David Simon is the series creator, head writer, show runner and executive producer. Alongside Simon much of the creative team behind The Wire are alumni of Homicide: Life on the Street and Emmy-winning miniseries The Corner. The show's other executive producers are Robert F. Colesberry and Nina Kostroff Noble. Karen L. Thorson, Ed Burns and George Pelecanos have worked on all five seasons of the series.
The Corner veteran, Robert F. Colesberry, was executive producer for the first two seasons and directed the season 2 finale before passing away due to complications from heart surgery in 2004. He is credited by the rest of the creative team as having a large creative role for a producer, and Simon credits him for achieving the show's realistic visual feel. He also had a small recurring role as Detective Ray Cole. Colesberry's wife Karen L. Thorson joined him on the production staff. A third producer on The Corner Nina Kostroff Noble also stayed with the production staff for The Wire rounding out the initial four-person team. Following Colesberry's death she became the show's second executive producer alongside Simon.
Stories for the show are often co-written by Ed Burns, a former Baltimore homicide detective and public school teacher who has worked with Simon on other projects including The Corner. Burns also became a producer on The Wire in the shows fourth season. Writer George Pelecanos served as a producer for the third season.
Playwright and television writer/producer Eric Overmyer joined the crew of The Wire in the shows fourth season as a consulting producer and writer. He had also previously worked on Homicide. Overmyer was brought into the full-time production staff to replace Pelecanos who scaled back his involvement to concentrate on his next book and worked on the fourth season solely as a writer.
David Simon has served as the series head writer throughout its run. Ed Burns is the series second most prolific writer. George Pelecanos has also written for the series throughout its run and contributed the teleplay for the penultimate episode of each series. Pelecanos has commented that he was attracted to the project because of the opportunity to work with Simon.
Staff writer Rafael Alvarez penned several episodes' scripts, as well as the series guidebook The Wire: Truth Be Told. Alvarez is a colleague of Simon's from The Sun and a Baltimore native with working experience in the port area. Another city native and independent filmmaker, Joy Lusco Kecken, has also written for the show in each of its first three seasons. Baltimore Sun writer and political journalist William F. Zorzi joined the writing staff in the third season and brought a wealth of experience to the shows examination of Baltimore politics.
Writers for The Wire include three acclaimed crime fiction writers from outside of Baltimore: Pelecanos from Washington, Richard Price from the Bronx and Dennis Lehane from Boston. Reviewers drew comparisons between Price's works (particularly Clockers) and The Wire even before he joined.
Emmy-award winner, Homicide and The Corner writer and college friend of Simon David Mills also joined the writing staff in the fourth season. Eric Overmyer and playwright Kia Corthron joined the writing staff in the fourth season.
Homicide alumnus Clark Johnson directed the pilot and second episode and then returned to direct the series finale. He joined the starring cast in the fifth season as Gus Haynes. Johnson directed several acclaimed episodes of The Shield. Tim Van Patten, an Emmy winner who has worked on every season of The Sopranos, often directs the season finale. The directing has been praised for its uncomplicated and subtle style.
- Pat Moran handles the Baltimore casting. Alexa L. Fogle handles casting for major roles.
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- Alvarez 10.
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