is the word I'd use to describe what I've seen of the wire so far (through ep. 5). I haven't finished watching, so I didn't want to read others' posts on The Wire. I apologize for any repetition. Also, I feel like I haven't watched enough to really analyze this well, so I'll just talk about a few things that caught my attention.
I love the details, and yes, I am fondling them. I keep finding myself moving the tracker back a few frames just to re-watch or re-listen to something (mostly when my roommate is on the phone). I really liked the whistling of "Farmer in the Dell" when Omar is moving in to rob/mug those teenage boys. I like the Twister mat on the floor when Bubbles goes to visit his friend. I like the stuffed penguin (I own one exactly like it), which is a character that Hello Kitty has been known to hang out with, sitting on the table next to D's uncle when he visits him at the home. I don't know if they have any true relevance, but I really appreciate that the people involved with the production of this series really put some effort into these random, minor things. It's these little, minuscule touches that make The Wire seem all the more realistic; it's the details that make it resonate.
I also really like how there are no clear-cut heroes and villains. One example that rings in my mind is when Patty is knocked on his back and seriously injured. Keema and the other officers immediately spring to his aid, and beat the shit out of the kid (who is also definitely at fault) in plain sight of other people in the community. On one hand, the officers are looking out for their own, but on the other, they are clearly misusing their power. A simple arrest would have sufficed; the brutality was not needed.
On the other side, D is clearly not cold-hearted, and Wallace is clever and almost has a child-like (we forget he is a child) innocence. He plays with action figures and knows Hamilton wasn't a President and oh, he deals drugs. Also, I haven't seen any of the people who deal the drugs actually shoot up. McNulty, with his clear alcohol problem is way more of an addict than any of them, yet he holds a socially acceptable job.
At times this gritty role reversal and challenge of stereotypes may be hard to swallow, but for someone who's about to take an exam on prejudice and racial bias in the media in both the coverage of minorities and in the industry itself toward African American reporters, this duality that The Wire presents, this equality, is refreshing, no matter how heavy the vehicle through which it is portrayed.