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The Wire confused viewers and critics alike when it premiered more than 15 years ago on HBO. The episode ended without any sense of finality and left more curious questions than definitive answers. As the audience would come to learn and eventually crave, David Simon, the show’s creator, had a story to tell, and his relaying unfolded slowly, across the lifespan of five seasons and 60 hours. Each episode became akin to a chapter; watching and appreciating the show was like reading a great novel.
The similarities are no coincidence. Before turning to television, Simon authored two nonfiction books that serve as the origins of The Wire. He later recruited some of the finest crime novelists to write for the show. Here are some of those books—and a few others—that fit into any effort of understanding The Wire.
Featured Image: Johnny Nunez / Getty Images; Author Photo: Nicola Borland