Well, those of you who haven’t seen the Wire are probably bored of hearing people spout off about how it’s the best thing on TV. But it really is the best thing on TV. I’ve already said so here.
Nothing touches it for realism, for characterisation across a simply immense cast, for depth of investigation. They never rest on their laurels either, always looking with each series at a new area of the system that makes Baltimore work (or more often, fail to). The first series looked at crime and police, the second added the docks and urban decay into the mix, the third correction and rehabilitation, the fourth politics and education. The fifth brings in the newspaper system, the news, the role of truth and lies in politics, and the way that people use stories for their own ends. It’s incredible the way that within a few scenes in the first episode, they sketch out the staff and structure of the Baltimore Sun newspaper with the deftest of touches, and create enough to make a compelling show on its own while simultaneously advancing the plot and shining a light on all kinds of other areas of the city.
I wasn’t completely convinced by this final series at the half-way mark, in fact after the seventh episode of ten I was concerned they might have lost their way – some elements of the plot seemed a little far-fetched, a couple of the characters they were focusing on had become a little irritating (McNulty in particular). Then the last three episodes were absolutely fantastic once again, and brought the whole thing together as they always seem to do. It’s grim, it’s hard, it’s wonderfully pessimistic about the nature of power and the workings of politics, but at the same time it’s not at all without messages of hope. No character in it is simple, no problem has simple answers, people who are utterly destructive in some circumstances can be heroes in others. There was a brilliant circularity to the whole story, as seen in five seasons, as characters come and go, but the roles they play in the great scheme of crime, policing, education and politics are eternal…
Recommended pretty much beyond anything else ever.