I would also just say that another reason why The Wire is essential viewing is that it takes an institution-based understanding of the problems affecting urban America. David Simon has said that he finds comparisons between The Wire and Shakespeare or The Wire and Dickens misleading, because the individual has too much agency in Dickens and Shakespeare. He prefers to think of the show as Greek Tragedy, with Institutions (The Police Force, The Mayoralty, Newspapers, Poverty etc.) standing in for the Gods. Individuals can try to act within it, with limited success, because ultimately, we aren't as powerful as we think we are.