Drug Policy

Wire Creator David Simon Says He'll Make Another Season Just As Soon as AG Eric Holder Reconsiders Drug Prohibition


Lori Matsumoto / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Earlier this month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appeared on a panel with several actors from HBO's much-loved series about crime, politics, and civic institutions in Baltimore, The Wire.

At the end of the panel, Holder reportedly issued an edict to series creator David Simon: "I want to speak directly to Mr. Burns and Mr. Simon: Do another season of The Wire. That's actually at a minimum.… If you don't do a season, do a movie. We've done HBO movies. This is a series that deserves a movie. I want another season or I want a movie. I have a lot of power Mr. Burns and Mr. Simon." For once, I'm with Holder. 

Simon, though, has conditions he wants met before he tackles another season. Via The Atlantic, his response:

The Attorney-General's kind remarks are noted and appreciated. I've spoken to Ed Burns and we are prepared to go to work on season six of The Wire if the Department of Justice is equally ready to reconsider and address its continuing prosecution of our misguided, destructive and dehumanising drug prohibition.

A "reconsideration" of the drug war and a sixth season of The Wire? This sounds like a too-good-to-be-true deal—which, of course, is why we can all be sure it won't actually happen.

Simon is a frequent critic the drug war who has argued that jury nullification is a proper response to drug cases. Read Jesse Walker on The Wire's final season

NEXT: Breathless Brit Reports on America's "Pillbilly" Scammers and the Coming "Pharmageddon"

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  1. Hope it’s better than the terrible, and terribly didactic, 5th season.

    1. +1. The 5th season was absolutely wretched. At times I felt like I was watching an episode of Law & Order.

      1. The 5th season was absolutely wretched. At times I felt like I was watching an episode of Law & Order.

        I get your point but isn’t that overly harsh?

        1. Yeah, maybe that was a little malicious, but at least I didn’t say CSI: Miami.

            1. next time, dramatically take off the sunglasses BEFORE you do that.

    2. Having recently rewatched the whole thing, I don’t think the 5th season suffered from being didactic. The 3rd season in particular was way too on-the-nose with Colvin lecturing the other characters on drug prohibition. And it’s not like Sobotka or Prez’s interactions with their institutions were played for subtlety.

      What made it not as good was that the characters were too black-and-white. Previous storylines had deep characters where no one got points for being 100% good or bad. But in the newsroom everyone was either an idealistic Mencken type or a slimy prize-grubbing hack.

      1. idealistic Mencken type

        Someone does not know his Mencken…

      2. idealistic Mencken type

        Someone does not know his Mencken…

    3. It was better than that season about electrical insulators, which was totally dielectric.

      1. As a former EE, I commend your taste in humor

        1. taste -> capacity

    4. Hope it’s better than the terrible, and terribly didactic, 5th season.

      Norman Lear didn’t write it, so it’s not terrible.

  2. Hey now, maybe we’ve found Holder’s weakness. This could work!

  3. Meth is a God.

  4. Never seen it.

    1. It’s pretty cool, in that it takes a reality-based look at drugs and crime. Neither the criminals nor the cops are wholly good or evil. That was the first season, at least. I could never get fully into the second season, which is supposed to be better. The stories are incredibly complicated though.

      1. 2nd season was probably my favourite. Worth sticking with.

        1. The major values of the series are the performances and the message. Omar has become one of my favorite characters ever, and was played so well by Michael K. Williams that it was scary. Idris Elba was also awesome as String. But the plotting tended to be somewhat forced, and their light touch on the cops seemed a little cop-out (ha) to me.

          1. yes, way too light on those evul copz!!!!

            1. Having lived in Baltimore in the late 80’s, early 90’s, I can say that it would probably be impossible to be too hard on the cops, or the politicians, or the residents….

          2. I freakin love Stringer Bell.

        2. A lot of people hate the 2nd season. Those people suck.

          1. Same opinion. Many people didn’t like the 2nd.

          2. I think it’s largely whether you identify with the union workers from your personal background. I didn’t, so I really didn’t get attached to any of the new characters from the second season, and thought it was the weakest.

  5. Holder’s job is to ENFORCE the law (not that he does it well). Simon might want to talk to LEGISLATORS who write and repeal laws.

    1. Holder doesn’t have to ENFORCE the law, which is exactly what is being requested:

      “…if the Department of Justice is equally ready to reconsider and address its continuing prosecution of our misguided, destructive and dehumanising drug prohibition.”

