The WireThe Wire

Sonja Sohn Is Finally Ready to Rewatch The Wire

  • Will you watch the marathon?

  • I'll probably catch some of it. It's hard for me to watch that much TV at one time. When it went off the air, I didn’t watch it again. I lived it! This year, I'm working on a memoir project that covers the time that I was shooting the show, so I am going back to refresh my memory. I have been intending to watch it again, so it all came around, when I was ready to watch again and have time to watch it again.

  • Back in Season 1, could did you have any idea of the cultural impact the show would have all these years later?

  • Absolutely not. Shit. Every year we were fighting for our lives and we never knew if we were coming back. The first season, a lot of us were early in our careers, we were just trying to figure out asses from our elbows. We were getting used to a lot -- shooting in Baltimore, getting a feel for the story and our characters. Wendell was one of the first to see how important the show was early on. I think by end of first season we could see how important the show was. And I think that grew with every year. When you came to work, everyone became more deeply invested: I'm actually going to work on something important and impactful and it means something to me. You just knew you were telling a story much bigger than your characters and much bigger than you.

  • As someone who was in all five seasons, do you have a favorite?

  • It's a tight race between 3 and 4, but my personal favorite is 3. I thought that's where all the different elements and worlds that were depicted in the show came together. They were woven together beautifully. You saw how each world influenced the other: Politicians feed off of the drug game and are fed by the drug game. Conditions that exist in underserved communities are heavily influenced, if not created by public institutions. By the time you got to 4, there was a lot of focus on education, but you didn't feel the political aspect of it as much and I think the political aspect of the show was the critical thread that needed to weave all those worlds together.

  • Which of your scenes still resonate with you?

  • The scene that stands out for me as a key scene for Kima was when her job as a cop intersected with her heart. It's the scene in which she discovers the kid hiding in the closet after the murder in his home [Season 5, Episode 2: "Unconfirmed Reports"]. She picks the kid up and walks out the door with him. I was teary after that scene.

  • Did you have a favorite character -- not your own?

  • Who would have been my favorite? It wasn't McNulty... Bubbles was always able to break things down to the reality... It like I'm fighting making Omar my choice because I think he's the obvious one, but I gotta say Omar as much as I want to go against the tide. You see the complexity in a human being when you look at Omar. None of us are all good. Or all bad-- I hate to use bad or good. We have tangled up reasons why we do things.

  • Where do you think Kima would be today? Did she get that law degree?

  • Kima would have gone one of two routes. I think she would have discovered very soon after the end of show that the change she wanted to see in the neighborhoods that she policed could not be exacted by the cops. I think her frustration would have grown to such a high level of discontent, she would have found another way to serve the community. She would have gotten her law degree and become a public defender – not a prosecutor. She would have been able to see that people were in these positions for many reasons beyond needing to commit a crime.

    The other way is that Kima would not have gone to school for fricking six or seven years to be a lawyer, that she would rather just get her Bachelors and become a social worker. She would have been tangled in a whole other kind web, and gotten a whole other-level frustration, but I think she would have a more hands-on ability to influence folks in these underserved communities to make some positive change. Knowing that there are no real easy fixes within the public institutional system. I think with the kid that she took out of the house, it was probably the first time she thought, 'I gotta do something about this. And I can't do it in a uniform, behind a badge.'