By Scott Brown
Updated October 02, 2006 at 12:00 PM EDT

Let me preface the following by saying: The Wire is the best show on television. It’s a character study of an entire American city (and all American cities), populated by a vast constellation of characters who are themselves small cities of infinite complexity and depth.

That said, I have a question for Wire fans out there: Do you detect a subtle change in the texture and tone of the show? A willingness to lay things out a little more explicitly? A bit more exposition coming out of Lester Freamon (Clarke Peters, pictured)? A tad less subtlety in the street politics of West Baltimore? Are the creators, in other words, spoon-feeding us a bit?

Don’t get me wrong: The Wire is still nicely tangled, as messy as the society it depicts. But there seems to be an effort afoot to lay things out five-by-five. Have you noticed? Are you bothered? Could you not care less, especially now that Omar’s declared war on Marlo?*

Just thinking out loud. Please don’t quicklime me into a row house or anything.

*”I think these four fives beat a flush.” Lines like that heal all wounds.

addCredit(“The Wire: Paul Schiraldi”)