The Wire is of one of the most critically acclaimed shows in TV history. Here's how you can binge-watch all its five seasons for free
The Wire is a TV series that focuses on the illegal drug trade taking place in the inner-city of Baltimore, Maryland. Created by author and former police reporter David Simon, the first season of this crime drama aired in 2002, and its fifth and final season aired in early 2008.
As the distribution of narcotics continues to spread and a notorious mid-level drug dealer manages to avoid a murder charge, detective James McNulty (Dominic West) is assigned to lead a joint homicide and narcotics team in an attempt to finally bring down the renowned drug kingpin, D’Angelo “D” Barksdale.
Fans of show living in the UK, US and Canada will be pleased to hear that they can stream every episode of The Wire for free. In the UK, you can watch every episode of The Wire on Sky TV Box Sets or Now TV Entertainment Pass (free weeklong trial for new customers). Similarly, if you live in the US, you can watch the entire series on HBO Max, which also has a free weeklong trial for first-time customers.
While the show does feature an incredible recurring cast, each season of The Wire focuses on a different aspect of Baltimore’s many institutions, starting with the city’s drug trade in season one before addressing topics such as the print-based media and education in future seasons.
As such, the audience is constantly introduced to new characters, who are purposefully portrayed by actors who were often unheard of before. The show even went so far as to cast several prominent real-life Baltimore figures in order to authentically portray the city and culture of Baltimore.
While the show never managed to attract large audiences and viewer ratings like Lost or The Sopranos did at the time, The Wire is now widely regarded by fans and critics alike as one of the greatest TV shows of all time.
Praised for its depiction of Baltimore, the city’s illegal drug trade and the lives of the people it affects, the popularity The Wire now experiences should be all the reason you need to finally jump in and see what all the hubbub is about. It’s also never a bad time for die-hard fans to go back and rewatch an old favourite.
For anyone that wants to watch all five seasons and 60 episodes of this critically-acclaimed show, we’ve put together our own how-to-guide so you can do just that.
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How to watch The Wire for free in the UK: Now TV
The most convenient way to watch all five seasons of The Wire in the UK is by signing up to Now TV’s Entertainment Pass. This costs £9.99/mth, but comes with a one-week trial. While you probably won’t be able to watch all 60 episodes during this trial period, it’s still more than enough time for you to decide whether it’s something that you fancy going forward.
Of course, if you have Sky TV Box Sets you won’t even need this pass because you can instantly download and start watching all 60 episodes of The Wire on your TV. The only downside is that Sky TV contracts usually require an 18-month commitment up-front and new customers may also incur one-time setup fees.
How to watch The Wire for free in the US: HBO Max
The Wire was originally broadcast by HBO in the US, so it’s no surprise that the channel owns its digital rights as well. The Wire can be found on both of HBO’s streaming services: HBO Go and HBO Now. As explained in our article below discussing how to watch HBO shows, HBO Go is a free streaming service that’s provided for customers who purchase one of HBO’s cable subscriptions, so you can’t access it if you don’t have one.
Alternatively, there’s HBO Now, which is a standalone service that anyone can subscribe to for $14.99. Doing so will allow you to stream content on multiple devices, cancel at any time and, most importantly, lets you watch hundreds of series and movies exclusive to HBO, including The Wire. You even get a seven-day free trial, so if you realise you don’t quite fancy The Wire after all, you still have plenty of time to opt-out without being charged a penny.
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How to watch The Wire for free in Canada: Crave
If you happen to find yourself just a little bit north of the USA, your best bet to watch the show is the popular streaming service Crave. For $9.99 per month, not only can you watch The Wire, you will also be able to stream other incredible shows, like Westworld or Game of Thrones. When you subscribe, you will also get a month’s free trial, so you binge a good few seasons before the first payment is charged to your account.
How to watch The Wire in the UK: Amazon Prime Video
You can purchase all five seasons of The Wire on Amazon Prime Video. While it may not be the most cost-effective solution, you will never have to worry about losing access to the show due to streaming and licencing rights. You can buy individual episodes of The Wire for £2.49 each in HD, but the cheaper option is to purchase entire seasons. The first season is available for £19.99, while the other four seasons are available for around £25 each.
How to watch The Wire in the UK: Buy a boxset
If you’re not interested in spending nearly £120 to watch every season of The Wire on Amazon, you can just pay for a boxset of the series instead. This works out much cheaper because the Blu-Ray boxset of all five seasons costs £58, while the DVD of all five seasons of The Wire cost £47.
How to watch The Wire anywhere in the world
All five seasons of The Wire are available to stream or purchase online but only if you live in a country where you can use an appropriate service. If you find yourself travelling abroad but want to keep the series binge going, then your only option to watch the show is to use a reliable VPN service.
This will not only shield all your browsing traffic – meaning neither your ISP or any trackers will be able to know what you’re doing online – it can also trick your PC into allowing you to virtually browse from anywhere in the world that you want.
To help you get started, we’ve listed the best VPN services below. All you have to do is choose the one you want, change your location to the country you live in, then stream The Wire as if you had never left the comfort of your own home.
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Out of all the VPNs we’ve used, ExpressVPN is easily our favourite. With it, you can watch The Wire lag-free on any of the services we’ve mentioned above regardless of where you are browsing from. Not only is it the fastest VPN we’ve tested, it also has 24/7 customer support and useful online tutorials, so even if you run into any issues, help is usually only a few clicks or minutes away.
Another streaming-friendly VPN that we recommend is CyberGhost VPN. It can be used to encrypt your connection on up to seven devices, meaning you and a bunch of friends and family can all stream the show simultaneously. Even though it’s not as fast as ExpressVPN, it still manages to share many of the same brilliant features, including 24/7 customer support, useful tutorials and support for a wide range of devices.