Structural Diversions and the Protagonist
of The Wire
Heather Sullivan
he Wire is revolutionary in many ways: it
addresses the issues of a justice system society
does not want to believe can fail it, introduces
characters whose identities are complex and
multifaceted, and does not give any easy answers for
entrenched, systematic problems. The final season of
the show is no different. In fact, some viewers might
even be frustrated by the conclusion to such an epic
show; in many ways, it feels like nothing has changed.
The finale ends quite similarly to the previous seasons;
after a messy conclusion to the primary work of the
detectives in the particular season, there is a montage
of the characters the season has examined. In this
sequence, there is always a feeling of a return to
normalcy, a sense that little to nothing has changed.
There are a few differences in Season Five’s
concluding montage, but it follows the same general
pattern of the previous seasons. In addition to these
interesting season conclusions, the individual episodes
in The Wire have distinctly different endings in
comparison to other television dramas. The Wire is
often described as novelistic rather than episodic, and
this distinction feels unusual to the audience. There
often appears to be no climax or cliffhangers at the end
of an episode as the audience has come to expect from
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