Author:Suderman, Peter
Position:TV - Television program review - Brief article

In his revered HBO series The Wire, creator David Simon took a panoramic look at Baltimore and its civic institutions, starting with cops and street-level drug dealers, then moving upward and outward to encompass schools, ports, media, and governing institutions. It was a deeply human portrayal of an urban landscape wracked by political dysfunction, economic divides, and corruption. But it was also about the difficulty of stamping out market activity, even--especially--for socially disfavored products like drugs.

In The Deuce, Simon and crime novelist George Pelecanos take a similar approach to the sex trade in New York. The second season brings the show into the disco era of the late 70s, following a sprawling cast of sex workers, vice cops, pornographers, mob kingpins, barmen, and more as they navigate legal, commercial, and cultural shifts in the smut business. From dirty cops to prostitutes and their pimps to porno producers, nearly all of the characters are, in some sense, entrepreneurs. Much of what they do is ugly, especially where it concerns the treatment of women, but...

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