      1. Holder doesn’t have to ENFORCE the law

        I’m pretty sure he does. That’s probably what the oath is all about.

        1. Soldiers take an oath, but it doesn’t bind them to execute orders they know to be unlawful. Same thing – drug war is unconstitutional, he should not be enforcing it.

          1. Holder has discretion, certainly, but he interprets the Constitution somewhat differently than most libertarians, and he wouldn’t have taken the job if he hadn’t intended to enforce existing laws. He works for the president and does his bidding, as he fully understood when he took the job. He’s not going to stop prosecuting the drug war because you or I are unhappy with it.

            1. holder is an APPOINTEE. unlike prosecutors where i work, he is not an elected official, and thus somewhat independent

              holder does what obama wants… period

              obama has SOME discretion, holder FAR less (if he wants to keep his job)

              this isn’t that difficult, people

              as usual, the wrong parties are being blamed for the WOD

              1. So… you’re saying he’s just following orders?

                1. well yes. political appointees within an administration TEND to do that.

                  unless, like j edgar hoover … they’ve got lots of dirt on their bosses 🙂

                2. Way to go, baby!

                  1. way to go godwin!

                    1. Civics is hard!

        2. All prosecution at every level of gov’t is selective. At best it’s about resource allocation, while at worst it’s about politics or personal reasons.

          The DOJ can’t prosecute everything, that’s a fact. They could save a lot of time, money, labor, lives, etc by choosing to prosecute something else.

          Like online casinos.

          1. Yeah, it’s about prioritization. And he should put the WoD on the lowest priority.

            1. and again, holder is an appointee. obama is elected. holder works for obama .

              he is not, like more prosecutors – an elected official. he’s an appointee – iow a pawn for what OBAMA wants

              the legislature takes ultimate responsibility for the WOD

              obama has at least some discretion

              holder has far less

              he is two steps removed from the real problem

              it’s far more sensible to blame obama than holder, and the legislature most of all

              1. I was appointed too!

                1. and if yer appointed, and you are told to break the law and you do it, you are still responsible


                  1. The attorney general is a Nazi!

                    1. Nah, just a sycophantic tool. Likely with erection problems.

                  2. What laws are you talking about?

    2. Yeah, but sometimes legislation still isn’t enough. Ask Holder about that.

    3. Tell me what you find after you google the phrase “prosecutorial discretion”.

      1. most prosecutors are elected. holder is a political pawn. he is an appointee

        the blame rests FAR more with obama than holder.

        and far more with congress than either

        1. true, there’s far, far more to blame Holder about than butt snorkling his boss.

    4. yup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. I found that story hilarious, personally. Made me think of other incongruous pop culture affinities.

    Joe Arpaio calls for new season of Oz

    David Cameron pesters Alan Moore on V for Vendetta sequel

    Netanyahu names favorite movie: “District 9”

    1. I wonder what Obama’s favorite movie is?

      1. Mr. Muslim Goes To Washington?

        1. I bet it’s something I really hate. I mean his real favorite movie, too, not the one he tells constituents he likes.

          1. The Color Purple?

      2. His public answer is Lawrence of Arabia and Casablanca.

        I’d be more impressed if it was Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song, or something along those lines.

        1. You even got the correct number of S’s. well done.

        2. Those are acceptable answers–I like both of those films quite a bit. They are, of course, too safe to be true.

          I’m tempted to note that both involve Muslim locations–secret Muslim!!–but I’m all conspiracied out today.

          1. Out of Africa would have been an acceptable answer, too.

          2. Am I the one person who hated Lawrence of Arabia?

            Just because David Lean had access to a 8153785843750721:1 aspect ratio doesn’t make the desert scenes any better. Erich von Stroheim would have come up with similar shots at the end of Greed if he had had access to widescreen photography.

            1. What? It’s a great movie.

              1. It’s no Casablanca

            2. I love the cinematography, and the character of Lawrence is *interesting* .. but O’Toole doesn’t know how to do anything but over-act.

        3. safe and sterile answers, probably chosen for him by the same PR flacks who picked his ipod playlist

        4. No Raising Arizona? He’s dead to me.

        5. Putney Swope.

        6. His public answer is Lawrence of Arabia and Casablanca.

          One movie set in Saudi Arabia and the other set in Morocco…

          All he has to do is admit to liking Arab Money to hit a birther hat trick.

