Welcome to the University of Richmond and the First Year Seminar on “Watching the Wire”. I’m one of your co-instructors, Andrea Y. Simpson, Associate Professor of Political Science. Erik Nielson, Associate Professor and Assistant Chair of Liberal Arts, is our guest co-instructor this year. I look forward to teaching it every year, and this year “The Wire” resonates with the state of our cities more than ever before. Be warned, future “Wireheads”–this is not a series about gangsters. It is without a doubt entertaining, but it is also a reflection, a contemplation, a protest, and a critique of mainstream views on urban crime, policing, politics, education, housing, and the economy. Strap yourselves in–prepare for what we hope will be a challenging, stimulating, and revelatory experience in media as a tool for social change.