Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 116

actor who portrays McNulty, is credited first each season of the series, and it is his character’s actions that instigate most of The Wire’s overarching plotlines. McNulty is only absent for half of the fourth season because West himself requested to spend more time with his family (Barton, “‘The Wire’: The Dominic West Perspective”). Omar is one of The Wire’s most prominent black characters, similarly appearing in each season of the series. While initially a recurring character, Omar was promoted to main character from the third season onwards. However, out of The Wire’s entire ensemble, Omar is unquestionably the character to have received the most academic attention, specifically for how he subverts popular stereotypical expectations of black masculinity in television (Johnson Jr. 334). In contrast, McNulty displays many characteristics of a “macho male,” a stereotypical model of masculinity common in police dramas. This model of masculinity, which often manifests as the dominant hegemonic model in certain environments (Connell and Messerschmidt 840), is characterized by several exaggerated, narrowly defined traits: Characteristics of the macho orientation are a lack of empathy or sensitivity especially in regards to sex; pursuing excitement, adventure, and sensation seeking; and espousing the belief that violence is normative and acceptable for men. (Scharrer 617) In The Wire, most white characters occupy positions of institutionalized power, primarily in law enforcement. In contrast, the vast majority of The Wire’s black characters are criminals, specifically drug dealers. However, a historical trend in American police dramas is that macho models of masculinity are displayed by both the police and the ܚ[Z[[^H\YH N KHY][ۂ]H\H\[H۝[Y\΂H\WH\\XX[H]X]HHX\[[]Y\[ܚ\X]\H]\H8'\HX\[[x'H]H]Y[[HX[HXHܘ\[[HX[HYX[[›ܙ[^][ۜˈو\Hܛ\\^\\[BX\[[K[][\\X\[[KZ]ˈ \N B[\X[\H[YH\\[X\[[HZ][\\^YBXXX\[[]H\H[Z[\H[YY[[ۙYX[[Y\X[›و[XۛZX]\XܚXHH8'[x'B[[وX\[[]H [X\[[ۈ N [ MN KX\[Z[\H\\[Y[H\KHY\XY\\[][ۈوXX\[[]Y\[[\[]\[ۂ\Y[ܚ]X^Y\ZY[[8'[X[ۜ\]Y[\܂X[^][ۈو]YY[HY[X\[\[܈HX\[ŒLM