First of, The Wire Season 1-3 is The Wire. That’s a complete cycle with its skeleton story of wiretapping and Godfather tendencies. In season 4 there is only the left over character to play on and quite correctly they take them out of theire old roles and we meet them in new places new roles.
This is nice but however it has nothing to do with The Wire. At least they should have changed the name to: The Wire – Aftermatch. As that what it is. Basically instead of making the mistake to try to invent an artificial story and again playing wiretap against some new drug lord, they put all the emphasis on drama and pointing at new important sides of society. Brilliant and enjoyable! But there are also some fall downs. They have obviously had some panic in the material not knowing what to put in there at times (which is something all series will face in time) and in this season we are for the first time subjected to obvious story flaws and gaps.
The biggest thrill is the election of the major and to see if it is possible for a white man to be elected in Baltimore, but this storyline is already finished half way in the season and so there are now real ending or drive for the last half.
Leaves us to watch the last 10 episodes of season 5 and hope it will be all summed up (again).