Kima Greggs

I love me my Wire, and I've been enjoying the Kotlowitz/James dialogues on the show in Slate but these praise of Kima as a favorite character on the show cannot stand:

Yes, she's beautiful and has that sexy, smoky voice. But she's also another great character who defies stereotypes. A gay detective who loves "men's work" to the detriment of her home life, but who also has to weather the fact that she's a woman in a man's world. She does it with humor and a take-no-prisoners toughness.

Kima, in my opinion, only defies stereotypes insofar as the writers have a weak grasp on what it is stereotypical lesbians would be like. It's almost as if they decided this major character should be a woman, then realized none of the main writers knew how to write a textured woman character, then decided not to add anyone to the staff who was up to the job, then decided the best way to handle the situation would be to write her just like a man, then hit upon the genius idea that they could justify this by making her a lesbian since, after all, lesbians are into chicks too!

Because they're actually brilliant writers, the people in charge manage to actually pull this gambit off without detracting from the show in an especially obvious way, but it's a pretty sorry effort. The other women on the show, meanwhile, tend strongly to either be total ciphers or else (Brianna, De'Londa) these crudely demonic sorts in a way that's badly out of step with the portrayal of the male criminal element. And then there's Snoop, about whom I guess I should think more.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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