          1. Love that song.

      3. Hmm. He’s in his 40s, so following the principal that favorite films are generally from your impressionable and idealistic early 20s, it would have to be something from the 80s.

        Also, maybe something that would resonate with a black kid with a missing father complex.

        I’m going to vote for “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”.

        1. I bet the 21 year old BHO cried when Darth Vader said “Luke, I am your Father”.

          1. Plus, given the whole “Hope” theme, he probably thinks he’s Luke Skywalker.

            Except now he seems to have joined the Dark Side. Cheney was like Emperor Palpatine. Obama is like Luke Skywalker, wandering dangerously off script.

            Or maybe he thinks he can only win by not fighting.

            The question is: Who will be the Ewoks in 2012?

            1. Who will be the Ewoks in 2012?


  7. Never seen it. Is it as good as Hill Street Blues?

    1. Is it as good as Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

      1. Never seen it. Is it as good as The Munsters?

        1. Never seen it. Good as Car 54, Where Are You?

          1. Never seen it. Is it as good as Women of Etna?

            1. Cop Rock.

      2. *shoots Whedon fan in the face*

        1. I’ll be in my bunk.

        2. Hey, he did bring us Alyson Hannigan, so shut the fuck up.

  8. Maybe they should do a new season with an Eric Holder-like character. This would be a great opportunity to make Clay Davis look honorable and Rawls less of an asshole. If Snoop wasn’t dead she could whip his ass. Since she is, I’d be thrilled to see Kima administer the a Balko-post style beating.

  9. He’s a pussy if they make another season or/and movie. And they will.

    1. This is especially true b/c he won a MacArthur prize (“Genius Grant”) and doesn’t need the money.

  10. My favorite scene in The Wire is when that friendly old cop who’s Colvin’s second-in-command drops the busload of druggies off in Hamsterdam and they mill about with “what the fuck” expressions, and he helpfully offers the suggestion to one that “I hear the WMD is the bomb.”

    Man, why can’t the police I deal with be like him and Colvin? What a pity.

    1. Bunny’s lieutenant (which I can’t remember being in that scene, I thought it was the old homicide guy that returned to the western district) is Jay Landsman, the actual cop that they based the character Jay Landsman (city homicide lieutenant) off of.

  11. Also:


    In all, they charged 63 suspects with federal and state drug conspiracy counts ? among them Felicia “Snoop” Pearson, whose arrest on heroin-related and aiding and abetting charges echoed the street lifestyle she portrayed as a character in HBO’s series “The Wire” and sought to overcome in her personal life.

    1. iirc, there was also some actor from the sopranos who got indicted for a pretty soprano-esque murder case


    Better seize his computer with a no-knock exercising all prudent protection of the heroic first-responders involved. Any missing gear or wiped HD is prima facie evidence of possession of CP.

    1. “Resignation” is just the beginning.Weiner is facing hard time in a Federal Pen and a lifetime baby-raper jacket.


    3. At first I was skeptical, but then when I read “Baby-Raping Pervert” I was totally convinced.

      1. almost as good as donkey raping shiteater

        1. It was neck and neck, but then they counted those extra votes that somebody ‘found’.

    4. ephebophile. And I’m not sure that even applies to attraction toward 17 year olds. Weiner is an arrogant prick (pun intended) but I’m hardly going to damn him for that.

  13. Does this mean our Attorney General is in charge of Wars on Drugs? (We had already suspected Hillary was in charge of all the other wars.)
    So, WHUR’S the President? Doesn’t he have a say in anything anymore?
    What da hell dis country comin’ to?

    1. it’s never ceases to amaze the way people don’t get this. didn’t they learn in HS about “seperation of powers?”

      holder, as AG, is a pawn for the head of the executive branch.

      obama, as the head, has a fair amount of discretion

      the congress, otoh could END the drug war

      and what they legalize, holder has NO power to enforce. they are the “deciders”

      1. In theory that’s true, but in practice prosecutors have plenty of leeway in what they do and don’t prosecute.

        1. i’m aware of that. but broad decision such as “i’m not going to prosecute any more marijuana cases” let alone “no more drug possession cases” is NOT the kind of discretion prosecutors use at all

          1. oh also, at least where i live- prosecutors are independently elected.

            holder, as i noted, is merely a pawn of obama, an appointee of same

            what obama wants, holder does.

            again, congress is the ultimate decider. obama has SOME discretion, holder far less

            if obama says “raid medical mj clinics” holder does it


          2. “no more drug possession cases” is NOT the kind of discretion prosecutors use at all


            Holder, speaking in Albuquerque during a meeting focused on border issues, including drug trafficking, said his department is focused “on large traffickers,” not on growers who have a state’s imprimatur to dispense marijuana for medical reasons.

