The third season of this compelling show bounces back as only it can, after what I feel was the weakest season of the five.
Coming away from the docks Daniels' special unit is once again chasing the serious criminal elements in Baltimore. Although not focused on Avon, Stringer et al, McNulty makes it his business to have their sights shifted and the unit is once again reassigned to Barksdale much to the indignation of Daniels.
Going back to the streets of Baltimore we are reacquainted with many familiar faces and as the season unfolds these characters are further developed and new ones come to the fore.
As always episodes are hard hitting and we rarely get a happy ending as `street justice' is handed out in uncompromising fashion. However, it is not only the sinister elements of the drug ravished communities that are laid bare, with scandal, corruption, relationship problems and meltdown coldly portrayed from the highest levels of authority, through to the police force and down on the streets. This draws stark parallels between the law makers, law keepers and law breakers.
The most intelligent element of the series is how small plotlines are brought together and linked into the bigger story. In a brilliant way, and without detraction from the focal point of the episode, the seeds are sewn for the season to follow. Indeed, it is only when you get into season 4 that you can appreciate the intricacies of this.
Another great plot line for me involved the relationship between Stringer Bell and Barksdale. The problems of the King in waiting relinquishing his crown for the returning king is superbly portrayed with the difference between the two highlighted by their differing business outlook.