Love film has a published an interview with the Wire author Ed Burns.
LF: How far were any of the characters or cases in The Wire based on real people and situations?
EB: None of them were based on real people and real situations. I knew that world intimately and I did a lot of wire tap cases – with warrants too, I mean legally! – and I know the moves. I spent thousands of hours with all sorts of gunmen and drug dealers. So creating stories is easy because you’re drawing on all that wealth and then layering the details, again, because you’ve seen it.
Check out the full interview at Lovefilm