New Criticals

But throughout The Wire, we see that the criminal cannot so easily be conceived as "outside" the law or the polis. In fact, the criminal is often embedded precisely in those mechanisms that demarcate law from outlaw, legal from illegal, upstanding citizen from criminal. In this way, the criminal is often the most "inside" of society's members, and it is the criminal who perhaps best reveals the logic of society itself. The criminal is that contradictory figure who exists in the liminal space that defines the zones of inside/outside, law/outlaw, friend/enemy. A mature understanding of "the criminal" knows that the simplistic Manichean dichotomy of good/bad does not capture the complexity of the relationship between criminal and society, and the drama of the The Wire moves around the way that criminals shape, are shaped by, and occupy this space "in between."