            “For those organizations that are doing so sanctioned by state law, and doing it in a way that is consistent with state law, and given the limited resources that we have, that will not be an emphasis for this administration,” Holder said.

            1. and i guaranfuckingtee you that he did not make such broad policy decisions WITHOUT seeking input from his boss, whether openly or in secret.

              what kind of fantasy world do you live in?

              holder works for obama. he does obama’s bidding or he gets fired.

              it’s that simple.

              1. Apparently a fantasy world that holds Holder to the same standard you simultaneously demand and exempt him from:

                You say:

                1) Holder works for Obama and “did not make such broad policy decisions WITHOUT seeking input from his boss”


                2) “and if yer appointed, and you are told to break the law and you do it, you are still responsible”

                So which is it? Under your interpretation, Holder can never be held accountable for any actions, as he is a ‘pawn’ of the Obama administration.

                You seem to be a victim of the same political BS that you claim to abhor. The responsibility of the AG for any of his actions is reduced to a completely subjective interpretation based on whims of political constituents.

                I don’t know of a better argument for the elimination of the position of AG.

                And without an AG, what responsibility lies with those tasked with enforcing the will of Congress?

                Why have a Justice Department at all?

                Really – isn’t it all just the fault of Congress and the President?

                1. your reading comprehension sucks

                  if holder is putting people into boxcars and shipping them off to concentration camps to be executed, even if under orders for obama – he’s guilty.

                  like it or not, the drug was is not de jure illegal.

                  yes, the commerce clause rulings are ridiculous, but holder is still w/in the law

                  holder works for obama

                  what obama says, he does

                  do you realize the justice dept is part of the EXECUTIVE branch?

                  who is the head of the executive branch?

                  yes. that’s right. obama

                  holder is no different than the average chief of police in any city where the chief is an appointee. with rare exceptions, they run their police force EXACTLY the way the mayor wants it. or they get fired.

                  holder does what obama tell him

                  yes, if obama told holder to do something holder thought was blatantly illegal, holder might balk.

                  but when it comes to POLICY, how vigorously to enforce x vs. y etc. – obama has the moxie. and holder does what he’s told

                  this is the real world. you can continue to play in your fantasy world where if only HOLDER did what you wanted, stuff would change.

                  in reality, holder would be fired if he went against what obama wanted him to do .

                  1. You present a false choice between attempting to hold Holder solely responsible for the actions of the Admin and attempting to blame Obama solely for said actions.

                    Does the name Elliot Richardson ring a bell?

                    There was nothing illegal about Nixon ordering Richardson to fire Archibald Cox, otherwise Bork would have been prosecuted for the action.

                    Yet Richardson resigned rather than bend to Nixon’s orders.

                    Therein lies Holder’s responsibility. He doesn’t get to hide behind Obama’s skirts.

                    Holder didn’t simply do Obama’s bidding – he made statements to the public that amounted to declarations that his oversight of the Justice Department would mark a departure from those of the previous administration.

                    He then specifically ordered actions that diverged completely from that statement. Holder misrepresented himself (lied) to the public – either about what he deemed prosecutable offenses, or about the direction of his department.

                    Holder’s a scumbag, and that has no relation to the question of Obama.

                    My reading comprehension may indeed suck, but allusions to a ‘real world’ do not reinforce or verify your arguments. I’m sorry if you’re pissed off.

            2. oh, note also he even implicitly gives the hat tip to obama “will not be an emphasis for this ADMINISTRATION”

              Holder is, as i keep trying to explain to you – part of the obama administration. he does, for better or worse – obama’s bidding.


              1. dunphy – yeah, Holder is a puppet on Skippy’s strings, BUT, he’s not sittin there with a goddamned halo and harp. THe AG does have quite a bit of lattitude to direct the DoJ, as the ‘directions’ he’s gotten from the boss are probably pretty general (excepting things that are being used for political football fumble practice). His ‘agenda’ before he took the job was already set, not a blank alste for Skippy to fill in all the blanks. You care to claim that, say, Ashcroft was completely and totally against a lot of the shit he stirred up, and only doing it because he was made to?

