BALTIMORE, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Baltimore Sun television critic David Zurawik Sunday slammed scenes from HBO's "The Wire," set in a thinly veiled mock-up of the newspaper's newsroom.
"The newsroom scenes are the Achilles' heel of Season 5," Zurawik wrote of the first seven episodes of the popular police drama, which were made available to critics for previewing.
"With mainstream entertainment sacrificed to journalistic shop talk," he wrote, "fact and fiction are mashed up in the confusing manner of docudrama."
He said part of the problem is the acting of former Sun employees cast in the show -- including former columnist Michael Olesker and former feature reporter Laura Lippman, now a successful fiction writer and married to "The Wire" creator, former Sun reporter David Simon.
"They look like two people stuck in cement before the camera mercifully leaves them behind," the column says.
Perhaps the biggest problem, he said, is the simplistic portrayal of the media, which screens like a morality play full of one-dimensional good and bad characters.
"To say that even the most respected newspapers sometimes have ethical lapses will hardly be news to any HBO viewers who have ever heard of Jayson Blair and The New York Times."
Otherwise, he wrote, fans will enjoy the show's trademark drama.