In an era where weeknight television has been saturated with makeshift reality shows and uninspired dramas, there has been a show for the past six years that has truly represented the phrase “where art imitates life.”
The critically-acclaimed series, “The Wire,” gives an authentic depiction of urban America from the drug alleys and decaying public school systems to the heights of political power. Since the first season, the check-and-balance relationship between the inner-city’s most influential institutions have been at the forefront of the television series.
In “The Wire,” the police department engages in a continuous battle with the infamous criminal organizations around the city. The attempts are often derailed by the hierarchy of political powerhouses for a number of reasons, usually monetary. Each season shines a spotlight on a particular aspect of the community; from the rise and fall of the Barksdale drug operation in Season One to the impossible task of teaching the city’s youth at public schools in Season Four. Where “The Wire” shines brightest is its ability to create intertwining themes with the three-dimensional characters who have a story all their own: drug lords are gunned down, politicians scheme for personal profit, kids are forced to be “corner boys” by their own parents, and officers dabble in secret affairs on an honest day’s work.On the heels of the last episode, the final season of the series has been amazing, intricately weaving society’s institutions with one fabricated story that sends Baltimore City into a whirlwind of lies, deceit, murder and mystery.
Due to budget problems in the city, the police department is forced to cease investigation on the unstoppable drug lord Marlo Stanfield and his connection with 22 murders in vacant row houses from the previous season. The department is distraught with the lack of resources and overtime needed to close these cases. One detective in particular, Jimmy McNulty, decides to take matters into his own hands and stop Marlo’s organization by creating an imaginary case against a serial killer who preys on the homeless. McNulty tampers with evidence from past cases, creates new ones by sabotaging fresh murders, and plans to use the money and resources given to his fictitious case to fund a separate illegal case with his partner, Detective Lester Freamon, built against Marlo. The imaginary one funds the money, while the illegal one eventually makes the arrest.
Meanwhile, Marlo uses brute force and fear to capitalize on his operation throughout the season. His ruthless yet strategic murder of Proposition Joe, the key middleman of the criminal organization the “Co-Op,” awards him a direct connection to the Greeks who bring the heroine into the city. The Greeks communicate with Marlo via cell phone picture-messaging of clocks, signifying specific re-up locations based on the placement of the hands.
The turning point arrives when former police sergeant Thomas Hauk steals Marlo’s phone number from his defense attorney and gives it to his old friends at the department. Lester and McNulty seize the opportunity and decide to up the ante to catch Marlo.
To sensationalize his case, McNulty teams with reporter Scott Templeton, who further fabricates the story in the Baltimore Sun newspaper. McNulty gets the press he needs, and Scott gets the recognition he desires by pretending to have the “serial killer” call him and explain the murders.
As Detective Lester grows closer to discovering the purpose behind Marlo’s cell phone use, money and equipment is desperately needed. This eventually transforms McNulty’s proposed “homeless serial killer,” to a “homeless serial killer who bites his victims, contacts reporters and sends pictures via cell phone.”
The more twisted the situation gets the more press it receives, which affects Baltimore’s Mayor Thomas Carcetti, who’s looking to run for Governor. Money and resources are exhausted into this case in order to save face in the eyes of the public.
McNulty ultimately receives more attention than he bargained for as every ounce of energy in the department is exercised for this hoax. This leads to certain confessions to his closest partners, particularly Detective Kima Greggs, who reveals his secret to the rest. The previous episode ends with a $16 million drug bust of the Stanfield organization as well as the dangerously closer discovery of the truth about the serial killer.
But this is just the main story. The multi-layered drama continues to unfold throughout the season as fan-favorites of the show are killed off one by one, like the shotgun-toting Robin Hood, Omar Little and stone-cold lady-killer Snoop, leaving audiences on the edge of their seats awaiting the final episode. Whatever the outcome plays out to be, it will certainly produce one of the best hours of television ever and bring an end to a tremendous show.