I was underwhelmed by the first couple of episodes of "The Wire," but after renting a few more via Netflix, I'm beginning to see why this show has attracted a loyal following.
While I still think Dominic West looks a little too much like a J.C. Penney model to be fully convincing (and his divorced, hard-drinking character is somewhat cliched), the rest of the cast and the consistent writing overcome that minor quibble.
Another observation: Like "Deadwood" (which I never liked), "The Wire" can be comical in its over-the-top profanity. The writers seem almost to be mocking themselves in one five-minute scene that involves the use of nothing but the F-word and its variations. It was amusing enough, but I wonder if such a self-referential stunt really serves the larger story.