The Wire: Season 4 (HBO, 2006)

The series hits new peaks in Season 4, focusing on the failing Baltimore education system and and it’s complex relationship with the booming drug trade. When disgraced Detective Roland Pryzbylewski enters Patrick Tillman Middle School as a teacher, he gets a first hand look at the learning process under constant attack by outside influences. This new environment for conflict introduces an astounding group of young characters, one a child from a past enforcer, the others offspring of drug addicts and foster parents, all attempting to find an identity. The options become wonderfully complex as these children find adult voices in educators (Prez, Colvin), cops (McNulty, Carver) and gangsters (Chris, Marlo), all soothing their uncertainties toward the future in varying ways. The role of the mentor dominates Season 4, making these episodes the most fascinating and intricate yet. Both tragedy and celebration pop up in the finale, representing the push pull relationship between the community, City Hall and the education system, showing how well-meaning solutions for reform often contradict each other. The failures and successes of the “no child left behind” policy are systemic of the criminal violence and manipulation perpetrated on the young minds of a particular environment. In the end, the “youngin’s” pay with their future.

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