I’m in one of those phases where I don’t write, I read. Except, instead of reading, I’m watching THE WIRE. But, if you’re gonna procrastinate with television, it’s the best television. After the first season, they had a definite plan. Things start to twist together in very deliberate ways. Like a good long book.

I’m on the fourth season now. There’s a moment when Marlo sees Michael for the first time. It’s played quiet, almost silent. Michael stands defiant in front of him, and Marlo respects that. He almost smiles. He looks back to Chris, his number two, his right hand, then back at Michael. Marlo recognises where the two of them are the same. He sees it before the audience sees it.

That moment now, after I’ve watched the whole series and I know where Michael ends up, that moment made me cry.

The fourth season isn’t my favourite. I prefer the second, with it’s defined characterisation and plot. The second season feels like a series in and of itself. I like the fifth, the season about the newspaper. It’s the show I’ve always wanted, with the added bonus of being super-meta about the whole series. To date, one of the top five scenes of THE WIRE is McNulty sitting in an FBI conference room, listening to their profilers recite his own life back at him, in the guise of a serial killer. I like the third a lot. I love the first for giving me these characters, no matter how many times it took me to get past the first slow episode.

But the fourth season is hard to watch again. I don’t like Namond, but I don’t think we’re supposed to. And I can’t handle what happens to Dukie. I can’t stand to watch Prez try so hard to save him when we know how far he’s going to fall. The fourth season hurts more than all the rest. But that’s THE WIRE. They know you need that bad stuff to make the good stuff feel earned.