Season three adds City Hall to the mix, looking in particular at the up-and-coming mayoral hopeful Tommy Carcetti as he plays all sides to get into a position of power.
Thus, the season is able to show how street-level policing is dependent on the whims of those higher up the food chain and examine the issue of reform. You're married and a date is a room at the Best Western with the blinds closed.
Season four is about education and continues to show Carcetti's rise as he runs for mayor, but a large chunk of the air time now also focuses on four young friends: Dukie, an impoverished son of junkies; Michael, a troubled victim of abuse who looks out for his younger brother; Namond, whose incarcerated father was a top enforcer for one of the large drug gangs brought down by the Major Crimes Unit; and Randy, an entrepreneurial hustler just trying to get by and put all his business ideas into practice. Now you're single and a date is you coming over unannounced to learn the legal requisites for a pager intercept.
These four youths find themselves equally attracted to and repelled by the opportunities and dangers of Baltimore's drug trade.
The show illustrates its messages through the lives of characters entrenched in various systems throughout the city.
Starting with the police investigation of a single drug ring, the series broadens its scope with each season to incorporate other aspects of Baltimore life, including education, politics and the media, showing how each system affects the others and perpetuates the cycle of self-destruction.
With the rotating focus every season, the show is anchored by the police officer characters and the often ignored power struggles that go on within major city police departments.
The rank and file detectives and patrol officers are often portrayed as helpless pawns of their superiors, who are more concerned with their own petty vendettas and personal ambitions than the city and its citizens.
In addition, there is the more nihilistic notion that the institutions that make up the American way of life are irreversibly corrupt, and that it is impossible to reform them.
To try to reform them is to be crushed by the system.
is a Deconstruction of the Police Procedural and Criminal Procedural genres.