Man's Gotta Have A Code

It's a non-selective Sunday without a great deal of intriguing matchups (sorry those looking for an Avalanche-Stars breakdown), so my attention turns to the grand finale of what has been hailed by a great many pundits as the Greatest TV Show of All-Time. I'm not qualified to make that judgment, but The Wire easily ranks at the top in my list.

There's been a welter of discussions about whether this final season has betrayed the spirit of the show or just plain not worked as drama. I would say, despite some of the ax-grinding nature of the newspaper storyline, that it works just fine.

I have to admit that I'm biased in its favor. I've worked, albeit as a low-level functionary, at the two newspapers skewered in the final season, The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post, and I've been privy to the death rattle of newspapering that's depicted therein. The show's creator, like me, went to Maryland and wrote for The Diamondback. I grew up in the area it covers. I get all the esoteric references. Hell, one of my closest friends is an actor on the show (he's the one who killed Bodie).

Nevertheless, I can say without qualm that's it's been a towering achievement of journalistic fiction. It refused to make many facile distinctions between good and bad, not because it's relativistic but because it's realistic. And with that, it's given us the best testament of a dying city struggling for life.

(Image courtesy New York Magazine)