GOD STILL RESIDES IN THE DETAILS: We begin the final season of The Wire with a copy machine/lie detector ploy first used in the first season of Homicide: Life on the Streets, and if there's a more meta way to indicate that everyone in the City of Baltimore will have to do "More With Less" this season, I'm not quite sure what it would be.
Everything is turning to shit in City government, owing to Carcetti's decision to protect his gubernatorial hopes (he thinks) and dignity rather than accept $54 million in state funding for the schools. Police aren't getting paid, Major Crimes has been broken up (again), McNulty's drinking again, and the investigation into Marlo Stanfield's organization is over**, as is the effort to solve all the dead bodies in the vacants. The only person who seems happy? Herc, charged with spending Maury Levy's money to help the criminals of Baltimore remain at large.
But at least we have a Fourth Estate to cover it all. We haven't dealt with the media much in the first four seasons, save Herc's efforts to derail Hamsterdam, but, hey, it's Meldrick Lewis, city desk editor! And lame-ass editors above, ambitious reporters below, an adorable grammar snob, and ... not enough resources to do their job. Great. But when there's only one Cool Lester Smooth in the world, I'm glad someone else noticed the Fat-Face Rick zoning deal. Maybe something will come of this political corruption investigation after all, but whether its success would actually help the people of Baltimore is another story.
(Most intriguing detail: why is Chris Partlow interested in Sergei Malatov? Also: no longer in the opening credits, per Wiki: Burrell, Prezbo, Bunny, Cutty, Royce, and Bodie.)
** The New Day Co-Op started in season three. That the police still seem unaware of its existence drops my enthusiasm for Major Crimes a notch or two.