Ed Burns is a television writer. He usually works with his writing partner David Simon. They have collaborated on The Corner and The Wire. Burns is a former Baltimore police detective and a public school teacher and often draws upon this experience for his writing.
Burns has said that he stumbled into teaching with little preparation because of the intense demand for teachers in inner-city schools. Burns taught seventh grade. Psychologically, he compared the experience of teaching to Vietnam. He found the experience profoundly challenging because of the emotional damage that the vast majority of his students had already experienced before reaching the classroom. He saw his primary role as instilling caring behavior in his pupils. He felt his major impact was in giving the children an example of an "adult who's consistent, who's always there, who always comes through with what he said, then that's a new world for them."
In 1995, he co-authored, with Simon, The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood, the true account of a West Baltimore community dominated by a heavy drug market. Simon credits his editor John Sterling with the suggestion that he observe a single drug corner. It was named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times. An adaptation of the book, also called The Corner, was produced as a six-hour TV miniseries for HBO. The show received three Emmy Awards.