Toronto Mike

The Wire Season Four: A Review

The Wire

Last night, I wrapped up episode 13 from Season Four of HBO's The Wire.  That was the season finale and the 50th episode overall.

Season One was all about the Barksdale Organization and we spent those first 12 episodes on the streets of Baltimore and in the pit with Avon's crew.  Season Two focused on the Baltimore port and an international smuggling organization known as "The Greeks".  In Season Three, we returned to the streets, spending more time with the Barksdale organization and watching the rise of the Stanfield organization. Season Four was all about the kids.

That's not exactly true.  The Wire is never all about anything that specific.  That's the beauty of this series, we focus on the kids and the schools but we don't lose sight of the Barksdale Organization, the Stanfield Organization, the Baltimore police department or the politicians.  Every season has had a different focus while remaining true to the overall fabric - everything is connected and there's always a ripple effect.

The first three seasons were frighteningly good but season four is probably the best of the bunch.  We became emotionally invested in the lives of Dukie, Namond, Randy and Michael.  Meanwhile, our favourites are still there.  For me, that's Omar, Cutty, Bodie, Bubbles, Freamon, Bunk and Jimmy McNulty,

What other show would have the courage to take their premiere flawed good guy character, Jimmy McNulty, clean him up and take him off-screen for the bulk of a season?  It would be like taking Hawkeye on M*A*S*H, moving him to the 4078th and keeping the focus on the 4077th.  It would be like moving Sam Malone upstairs to Melville's Seafood and keeping the show with Cliff and Norm at Cheers.

But it worked.  It all works.  It's a far better show than I expected and I was expecting greatness.  I'm just sad I only have one season to go.

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