The Wire: Season 3 (HBO, 2004)

Stringer Bell falls, Tommy Carcetti rises, and host of other dynamic events occur in the masterful and brutal Season 3 which focuses almost entirely on the theme of loyalty. Most distinctively, the show moves away from the police procedural angle and toward political jockeying, both on the streets and at City Hall, showing how similar politicians and gangsters can be. Loyalties are tested in every setting, from the conflict between new hood Marlo Stanfield and the Barksdale Crew, to the upcoming race for Mayor of Baltimore, which has vast repercussions from top to bottom. The Wire takes it’s time in developing these complex relationships and improves on Season 2’s somewhat stale re-visioning and breaks new ground with intricate arenas outside but equally important to the CID Unit. After thirty episodes or so, The Wire stands far and above all cop shows because it looks at the connection between all social and cultural institutions, showing the contradictions of power and the citizens who get lost in the shuffle, no matter how brutal the sight.

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