Episode 11: Middle Ground

The thing about “The Wire,” is that it brings to light how confusing justice really can be when it is put into action. The are so many nuances within each episode that it is hard to keep track of the justices and injustices which have occurred. Episode eleven, entitled, “Middle Ground,” certainly adds to the confusion of what justice looks like when actually implemented. This title could be in reference to various subplots which take place in this episode, due to the many implications of retribution being a necessary part of what justice is. It implies that the character within the show require some sort of ‘give’ from each side, so that justice is served via accomplishing some sort of perceived equality.
“The Wire” really makes the issues surrounding the implementation of justice apparent, perhaps more so than any thing else we have studied in GRID this semester. Although nothing we have looked at thus far makes justice a simple and straightforward issue, “The Wire” achieves to a greater extent the details and complexities involved in trying to achieve it. Although the main events of this episode are easy to pick out (such as the death of Stringer Bell), everything else which occurs has some sort of a dealing with justice. (Arguably even when D‘Agostino wants to have dinner with McNulty under the pretense of being friends again, however clearly just wants more information on Hamsterdam and what McNulty is working on.) Having all of these elements to the story weighs upon how the viewer is perceiving justice and injustice within the show.
In terms of dealing with justice in the modern day political system, this show certainly shows the faults within. It shows how injustice can occur in any setting – not just in the relationships between those involved in drugs (such as the mutual betrayal between Stringer and Avon), but also within the mayor’s relationships. (As in all that business with Mayor Royce and Burrell, and the allegation that he wants to blame the police department entirely for the fallout with Hamsterdam.)
This episode continues to support confusion in terms of who is good and bad, perhaps particularly notably with Stringer. His fully purported plans of killing Senator Davis (although arguably with some reason) become less clearly understood when witnessing how he wishes to be involved in selling property instead of drugs. The show blurs the lines of what is just and unjust through many aspects. The characters are difficult to label in terms of who is good and who is bad, and from there the various events which take place are not as clear-cut as one might wish. “The Wire” left me wondering how a universal justice could possibly be implemented at all political levels. It seems that each social group has its own kind of justice. The drug dealers seem to have their own code of rules, while the police do as well, and also the government officials. This show seems to ask the question of whether or not one type of justice is actually practical in terms of the state today.
Emma G.

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