Season 1, Episode 6, “The Wire,” might be the most essential episode in The Wire. It’s not necessarily the best episode, or the most exciting. In fact, it is relatively slow, with the action primarily revolving around the nuanced politics of the crew and the detail. But it contains several things that are emblematic of the series’ most fundamental qualities. For one, the episode provides our first disturbing look into the home lives of the project children, and the practical and ethical challenges that they face every day. It also presents, in the form of the Rawls/Daniels conflict, a perfect example of the bureaucratic roadblocks to quality police work. The episode also features a circular structure, ending where it began just as the entire series does.
A piece-by-piece, episode-by-episode look at HBO's modern masterpiece