George P. Pelecanos

worked extensively on the HBO series The Wire.

Hosted AMAs

Highest Rated Comments

georgepelecanos677 karma

Probably the night we shot the scene between Stringer Bell and Avon Barksdale (Episode 311, Middle Ground), on the roof, when they talk about their friendship and childhoods. They have betrayed one another but there's real love there. It was a beautiful night in Baltimore and the actors and the director, Joe Chappelle, really brought their game. It's my favorite scene of the series.

georgepelecanos281 karma

We worked it out together in the writers room. A lot of discussion and sometimes arguments. When it got heated, it came from a place of passion, and I think it was reflected in the final product. Yes, often times I had to fight for what I thought was right in a script. And sometimes David stood firm and saved me from my own worst instincts. I was given the penultimate episodes--the ones where bad, violent shit happens--because David thought I did a good job of similar scenes in my books. I did not write the celebrated chess scene; that was David, I believe. I wrote the deaths of Wallace, Frank Sobotka, Stringer Bell, and Snoop. Also, I wrote the scene in the park between Bunk and Omar. That, and the rooftop scene between Stringer and Avon, are my personal favorites of what I actually wrote. There are others, like the paper bag speech written by Richard Price in Season 3, that I'm still in awe of.

georgepelecanos259 karma

I like Game of Thrones. too. David Benioff, who writes the show, is a friend of mine. And he's married to Amanda Peet. Some guys just get the golden horseshoe.

georgepelecanos225 karma

We had five stories to tell, and to their credit HBO kept us on the air to do it. In truth, the ratings did not justify keeping us further, but the aftermarket sales in video, domestic and international, made the show hugely profitable for HBO. We would have liked to look at the Latino culture in Baltimore, and tackle immigration, but we ran out of time. It's funny, Ed Burns wanted to do a season about horse racing, the track, and organized crime. It's all connected in Maryland, but again, no time. Now, David Milch has done it with Luck on HBO. I watched the first ep, and I think it's fantastic.

georgepelecanos210 karma

Treat writing as you would any job. Get dressed in the morning and go to work, whether you want to or not. When I'm writing a book I write seven days a week, day and night shifts. Even on bad days, I put something down on paper. If you do that, there is no such thing as writer's block.

georgepelecanos200 karma

Thank you.

georgepelecanos146 karma

My personal opinion is that we were at the top of our game in Seasons 3 and 4. I feel like there was good work done in all the seasons, but those two were where we most successfully accomplished what we had set out to do.
Most people don't use the expression "cop" in Baltimore. They say "police."

georgepelecanos133 karma

One day Ed Burns and I were having a meeting in the basement of a church in Canton, and one of our security guys brought Felicia by to meet us. We went outside and talked to her in the middle of the street for about five minutes. After she left, we looked at each other and said, "We've got to put her in the show." Her first scene, we gave her a couple of lines, and we knew. She was all in.

georgepelecanos120 karma

David and I had met only once. One day we were at a funeral for mutual friend and he asked me for a lift to the wake. On the way there he told me about a pilot, called The Wire, that he had sold to HBO. He said he had read one of my books, The Sweet Forever, and he was wondering if I'd like to write a script for Season 1 of his show. I was familiar with his work on The Corner and Homicide, so I knew his talent and I knew where he stood. I said, Why not?

georgepelecanos89 karma

Pretty ambiguous, I admit, but then we always made viewers work to figure out the show. Lester Freamon is going to leave the force on his own terms. McNulty returns to Baltimore because he can't quit it, even with its flaws.