 (Phone)

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