                Nah. He’s only pure as the driven snow if you’re talking about Buffalo snow that actually fell about a week ago, and is now utter gray goo getting splattered over everything.

      2. You leave out that Holder could quit his job and find honest work.

        1. and you could not pay taxes since it supports the evul war on drugs!

          1. That’s a dumb response. Nobody’s gonna go to jail for quitting his job.

            1. it’s a response to the ridiculous attitude that nobody can work in law enforcement (eg holder) w/o being guilty in the WOD since they at least partially take part in the WOD

              if you pay taxes, you are part of the WOD.

              note that MD’s are part of the WOD too. they have DEA #’s and have to follow all sorts of protocols in certain cases that lead to drug convictions

              heck, the majority of drug cases i deal with are prescription diversions, forged scripts, etc. and in nearly every one a MD gives a statement for prosecution. they are KEY to drug cases

              the WOD is ultimately the fault of the legislature. it’s really that simple

              1. At some point, somebody has to accept some responsibility.

                Tell us – do you think that LE’s that are pulled over for traffic violations are ticketed at the same rate as the rest of the citizens?

                If not, then please tell us why that professional courtesy outranks the dogged determination to enforce the will of the legislature?

                1. Forget it, Apogee,

                  dunphy will never accept any personal responsibility for the harm he does, and his apologetics on behalf of Holder is a sort of Atlantic Wall in that defense.

                  While it can be amusing to watch his mental gymnastics to blame everything on voters, ultimately you are wasting your time.

                  dunphy will bash skulls for the state until the day he dies or is too broken to be of use to them. The gang is his family, and that’s that.

                  1. tarran|6.11.11 @ 8:53AM|#

                    Forget it, Apogee,

                    Thanks, tarran, but you’re mistaken if you think that I comment here simply to influence the thinking of those to whom I’m responding.

              2. “the WOD is ultimately the fault of the legislature. it’s really that simple”

                But, but…since we have a representative form of government…and the legislature does the bidding of the electorate…and the electorate is us…you’ve turned one bogeyman into millions! Do you know how inconvenient that is? Instead of presenting my thesis in the form of “Fuck you, Holder! Fuck you with a rhinoceros horn!”, I have to consider “democracy” itself. When will I have time to watch seasons one through ten of South Park? This is unacceptable. Fuck you, Holder! Fuck you with Eichmann’s dick!


                1. Wow, and when a legislator I support actually gets into office, your argument might actually make sense!

                  Moreover, given the vast amount of propaganda put out by dunphy’s gang in favor of the War on (some) drugs, the notion that the citizenry of the United States collectively decided to sacrifice their freedom, prosperity and security to prevent certain minorities from enjoying mind-altering substances is charmingly simplistic.

                  Finally, decent people have the option of not facilitating the criminal acts proposed by the vulgar masses. When the government behaves immorally, decent men have a moral duty to not participate.

                  The people who choose to join the government, and choose to engage in these despicable acts are contemptible. Much better that the proponents of the War on (Some) Drugs could do nothing but shake in impotent rage because nobody would do their bidding.

                  And that belief is not childish. It is the belief of a mature person who accepts responsibility for their actions.

                  I argue that the childish philosophy is one that refuses to do anything but go along with the mob, in effect saying “everyone else is doing it” and “I’ll stop after they stop”.

                2. Never seen it. Is it as good as The Simpsons?

              3. it’s a response to the ridiculous attitude that nobody can work in law enforcement (eg holder) w/o being guilty in the WOD since they at least partially take part in the WOD

                You know who else was just following orders?

  14. It was dark when I woke. This is a ray of susnihne.collezione hogan

  15. I hope the drug dealers in season six go Galt

  16. Does it have to be a serious reconsideration? Come on Holder, at least fake it for us.

  17. …reminds me of Cavanaugh and Jerry Brown. Cavanaugh is stood up like a potted plant expecting Jerry Brown to do something to fix California’s economy. Holder will never follow through, Suderman — DEA/BAT/DHS/ICE raids commence.

  18. What says nanny state more than getting a ticket for riding a bike in a skirt.


  19. Let’s say that Congress found both its brains and its gonads, and legalized pot. Would we want Holder to “exercise his discretion” with or without the POTUS to crack down on pot?

    1. Use his discretion to prosecute someone for a legal activity? Maybe your question came out a little garbled.

  20. Perhaps Holder just gave Simon an idea for a series about the hypocrites in the Attorney General’s office.

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