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‘The Wire’ cast members come to Harvard

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The HBO series “The Wire” is more than just a TV show for Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree. It’s five seasons worth of teaching moments. Ogletree began watching “The Wire” at the urging of the Rev. Eugene Rivers, and became so addicted to the show he created a course about it. “ ‘The Wire’ documents many of the problems of American society, issues ranging from education and public safety to employment, housing, and health care,” says Ogletree, who was one of President Obama’s professors at HLS. As you might imagine, “The Wire” course, which isn’t restricted to law students, is enormously popular. (About 60 students are enrolled this semester and a few dozen more audit the course.) This week, Ogletree arranged for several members of the cast to speak to the class, including Sonja Sohn, who played Kima Greggs, Jamie Hector (Marlo Stanfield), Gbenga Akinnagbe (Chris Partlow), Chad Coleman (Cutty Wise), and Larry D. Andrews (Donnie). “There’s an amazing confluence between the subjects confronted on the show and the issues that future lawyers and public officials and policy-makers are going to confront,” says Ogletree. “The show peels away what’s going on in our community. You can be on the 50th floor of a building in metropolis America and never see what’s going on.” In case you’re wondering, there’s no exam, but students do have to write a 25-page paper. “They have to pick an issue from the show, and explain how we deal with it,” says Ogletree. “It’s easy to identify problems. It’s tougher to solve them.”

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