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This review is from: The Wire: Season 3 (DVD)
Seasons 1, 2 and 4 lend themselves to solitary viewing one can do without having seen prior seasons and not getting the feeling you missed crucial plot elements.
Seasons 3 and 5 of "The Wire" conclude cliffhanger endings that will only add up if you watched prior seasons.
David Simon planned a five-part, five-season series here but by 2004, he wasn't completely sure if they'd be renewed yet (of course, they were), so he wrote this season powerful and complete enough to be a series end if necessary.
What viewers get is a masterfully written adventure that documents the downfall of Season 1's West Baltimore drug empire and the rise of a new one, a careful examination of the community's War on Drugs while also detailing just how screwed up and ineffective some of the city's basic institutions (City Hall, The Police) are, bogged down by politics, bureaucracy and conflicting interests.
Season 4 (Baltimore School System) is my personal favorite but Season Three is probably the most powerful of all five seasons because you see the great storylines at all levels -- the Streets, City Hall, the Police -- and get to see how clearly what effects/influences one directly effects and influences the others.
Chalked full of social commentary, bitter endings for some of the series' most popular characters and poetic justice for others.
A bonus to purchasing this Season's DVDs are the Special Features Q&A with the shows' writers, producers and cast members Idris Elba (Stringer Bell), Jamie Hector (Marlo Stanfield) and Seth Gilliam (Sgt. Carver).
"The Wire" is so beloved for its presentation of complex moral issues, multi-dimensional character representations and realistic portrayals of the hypocritical world we live in. This Q&A gives you an idea just how passionate fans of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds were (and continue to be) of this great, great show.