Do you speak The Wire?

01 April 2009

We're feeling obsessed with all things American today, not least much-hyped crime drama The Wire – which just happens to be President Obama's favourite TV show. Two episodes have already aired on BBC Two, but did you tune in? What did you make of it?

Well, we've watched the box sets and if – like us – you're feeling a little baffled after just two episodes, trust us – it's soooo worth hanging in there. Also, when you watch, you must pay attention – no painting toenails allowed! Just sit back, listen carefully and employ our helpful cheat's guide to Baltimore slang.

Eyeball witness: The holy grail for police – someone who actually saw the crime (or will say they did, anyway...)

Fiend: Drug addict

Mope: Police term for drug dealer

Corner: Where much of The Wire's action takes place – a street corner ‘owned' by a gang – where they sell their drugs. It's staffed by ‘corner boys', who are often very young.

Civilian: A person not involved with the drugs trade.

Carrying weight: Doing jail time (rather than cooperating with the police to get a sentence reduced)

Shorty: Child or woman.

Stash house: The place where drugs are stored and kept. Threatening a gang's stash house is the equivalent of declaring war.

Cheese: Money. And in The Wire it's all about money – the senior drug dealers come across as some of the most efficient businessmen in the US.


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