The deeper you go, the more layers there are. The comparison (which keeps being made) between the Wire and Balzac and all those other 19th century, state of the nation novelists is valid up to a point- but I suppose Baltimore must have a few citizens who aren't ripping one another off all the time. Balzac and his crew would have given us glimpses of those folk; Burns and Simon don't. This isn't intended as negative criticism, more a case of "all proportions kept"- because- within its limits- which are wider than those of most TV shows, but narrower than those of Dickens, Balzac, Zola and Tolstoy- the Wire is fabulous.
I can't get over Dominic West and Idris Elba being Brits.